ORIGINAL REPORTING: Can Maine put its near-agreement on solar net metering back together again?
So close, so far: Can Maine put its near-agreement on solar net metering back together again?; Supporters of a compromise incentive failed to override Gov. LePage's veto, plunging the state back into a net metering debate
Herman K. Trabish, August 19, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Maine stakeholders continue to struggle toward a workable framework under which solar advocates and utilities can peacefully co-exist.
If your state solar policy is a tinderbox, just a spark can ignite a blaze. On Feb. 11, Central Maine Power informed its regulators it had reached the level of net metered distributed generation at which state law requires a re-evaluation of the state's Net Energy Billing (NEB) policy by the Public Utility Commission (PUC). NEB is more commonly referred to across the U.S. as net energy metering (NEM) or, simply, net metering. It is a policy that remunerates owners of distributed generation (DG) with a credit, usually equal to the utility’s retail rate, for the electricity their systems export to the grid. The PUC convened what is becoming an increasingly contentious proceeding on the future of NEB in Maine.
A broad coalition of Maine stakeholders and lawmakers foresaw the current debate and tried to head it off in 2015 with a compromise renewable energy legislative proposal. But Gov. Paul LePage (R) opposed it, and after a heated political struggle, the legislation fell two votes short of overriding his veto. Many of those stakeholders now say the failure of the compromise solar proposal has stalled the state sector, and that its revival rests on the approval of a long-term incentive plan that can return certainty to the industry. Central Maine Power (CMP), the state’s dominant electricity provider, agrees. Natural Resources Council of Maine Climate and Clean Energy Project Director Dylan Voorhees pointed out that the LePage proposal now before the commission lacks much of what would have come from the 2015 comprehensive solar policy. Emera Maine, the state’s other major electricity provider, is also holding out for something better… click here for more
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