ORIGINAL REPORTING: New Hampshire Makes A New Energy Compromise That was ‘Worth It’
Despite lack of agreement, New Hampshire groups say solar struggle is 'worth it'; Months of negotiation over a net metering successor failed to produce a settlement, but did reveal ample common ground
Herman K. Trabish, April 13, 2017 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The policy battle for distributed resources in New Hampshire ended in a stalemate but opened possibilities for the next fight.
Months of struggle to reach agreement among stakeholders in the first phase of New Hampshire’s regulatory proceeding for a solar successor tariff fell just short of a settlement, leaving key decisions to regulators. For months, utility leaders, consumer advocates, environmentalists, and distributed energy advocates struggled to meet state lawmakers’ mandate to replace retail rate net energy metering (NEM) with a new tariff. The goal was a new type of compensation to solar owners for electricity exported to the grid. But agreement on the level of compensation and how to calculate it eluded them. The utilities’ early proposals included rate designs that were unacceptable to solar advocates but, with the intervention of the state consumer advocate, a settlement proposal found common ground. The DER advocates rejected the utilities’ netting concept on the grounds there is inadequate data to justify it. But, in a step away from what DER advocates in other states’ NEM successor tariff debates have been willing to do, they offered a gradual reduction in the current NEM credit.
Advocates said they made a compromise for the short-term so that they could implement programs that will allow them to collect the data needed to launch a new value-based tariff in 2021.Though the parties did not reach a final settlement, they may have demonstrated something can be gained by the effort. If the groundwork laid in the negotiations (Docket 16-576) leads eventually to a modernized grid and a thriving, data-driven DER marketplace in New Hampshire, the effort will have been “worth it,” a DER advocate said. All parties signing the proposals agreed to participate in a commission-led task force that would guide a set of pilot projects from inception to implementation. They also agree to a subsequent commission proceeding to review results and the information generated, to inform the design of future DER tariffs and rates… click here for more