Energy Democracy Media Roundup – week of December 26, 2016


This week in Energy Democracy news:

A large energy bill passed Michigan, Arizona de-valued solar power, and much more excitement in this year-end Energy Democracy media roundup!

Featured Stories:

Arizona vote puts an end to net metering to solar customers by Julia Pyper, GreenTech Media

Utilities strip consumers’ control over energy bills: Episode 36 of Local Energy Rules podcast by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Local utilities have lost local control by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Upper Peninsula reliability efforts overlooking key opportunities, advocates say by Andy Balaskovitz, Midwest Energy News

That would include more distributed, renewable energy projects throughout the U.P. — a topic that hasn’t been a part of such high-level discussions, advocates say.

“The concern is we have reliability, but at what cost?” said Jennifer Hill, program manager with the Marquette-based Superior Watershed Partnership. The further dependence on centralized, base-load plants could further the region’s relatively high electric rates, she said.

Energy Democracy News Across the States:

Arizona

Arizona to finally decide value of solar by Danielle Ola, PV-Tech

Regulators to weigh cost, benefit of rooftop solar by Will Stone, KJZZ

Distributed solar energy can improve public health in Arizona by Arizona Capitol Times

Arizona regulators to decide key solar issue by Mamta Popat, Arizona Daily Star

Survey shows mounting effort to rally opposition to higher solar fees by Leia Larsen, Standard Examiner

Arizona vote puts an end to net metering for solar customers by Julia Pyper, GreenTech Media

Solar in the Southwest: Cautionary tales abound in two desert states by Sean Gallagher, CleanTechnica

 

California

Plans falter for West Coast coal terminals by Sara Tory, High Country News

An update on California’s distributed energy leadership by Merrian Borgeson & Dan Aas, National Resource Defense Council

 

Connecticut

Does Connecticut’s green bank hold the secret to the future of clean energy? by Jan Ellen Spiegel, InsideClimate News

Solar carport in the pipeline for Woburn by Linda Kush, Wicked Local Woburn

A community microgrid that beats utility rates: Bridgeport’s story by Elisa Wood, Microgrid Knowledge

Microgrids aren’t cheap. At least not yet. But it’s possible to design a microgrid that beats utility rates, even at this early stage of the industry.

That’s what Bridgeport, Connecticut found out as it cleaved a new path over two years developing a complex community microgrid. A new whitepaper describes the trek.

 

Colorado

Power to the people…electrical power, that is by Pagosa Daily Post

Colorado to collaborate with Utah, Nevada on electric-vehicle charging network by Cathy Proctor, Denver Business Journal

 

Florida

Florida City votes for 100% energy freedom! by Zachary Shahan, CleanTechnica

It certainly seems that it was a coalition of elderly citizens, youthful students, and the working middle class of St. Petersburg that led to this coastal city becoming a leader in the quest for energy freedom.

 

Hawaii

Solar industry gets upgraded outlook, report says by Duane Shimogawa, Pacific Business Journal

 

Illinois

Solarization effort hitting the mark by Alex B. Heeb, Jacksonville Journal Courier

 

Iowa

Iowa’s new energy plan: More renewable energy, stronger power grid by Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register

 

Indiana

Why this Indiana school district is going completely solar by Peter Balonon-Rosen, WBAA

 

Maryland

More Baltimore County homeowners are embracing alternative energy systems by Jon Bleiweis, Baltimore Sun

Across Baltimore County, more homeowners are looking at alternative energy sources like solar and geothermal, spurred on by a new generation of more efficient, cheaper systems, tax credits, rebates and incentives and an altruistic desire to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

While tax credits, rebates and other incentives can lower costs for the systems, prices can be steep: An average geothermal system in Maryland runs around $25,000 and purchasing a solar system can be about $30,000.

 

Massachusetts

Low-income community solar sharing gets a foothold by Ann Berwick, South Coast Online

 

Michigan

Gov. Rick Snyder ‘fired up,’ plans to sign energy overhaul by Emily Lawler, MLive

Michigan passes legislation to boost renewables mandate, retain net metering by Julia Pyper, GreenTech Media

Upper Peninsula reliability efforts overlooking key opportunities, advocates say by Andy Balaskovitz, Midwest Energy News

That would include more distributed, renewable energy projects throughout the U.P. — a topic that hasn’t been a part of such high-level discussions, advocates say.

“The concern is we have reliability, but at what cost?” said Jennifer Hill, program manager with the Marquette-based Superior Watershed Partnership. The further dependence on centralized, base-load plants could further the region’s relatively high electric rates, she said.

Northern Michigan city aims for 100 percent renewables by 2020 by Andy Balaskovitz, Midwest Energy News

Traverse City Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution to set a goal of 100 percent renewables by 2020 to power city services, such as streetlights, a wastewater treatment plant and government buildings.

“It seems like one of the right things to do with a changing climate and changing aspects of our energy production,” Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers said prior to Monday night’s vote.

See plans for solar-powered, mixed-income cottage community in Ann Arbor by Ryan Stanton, MLive

 

Minnesota

Nearly a quarter of Willmar’s power is renewable by Shelby Lindrud, West Central Tribune

 

Missouri

PSC approves Ameren solar generation facilities by Jefferson City News Tribune

 

Nebraska

Groundbreaking for the Venango Community Solar Project by Chelsea Irizarry, KNOP News

 

New Mexico

Albuquerque’s solar power grab by Erick Trickey, Politico Magazine

 

Ohio

Ohio clean energy standards are toast unless Gov. John Kasich steps in to save them by David Roberts, Vox

Cuyahoga County Solar Farm project will help region’s renewable energy ranking by Kevin Niedermier, WKSU

 

Oregon

Portland steps up electric vehicle drive, passing new strategy (and it includes e-bikes) by Pete Danko, Portland Business Journal

 

Utah

Rocky Mountain Power drops deadline request for new solar customers by Kimberly Nelson, Good 4 Utah

Utah regulators put Rocky Mountain Power net metering proposal on hold by Krysti Shallenberger, Utility Dive

RMP is returning to the drawing board for its net metering proposal in a move clean energy advocates applauded. Advocates earlier protested the proposal with additional fees and demand charges, both moves that have proved unpopular when utilities have tried them in other states.

New Rocky Mountain Power solar customers get reprieve, rate increase still possible by Julie Applegate, St. George News

 

Wisconsin

Madison committee to vote on proposal for 100 percent renewable energy use by Shelley K. Mesch, Wisconsin State Journal

New ‘report card’ asserts MGE isn’t making the grade by Dylan Brogan, Isthmus

Madison sustainability committee recommends funding to develop energy plan for city buildings by Abigail Becker, The Cap Times

Nationwide Energy Democracy News:

Experts: Under Trump, states and cities must lead on energy by Kari Lydersen, Midwest Energy News

A study released Dec. 8 by the Brookings Institution furthers that argument by showing that a majority of states have “decoupled” their economies from carbon emissions, meaning their economies have continued to grow even when carbon emissions were reduced.

This indicates that regulations, government programs and market forces that curb fossil fuel dependency are not necessarily harmful to the economy, as opponents frequently argue.

In its largest quarter ever, US solar market saw nearly 2MW of PV installed per hour in Q3 2016 by Mike Munsell, GreenTech Media

Given Trump’s regression, fossil fuel divestment is more critical than ever by Bill McKibben, The Huffington Post

Over 450 groups, officials and academics call on Congress to back 100% renewable energy goal by Environment America

Report offers roadmap for overhaul of U.S. electrical grid by David J. Unger, Midwest Energy News

The new guide to the community solar galaxy by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

GTM research identifies path for behind-the-meter storage to reach 1GW by Mike Munsell, GreenTech Media

In a new report, The Behind-the-Meter Energy Storage Landscape 2016-2021, GTM Research identifies major shifts in the market that will result in a boom for the behind-the-meter segments, which GTM Research forecasts to reach 1 gigawatt, representing half of U.S. energy storage deployments by 2021.

Is FERC’s new rule on energy storage & DER aggregators a game changer? by David Shadle, Transmission & Distribution World

All the state energy legislation from 2016, in one place by David Roberts, Vox