California utility regulators approved payments for excess rooftop solar generation yesterday but warned that solar customers are getting more than their share of benefits compared to other ratepayers. The California Public Utilities Commission’s 3-2 decision largely preserves the current structure of the state’s net-metering regulation, which pays solar customers retail rates for the electricity they send back to the grid.
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) filed an amendment to address the battles playing out nationwide over state net-metering policies. The proposal, backed by Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), would preserve consumer agreements on net metering by limiting state regulators’ powers to impose higher rates.
Texas gets an F for net-metering policies, according to a new Vote Solar and Interstate Renewable Energy Council report. Released Tuesday, the report asks states about pro-solar policies including net metering, which compensates energy customers for energy they add to the grid through solar panels or other means. It gave 10 states including Texas that lowest score, noting that the state made connecting panels to the grid difficult and had no statewide net-metering law.
A Virginia lawmaker introduced a bill in the General Assembly on Jan. 22 that would convert the state’s voluntary renewable portfolio standard to a mandatory program for investor-owned electric utilities. Virginia’s voluntary RPS law gives electric utilities the option to meet a renewable energy target of 15% of electric energy sales by 2025. S.B. 761, introduced by Sen. Donald McEachin, a Democrat, would require utilities to make investments in solar energy generation, onshore wind, offshore wind and cumulative energy efficiency savings by 2030 to meet mandatory RPS standards.
he U.S. wind energy sector notched its second-largest quarterly growth in history during the last three months of 2015, according to figures released yesterday by the American Wind Energy Association. The industry saw 5,001 megawatts of new capacity come online during the fourth quarter. For the full year, new wind power capacity jumped 77 percent from 2014. At just under 8,600 MW, it drove the nation’s total installed capacity to 74,472 MW (or 74.4 gigawatts).
Policy creates politics. It’s not a new observation, but it is a somewhat counterintuitive one. Normally, we think of the causation as running the other way: Politics is often conceived of as the process of competing for the authority to determine policy. Politics, as we normally think about it, causes policy.
Sparring over net-metering payments for rooftop solar systems is continuing in the West, with solar companies forming a political action committee this week aimed at overturning a recent Nevada decision. The No Solar Tax PAC filed papers Monday with the Nevada Secretary of State, along with a ballot initiative that would overturn a December decision by the state Public Utilities Commission that dramatically reduced the benefits that solar producers receive for sending power back to the grid.
Regulators in California, home to more residential solar customers than any other state, agreed on Thursday to retain a system that compensates users of rooftop solar panels for their excess electricity. The decision was closely watched by energy officials and executives across the country, who are grappling with huge shifts in the power industry stemming from the spread of renewable energy.
Congress’ decision to extend tax credits for renewable energy could fundamentally shift America’s energy mix away from natural gas and toward wind and solar at the advent of the Clean Power Plan, a new report predicts. Congress in December agreed to extend the production tax credit (PTC) for wind and the investment tax credit (ITC) for solar through the end of the decade, a move hailed as hugely significant for the industries because it provides greater certainty to investors
Two key Republicans are expressing support for doubling federal energy research as the Obama administration weighs how to enact a landmark clean energy plan announced during last year’s climate talks in Paris. When asked about a plan called Mission Innovation, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said, “I have long favored doubling energy research. … I think it fits a Republican pro-growth agenda.”