Adapt or Die read the title of the article suggesting that electric utilities must change their business to survive, or be buried under an onslaught of local renewable energy. But utilities seem to have chosen a third way – Fight – as captured in this map from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. A total of 19 states (as accounted for through May 21, 2014) have legislative or regulatory assaults on net metering or distributed solar underway. Scroll below the map for references.
The fight often centers on the cost or benefit of distributed renewable energy systems and whether their owners are subsidized (or are subsidizing) other electricity customers. Minnesota's adopted "value of solar" methodology is the first state-based policy to take this head on, and the Rocky Mountain Institute has delved into the dozen or so studies on the costs and benefits of distributed renewable energy.
While the shift toward renewable energy, and even decentralized renewable energy, may be inevitable, it's clear that electric utilities won't let their protected monopoly profits go quietly into the night. It's the battle of Utility 2.0 and Ownership 2.0, writ large.
Sources (mostly the excellent, thorough folks at IREC):
Arizona – net metering fees added (2013)
California – cost/benefit study of net metering in progress (2013)
Georgia – PSC staff recommend against proposed net metering fee (2013)
Idaho – Idaho Power proposals to weaken net metering voided (2013)
Iowa – Iowa district court overturns utility opposition to solar power purchase agreements, but utility not backing down (2013)
Kansas – net metering significantly curtailed in compromise to avoid complete loss (2014)
Louisiana – proposed net metering fees struck down (2013)
New York – state senate bill S.6357-c includes ALEC-written language for study on costs/benefits of net metering (2014)
North Carolina – Duke Energy wants to pay wholesale, not retail rates (2014)
Oklahoma – The world’s dumbest idea: Taxing solar energy (2014)
Oregon – PUC workshop on solar incentive rates (2014)
Texas - CPS Energy makes revisions to solar-energy fees (2014)
Virginia – After adding standby fees to net metered projects in 2011, Dominion Power blocks multi-family net metering bill (2014)
Washington – upcoming workshop on costs/benefits of distributed generation (2013)
Wisconsin – a Wisconsin utility changes net metering from retail to wholesale rates (2013)
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