In the coming years, as electric vehicle ownership and charging infrastructure grow, communities and the energy system will be transformed. This month, we submitted comments to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to inform a regulatory process on accommodating the expansion of electric vehicle use.… Read More
In April, ILSR submitted comments in support of affordable residential access to community solar for review by Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission. These comments concerned a proposed residential adder framework outlined as part of the state’s community solar program and Minnesota Department of Commerce Value of Solar calculation. We argue that, in a recent analysis submitted to the Commission by Xcel Energy, the utility exaggerated costs likely to be incurred under this new framework. Our comments support those made by allies such as Cooperative Energy Futures and advocate for adder calculations that ensure financeability and broad participation among residential subscribers to the state’s community solar program.… Read More
A newly-released parody video makes Xcel Energy’s top priority clear: maximize profits for shareholders, even if that comes at the expense of the country’s most successful community solar program. Supporting analysis of a leaked draft bill from Xcel lobbyists illustrates this further and points out the company’s nasty habit of trying to make its own rules.… Read More
To honor Xcel Energy’s successful introduction of legislation to give itself a “blank check” for its anticipated Prairie Island nuclear power plant retrofit, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Community Power today released a video to tell the truth about what’s really in the “red box” that’s prevalent in Xcel’s widespread televised advertisements. For more information about Xcel’s power plant bill and where decisions will be made about it, visit ilsr.org.… Read More
Steve Fenberg (D-Boulder) talks with John Farrell about his history as a renewable energy activist and local control advocate and how he translates that work into his role in the state legislature.… Read More
It was a squeaker. With 85% of votes cast, the outlook for Boulder’s quest to control its energy future seemed dimmer than it had since 2011. The nays were up by 100 votes, in favor of ending funding for the … Read More
Our own Energy Democracy initiative director John Farrell penned this article for MinnPost‘s Community Voices section about the benefits of the state’s community solar program, here’s a sample: “As a long-time advocate for community-scale investment in renewable energy, I’m often asked about community solar: a burgeoning part of the solar industry and a model for its growth.”… Read More
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.
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?… Read More