If you’re reading energy news of late, you might have come across three new ways that forces are aligning against local renewable energy. State governments are increasingly pre-empting local authority on a range of issues, including energy. Utility companies are undercutting state regulation with their legislative lobbyists. And utilities are also bringing their monopoly market power to bear in previously competitive markets.
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Minnesota’s largest investor-owned utility, Xcel Energy, last month reported sparse participation in a program designed to deliver value to customers who charge their electric vehicles when it’s most convenient for the grid. But despite its benefits for the grid and cost savings for customers, the initiative appears stuck in neutral.
By April 2017, a year and a half after its launch, just 95 Xcel customers had opted in to the state-mandated electric vehicle charging tariff. With nearly 1,000 plug-in vehicles registered to Minnesota drivers — a bulk of them likely in Xcel’s metro-area territory — participation numbers hover well below reasonable expectations. Why? Continue reading
Boulder Daily Camera – April 12, 2017 By John Farrell Municipalization comes with many challenges, but I have a few words of advice for Boulder’s city leaders about their utility’s latest offer. I’m no stranger to the struggle with Xcel for cleaner energy. At the invitation of local advocates, I came to Boulder in 2011… Continue reading
City Pages – March 15, 2017 By Mike Mullen Around the Minnesota Capitol, Xcel Energy is the corporation that need not speak its name. Consider the legislation passed last month, allowing “a public utility” to “construct, own and operate” a natural gas power plant in Becker, a small town in central Minnesota. … A bipartisan,… Continue reading
Have you seen this advertisement from Xcel Energy? We’ve done a little bit of work to clarify their message for them.
The proposed Sherco natural gas plant bill will soon be at Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton’s desk, after you watch our video, give him a call and tell him you oppose this billion-dollar boondoggle. Continue reading
Circumventing a decades-old pact providing a market monopoly in exchange for public oversight, an investor-owned utility has proposed legislation to allow it to build a new natural gas plant criticized for its financial and environmental impact, and then stick customers with the tab. Legislation supporting Xcel Energy’s billion-dollar plans cropped up earlier this month, three… Continue reading
Download the Report Browse the Report Introduction Big Potential Savings Peak Reduction from Commercial Buildings Peak Reduction from Homes Deepening of Peak Energy Reduction in Homes Powerful Examples Automated or No? Conclusion Footnotes Introduction In the past decade, two major trends have threatened the ability of electric utilities to… Continue reading
The misunderstandings that from time to time occur between communities and the managers of electric-lighting companies will, to my mind, disappear entirely if the relations between the two are correctly founded on the basis of public control, with corresponding protection to the corporations operating this industry. More than 100 years ago, standing in front of… Continue reading
Ten years ago, a North Dakota cooperative stopped charging customers a premium for getting energy from the wind, because they found it wasn’t costing anything extra. The cooperative, like many utilities, used a “green pricing” program that allowed customers to voluntarily pay more to get their energy solely from renewable resources. Dozens of utilities still… Continue reading
How can a state modernize its electric system when it’s in the hands of vertically integrated monopolies? We offer some thoughts via its comments on a Grid Modernization docket being reviewed by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Background: the grid modernization docket is a relatively new requirement, asking the state’s largest investor-owned utility to explain… Continue reading