ORIGINAL REPORTING: What Could Replace Net Energy Metering
The 'small miracle' that may lead to California's net metering successor; Stakeholder talks show surprising support for net billing as a real possibility – in time.
Herman K. Trabish, Feb. 8, 2018 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Since this story ran, states have begun putting in place some of the proposed options.
At the close of the January 2016 sessions in California’s Net Energy Metering 2.0 proceeding, California Public Utilities Commissioner Carla Peterman warned the state’s investor-owned utilities (IOUs) and New Energy advocates that the commission would make a final ruling in 2019 on a new compensation to replace the net energy metering retail rate in the landmark NEM 2.0 docket (14-07-002). Since Commissioner Peterman's ultimatum, stakeholders have worked at many ways to value that generation, but have reached only a range of possible formulations.
Utilities assert that more than 725,000 California electricity customers with net metered distributed generation shift costs for the system’s infrastructure and maintenance to non-distributed generation owners. Solar advocates argue the perceived cost shift disappears if all distributed generation's values are included in the cost calculation. Since Commissioner Peterman’s ultimatum, stakeholders in proceedings on distributed energy resources (DER) have wrestled with the value question. Yet disagreement remains over what factors belong in the locational net benefit analysis (LNBA).
The LNBA is a comprehensive and complex methodology for valuing generation. It assumes generation at some locations, like where there is grid congestion, is of greater value to the system. California think tank Gridworks leveraged the influence of members like former CPUC Commissioner Mike Florio, who voted against the 2016 decision to extend NEM, to hold informal stakeholder talks on a successor tariff. It centered on five options to replace NEM in 2019. Gridworks Executive Director Matthew Tisdale, a former CPUC staffer who led commission DER initiatives, authored “Sustaining Solar Beyond Net Metering,” based on those discussions. Participants told Utility Dive the talks resulted in an increased understanding of one another's positions in the debate. There was significant agreement among participants that NEM drives customer adoption but does not optimally align supply and demand,” Tisdale told Utility Dive… click here for more
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