NewEnergyNews: TODAY’S STUDY: The War Over Solar

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

To little sister, who has grown up to be such a powerful woman: The song is as true as ever. Have a great day!

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • SPECIAL FEATURE: The Women’s March, Los Angeles – Something Happened Here
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Sequel”
  • Weekend Video: Al Gore Talks About His “Inconvenient Sequel”
  • Weekend Video: 2016 Was Third Record Heat Year In A Row
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Best Movies About Climate Change
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Saudis Move Ahead On $30Bil New Energy Buy
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-China Wind Awaits China Demand
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-India Solar Rising
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, January 19:

  • TTTA Thursday-The Heat Stayed On In 2016
  • TTTA Thursday-Three Ways Solar Will Grow
  • TTTA Thursday-North Carolina Ocean Wind Bidding To Open
  • TTTA Thursday-Plugs Could Change The Future of Cars Completely
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: 4 Drivers Of Solar Growth Everybody Needs To Know
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Maryland RPS And The National Divide On Clean Energy
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Why California Wants Western Electricity Delivery Organized
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Who In Clean Tech Is Boosting New Energy
  • QUICK NEWS, January 17: New Energy’s Fight Against Climate Change Won’t Be Done; New Energy Jobs Leapt Again Last Year; Nebraska Gets Wind Power Economy Bump
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, f is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews

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    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

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    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

  • ---------------
  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, January 24:

  • TODAY’S STUDY: The State OF The U.S. Energy Transition, Part 4
  • QUICK NEWS, January 24: Trump White House Rewrites The U.S. Climate Message; Defense Dept. Advances Microgrid Trials; NatGas Price On The Rise

    Tuesday, December 13, 2016

    TODAY’S STUDY: The War Over Solar

    Blocking the Sun; Utilities and Fossil Fuel Interests That Are Undermining American Solar Power

    Rachel Cross, Gideon Weissman, and Bret Fanshaw, December 2016 (Environment America)

    Executive Summary

    Solar power is clean, affordable and popular with the American people. The amount of solar energy installed in the U.S. has quadrupled in the last four years, and the U.S. has enough solar energy installed to power one in 20 American homes. America’s solar progress is largely the result of bold, forward-thinking public policies that have created a strong solar industry while putting solar energy within the financial reach of millions more Americans.

    Behind the scenes, however, electric utilities, fossil fuel interests and powerful industry front groups have begun chipping away at the key policies that have put solar energy on the map in the United States – often in the face of strong objections from a supportive public.

    This report documents 17 fossil fuel backed groups and electric utilities running some of the most aggressive campaigns to slow the growth of solar energy in 12 states, including eight attempts to reduce net metering benefits, seven attempts to create demand charges for customers with solar power, and five efforts to roll back renewable energy standards. Citizens and policy-makers must be aware of the tools self-interested parties are using to undermine solar energy across America – and redouble their commitment to strong policies that move the nation toward a clean energy future.

    A national network of utility interest groups and fossil fuel industry-funded think tanks is providing funding, model legislation and political cover for anti-solar campaigns across the country.

    The Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the trade group that represents U.S. investor-owned electric utilities, launched the current wave of anti-solar advocacy with a 2012 conference warning utilities of the challenges solar energy posed to their traditional profit centers. Since then, EEI has worked with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on model legislation to repeal state renewable electricity standards and ran an anti-solar public relations campaign in Arizona.

    The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) provides utility and fossil fuel interests with access to state legislatures, and its anti-net metering policy resolution has inspired legislation in states like Washington and Utah.

    The Koch brothers have provided funding to the national fight against solar by funneling tens of millions of dollars through a network of opaque nonprofits. A Koch brothers front organization, 60 Plus, also recently spent more than $1 million to support a deceptive, ostensibly pro-solar group in Florida that is working to create new barriers to solar energy ownership.

    The Koch-funded campaign organization Americans for Prosperity (AFP) has carried out anti-solar energy organizing efforts. In Florida and Georgia, AFP has run misinformation campaigns against net metering and other solar policies.

    The Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) is a Houston-based front group for the fossil fuel industry, representing fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell Oil. In Wisconsin in 2014, CEA submitted 2,500 dubious signatures in support of a utility rate case to increase costs for solar customers.

    At the state level, electric utilities have used the support provided by national anti-solar interests, as well as their own ample resources, to attack key solar energy policies.

    In Florida, Florida Power and Light (FPL), Gulf Power Electric, Tampa Electric Company and Duke Energy, the largest utility in the U.S., spent millions of dollars backing a front group, Consumers for Smart Solar, which was the primary backer of a deceptive ballot initiative that had it passed would have further restricted rooftop solar growth in the state.

    American Electric Power (AEP) has backed antisolar campaigns in states including Ohio and West Virginia. In West Virginia, AEP successfully lobbied for a bill to limit the net metering cap to 3 percent of utility peak demand.

    In Utah and Nevada, subsidiaries of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy have run campaigns to halt the growth of solar power. In Nevada, subsidiary NV Energy successfully campaigned for a utility commission ruling that has effectively halted the growth of rooftop solar in NV Energy’s service territory.

    In California, the publicly-owned utility Imperial Irrigation District abruptly ended its net metering program, stunting future solar energy growth and temporarily stranding many of its customers that were in the midst of rooftop solar installations.

    Commonwealth Edison, Illinois’ largest utility, has introduced legislation that would create statewide demand charges on its residential customers, a move with the potential to reduce the economic viability of rooftop solar for all of the state’s residents.

    Four major Arizona utilities – the Salt River Project, Arizona Public Service, and sister companies Tucson Electric Power and Unisource – have undertaken extensive campaigns to impose new charges on their solar customers. The Salt River Project implemented a demand charge that has all but killed distributed solar energy growth in its territory. Arizona Public Service, the biggest utility in Arizona, has funneled money through nonprofit groups in order to fund anti-net metering advertisements and has been accused of improperly cultivating influence with the state commission that regulates utilities. And Unisource and Tucson Electric Power (TEP) have filed requests with state regulators to eliminate net metering and create a solar-specific mandatory demand charge.

    In mid-2016, there were at least 84 ongoing policy actions in U.S. states that could impact the growth of solar energy, including through limitations to net metering or new charges to make rooftop solar power less economically viable.

    State decision-makers should resist utility and fossil fuel industry influence, and reject policies like:

    • Elimination of, or restrictions or unfair caps on net metering;

    • Discriminatory surcharges or tariffs for solar customers;

    • Unnecessary regulatory burdens on solar energy; and

    • Rollbacks of renewable electricity standards.

    In addition, state leaders can do more to encourage solar energy’s growth. They should embrace ambitious goals for solar energy and adopt policies that will help meet them, including:

    • Considering the benefits of distributed solar energy to the grid, to ratepayers and to society in any ratemaking or policy decisions about solar energy;

    • Implementing strong net metering and interconnection standards, which enable many customers to meet their own electricity needs with solar power;

    • Encouraging community shared solar projects and virtual net metering, which can expand solar access to more customers;

    • Enacting or expanding solar or distributed renewable carve-outs and renewable electricity standards;

    • Allowing companies other than utilities to sell or lease solar to residents and businesses;

    • Making smart investments to move toward a more intelligent electric grid that will enable distributed sources of energy such as solar power to play a larger role; and

    • Utilizing solar energy wherever possible on government buildings and properties.

    Policymakers should also uphold our commitment to reduce carbon pollution under the Clean Power Plan, and ensure that solar power plays a major role in in any strategy to reduce global warming pollution.

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