CLEAN ENERGY

Des Moines Register: Rate Agreement Moves MidAmerican Closer to $3.6 Billion Wind Project

 

By Donnelle Eller

MidAmerican Energy, environmental groups and large tech companies reached a rate agreement over the Des Moines-based utility’s plan to invest $3.6 billion in wind energy.

The settlement, which goes to the Iowa Utilities Board for consideration, lowers from 11.5 percent to 11 percent the return MidAmerican would receive from its investment in 2,000 megawatts of wind energy generation.

Among other changes in the settlement, MidAmerican Energy agreed to not sell to other states, utilities or businesses renewable energy credits from the large project when customers choose to claim green energy use.

That’s important to companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook, all of which have large data centers in Iowa that are large energy users. Environmentalists have pushed big social media, software and internet search companies to reduce their reliance on power generated from fossil fuels.

“We are pleased that all of MidAmerican’s customers will benefit from this settlement,” said Doug Gross, a Des Moines attorney representing Google, Facebook and Microsoft. “We look forward to continuing to work with MidAmerican to ensure that customers have a voice in decisions that affect Iowa’s energy future.”

The project, MidAmerican said, “will bring significant environmental and economic benefits to our customers and the state of Iowa without the need to ask for a rate increase.”

Iowa Environmental Council and Environmental Law & Policy Center, also involved in settlement discussions, applauded the agreement as well.

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News: Clean Energy Advocates Commend Alliant Energy Announcement in Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 27, 2016
Contact:

David Jakubiak, ELPC

Katy Heggen, IEC

IEC, ELPC Comment Alliant Energy Plans for New Wind

 

Des Moines – Two of Iowa’s leading environmental policy groups have expressed strong support for a proposal announced by Alliant Energy today that would add up to 500 megawatts (MW) of new wind energy to Iowa’s energy mix.

“Alliant Energy’s new wind project will continue Iowa’s strong momentum on clean energy leadership. Across the state, utilities and developers are placing 10,000 MW of wind by 2020 – a major milestone – within reach,” said Nathaniel Baer, energy program director at the Iowa Environmental Council.

The recent extension of the federal wind energy production tax credit was a significant factor in Alliant Energy’s timing of this project. By moving forward before the end of 2016 to develop wind projects, Alliant Energy can capture the full value of this important tax incentive. Both the Council and ELPC supported long-term extensions of the federal PTC.

“We continue to reap the benefits of the extension of the federal PTC,” said Josh Mandelbaum, staff attorney at the Environmental Law and Policy Center. “This project further cements Iowa’s position as a national renewable energy leader.”

At the end of 2015, Iowa had 6,212 MW of installed wind accounting for 31.3 percent of Iowa’s electricity mix – more than any other state in the country according to the American Wind Energy Association. Iowa is expected to have up to 7,000 MW of wind installed before pending wind proposals are built. Those proposals include MidAmerican’s 2,000 MW Wind XI and Alliant Energy’s project announced today. If these projects are approved and constructed on time, Iowa will have over 9,000 MW of wind installed before 2020.

Alliant Energy’s wind project will provide significant economic and environmental benefits. Iowa wind energy already provides between 6,000 and 7,000 direct jobs and supports approximately 75 companies in the wind supply chain. Wind energy also provides over $17M annually in land lease payments to rural landowners, generates significant property tax revenue for counties, and attracts additional business to the state. Wind energy is also the lowest cost new source of electricity generation available in Iowa.

To learn more about this announcement, visit AlliantEnergy.com/whisperingwillow

Midwest Energy News: Biggest Wind Project in Iowa History Back on Track

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

The largest proposed wind energy project in Iowa’s history appears to be back on track this week after a tense period when it seemed the deal might fall apart over differences between a utility and large energy users.

On Tuesday, MidAmerican Energy — the utility pursuing the $3.6 billion Wind XI project — reached an accord with several major customers that objected to the plan, including tech giants Google, Microsoft and Facebook and a group of large industrial customers known as the Iowa Business Energy Coalition (IBEC).

MidAmerican President Bill Fehrman said in testimony filed with state regulators that, based on the companies’ objections, he found it “hard to conclude that the Data Centers and IBEC want MidAmerican to develop Wind XI.”

The large customers testified about a range of concerns with the proposal, including MidAmerican’s approach to modeling, the amount of power the utility projected its turbines would produce, the return on equity that MidAmerican was requesting and the treatment of environmental credits resulting from the production of renewable energy.

In the settlement, the customers and MidAmerican agreed to an 11 percent return on equity, slightly less than the 11.5 percent that MidAmerican initially had requested. The customers wanted a 9.5 percent return. And the two sides agreed to assign the environmental benefits of Wind XI to the various classes of customers, based on each class’ kilowatt-hour sales.

Like MidAmerican, the Iowa Environmental Council had expressed concerns that the changes proposed by the industrial customers and data centers could prove fatal to the project.

In a blog post late last month, the council’s energy program director, Nathaniel Baer, wrote: “While no party appears to have explicitly opposed Wind XI, the changes recommended by several interveners, including the data centers and IBEC, could cause Wind XI to be smaller or, at worst, not to be built at all.”

In written testimony, Fehrman said he was surprised that large customers challenged the project, given that they never expressed opinions in any of the 10 previous wind projects developed by MidAmerican.

The objections also appeared to fly in the face of the companies’ history of supporting renewable energy. All three companies have made significant investments in renewable power, including in Iowa, and have indicated they eventually intend to power all of their operations with renewable electricity.

In 2014, Google signed a deal with MidAmerican to purchase 407 megawatts of wind energy to power a new data center in Iowa. A year ago, Facebook announced that it was expanding with a third data center in Altoona, Iowa. The company cited several reasons for the decision, including access to wind energy.

In April, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad attended the announcement of the 2,000-MW Wind XI installation, which MidAmerican claims is the biggest economic development project in the state’s history.

Wind XI would increase MidAmerican’s substantial wind portfolio to the point that wind would provide energy equal to 85 percent of the electricity sold by the company in a year’s time.

A final decision from state regulators is expected in September. MidAmerican has said it would need to start construction on the project before Dec. 31 in order to receive the maximum amount of federal production tax credits. The credit will gradually decrease over several years, beginning on Jan. 1, 2017.

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News: ELPC, Iowa Environmental Council Commend Agreement on Iowa Wind

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 26, 2016

Contact:
David Jakubiak, ELPC
Katy Heggen, IEC

Environmental Groups Commend Agreement on MidAmerican Wind Project
Wind XI Extends Iowa’s National Clean Energy Lead

Des Moines – Two of Iowa’s leading environmental policy groups continued to express their support for MidAmerican’s Wind XI project after several parties filed a settlement Tuesday with the Iowa Utilities Board to move the project forward. If approved and built, Wind XI would add 2,000 megawatts (MW) of wind energy to Iowa’s energy mix, making it the largest wind project in Iowa:

“This settlement continues the Iowa tradition of adding significant renewable energy in a manner that provides benefits to Iowa customers, the Iowa economy and the environment,” said Joshua Mandelbaum, staff attorney with the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

“We are pleased to see MidAmerican come to agreement with the Office of Consumer Advocate, Facebook, Microsoft, Google and the Iowa Business Energy Coalition,” added Nathaniel Baer, energy program director of the Iowa Environmental Council. “We applaud this showing of clean energy leadership, and look forward to continuing to work with the involved parties to advance affordable, reliable renewable energy in Iowa.”

The settlement now goes to the Iowa Utilities Board for consideration.

Judge rules that ELPC is in position to assert that Peabody put up necessary funds for mine reclamation and cleanup

From Midwest Energy News:

Environmental groups won a partial victory last week in their campaign to make sure Peabody Energy cleans up its coal mines, a growing concern as the company is going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

A federal bankruptcy judge found that the Environmental Law & Policy Center and the Western Office of Resource Councils can proceed in petitioning the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) regarding Peabody’s use of “self-bonding” for eventual clean-up of its coal mines.

When a company is in bankruptcy, there is an “automatic stay” imposed on citizens pushing for enforcement of environmental laws, including the federal law governing coal mine reclamation. The groups had asked the bankruptcy court to be exempted from that stay on the self-bonding issue.

Peabody had strongly objected, but the judge ruled in the groups’ favor, deciding they can continue sending information to the federal enforcement office and demanding  regulators take action to limit Peabody’s self-bonding.

The groups have been arguing that Peabody should have to put up real capital ahead of time or invest in an insurance policy or surety bonds to clean up mines, rather than be allowed to “self-bond,” or essentially promise that it will have enough money when the time comes.

As ELPC executive director Howard Learner sees it, bankruptcy judge Barry Schermer’s July 20 decision signals that the feds can enforce reclamation requirements on Peabody even as the company reorganizes in bankruptcy proceedings. And if federal regulators do not take action the environmental groups find sufficient, the ruling protects their right to sue the agency, Learner said.

“The question will be, where do Peabody’s mine reclamation and environmental cleanup responsibilities fall within the competing demands of creditors and vendors and Peabody’s plans for future,” as hashed out in bankruptcy proceedings, Learner said.

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Midwest Energy News: ELPC’s Mandelbaum Discusses Open Door to More Net Metering

Net metering will be available to more electricity customers in Iowa as a result of a decision made on Tuesday by state regulators.

As part of a long-running discussion about distributed generation, the Iowa Utilities Board ruled that the state’s two major utilities – MidAmerican and Alliant Energy – must increase their net metering cap from 500 kilowatts to 1 megawatt. Also, the new tariffs will have to make net metering available to all classes of customers but will change some rules for compensation.

“They’ve left the structure of net metering in place, and focused on how to expand that in a very narrow way that is on the whole positive,” said Josh Mandelbaum, an attorney in Des Moines with the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “They didn’t invite any of the changes you’ve seen in the utility pilot project. They could have, but they kept the pilot projects separate, and to me, that is a positive.”

As part of the board’s distributed-generation docket, the board last October asked MidAmerican and Alliant to submit pilot projects to encourage the development of distributed generation in the state. For the most part, the utilities did the opposite: proposing rate changes that would penalize solar customers.

The new rules regarding net metering will be adopted on a temporary basis. At the end of three years, the board will assess the experiment and decide whether to make the changes permanent. Customers of the two utilities who currently have solar panels can choose to continue in their current net metering arrangement, or can opt to try the new net metering tariff. Those choosing the new tariff may not return to the former tariff.

Any customer installing solar panels after the new tariffs are adopted will be required to operate under the new rules. Under existing rules, net meterers can roll over excess credits indefinitely, to be applied against future bills. There is no option for trading credits for cash.

The new tariffs will institute a yearly true-up. Early in the year, excess credits will be removed from the books, compensated at the avoided-cost rate and the proceeds divided in two: half will go to a utility fund to aid low-income customers, and half will return to the customer.

Although he praised the board’s directive overall, Mandelbaum said the cashout piece “could potentially be losses and gains. I don’t think the cashout is going to make much difference on most projects, but there is some potential for it to impact some projects.”

The ruling will eliminate any incentive a solar customer might have felt to overproduce. The increased cap of 1 megawatt will apply only up to 100 percent of the solar customer’s load. And while the new rules will extend net metering to a couple of groups of customers who are currently excluded, the rules stipulate that each customer’s generation will only offset the energy charge and will not apply to demand or customer charges.

One class that now will gain access is customers who obtain solar power through third-party power-purchase agreements or lease arrangements. After a customer filed a complaint, Alliant changed its policy a year ago to allow third-party customers – generally public and non-profit entities – to net meter. While Alliant extended net metering to that group, MidAmerican did not, according to Mandelbaum. The ruling made yesterday requires that MidAmerican adopt the same standard.

The other class that now will be able to net meter is the large general service category, such as manufacturing plants and wastewater-treatment facilities. Barry Shear, a solar developer in Iowa, went to the utilities board because Alliant’s policy stymied one city’s attempt to install a solar array at its water treatment plant.

Although the new rules will allow large general service customers to net meter, the presence of a large demand fee as part of their bill may continue to interfere with the economics of net metering.

The board’s Tuesday ruling did something else: it seemed to bypass much of the pilot projects that Alliant and MidAmerican submitted in March. Although the board instructed the utilities to devise pilot projects that would experiment with ways to expand rooftop solar, clean-energy supporters in the state mostly viewed the pilots as designed to discourage people from generating their own power. Alliant proposed paying less to solar customers, and MidAmerican suggested imposing a demand charge on them. Both of them, however, also said they wanted to experiment with community solar.

The message in Tuesday’s ruling, as Mandelbaum sees it, was, “You can continue working on community solar projects,” he said, “The rate-design pilots – it essentially rejects those.”

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Midwest Energy News: ELPC’s Mandelbaum Discusses Incentives Generation & Transmission Co-Ops Gain from FERC Ruling

Rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities are better-positioned to obtain power from renewable sources in the wake of a decision last month by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

And some clean-energy advocates believe that as a result, renewable sources will be a larger part of the generation mix for the small utilities that serve a significant proportion of Midwestern electricity customers.

In a case from Colorado, the FERC ruled that the generation and transmission co-ops that provide power to the nation’s retail power coops may not impose surcharges on members to compensate for revenue lost when member co-ops purchase renewable power as required by the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA).

The ruling elaborates on a decision the FERC made a year ago regarding the “all-requirements” contracts that many retail co-ops and municipal utilities have signed with their suppliers.

The contracts typically commit them to purchase all – or nearly all — of their power from that supplier for several decades into the future. These restrictive contracts can prevent those utilities from investing in renewable projects.

The Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock Community School District in Iowa, for example, began planning a large solar project a couple of years ago as a means of reducing its increasingly burdensome power bills. The district planned an array that would produce about twice the energy it expected to use, with the aim of selling excess power back to the local municipal utility.

The wholesale supplier, the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, warned the district and the utility that it would require the utility to continue paying for power it no longer would be selling to the school district.

The school district has put the project aside for the time being, and negotiated a lower rate from the local utility. District superintendent Keith Turner said he hopes eventually to resurrect the idea of a solar array.

The FERC made clear, in the first of the two rulings, that retail co-ops are required by PURPA to buy power from “qualifying facilities” that wish to sell renewable energy to them. Their obligation under PURPA supersedes an “all-requirements” contract with a supplier.

According to Tracy Warren of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, one important and overlooked point is that contracts actually are made between one co-op and all of the other co-ops that together are members of the generation and transmission, or G and T, co-op.

If the implication there is that one co-op’s renewable power would come at the expense of its fellow co-op members, it’s “similar to the net metering argument – but on a larger scale,” said Josh Mandelbaum, an attorney for the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “They’re saying that if one co-op or muni gets less power from the G and T, then that G and T won’t be able to recover their fixed costs. You can make that assertion, but it might not be at all true from an actual cost perspective.”

Will co-ops be interested?

So how much will this latest ruling increase access to renewable power for customers of co-ops and municipal utilities that are bound by all-requirements contracts?

Allison Clements, senior attorney with the Sustainable FERC Project for the Natural Resources Defense Council, believes that co-ops and municipal utilities will seize this opportunity to invest in renewable power.

“The signals we are getting from small entities is that they want to buy clean power and diversify their fuel mix,” she said. “They are absolutely interested. There is a whole host of progressive munis and co-ops that want to purchase clean power.”

John Farrell, director of the energy democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in Minneapolis, is less confident — at least in the near-term.

“The co-ops that already have been agitating for some flexibility – which is a small number – are really going to start to use this to their greatest advantage,” he said. “They may start to look like Farmers Electric Cooperative in Iowa. That’s a very small co-op that doesn’t have one of these contracts, so they have had a lot more flexibility.”

More broadly, Farrell said, “I don’t think we will see a lot of renewables.”

A couple of factors could get in the way, as Farrell sees it. One, quite simply, is “the conservative nature of most co-op boards,” he said.

The other is the change in rural coop culture that is a consequence of the long-term contracts themselves.

“In many cases,” he said, “it’s been 30 or 40 years since the co-op owned a power plant. The problem now is you have that inertia in terms of the culture of the organization. Maybe there’s not even expertise in terms of how to build and own a power plant or to make a (power purchase agreement). I don’t expect huge growth in co-ops from this ruling in the next 12 months.”

He pointed out that there is also the question of debt. When wholesale power providers invest in generation and transmission assets, they generally tap their member co-ops to pay the bill. Although the FERC’s ruling gives retail coops some wiggle room as to how much power they must buy, they remain obligated to pay their share of any outstanding debt, according to Farrell. And if there is a lot of debt to be paid, he said, retail co-ops may decide they can’t afford to add on the cost of power from another source.

Farrell and Clements see another possible path to more renewables, though. Retail co-ops and municipal utilities could press their wholesale providers to invest in renewable energy on their behalf. A couple of Midwestern wholesale co-ops — Dairyland Power Cooperative and Great River Energy — are doing that now.

Mandelbaum of the ELPC said the FERC rulings “give those G and Ts an incentive to be forward-looking and more responsive not just to member coops, but to individual community members interested in renewable options.”

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Brad Klein Talks To Midwest Energy News: Good News For Rural Solar In Minnesota

By Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

Minnesota’s rural distributed generation customers won a major victory this week when state regulators halted the practice by cooperatives of applying fixed charges for solar installations.

Regulators ruled June 9 that cooperatives must file requests for small power production tariffs with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, which makes the final determination on those fees. The commission ruled those fees must now be suspended until an investigation is completed.

Rural cooperatives lost their argument that the PUC had no jurisdiction in the matter of fixed charges for solar customers. Co-ops believed their boards would be the final arbiters of those charges.

“It’s a victory for good government and for good process,” said Brad Klein, an attorney for the Environmental Policy & Law Center. “This is an unusually strong statement from commissioners who saw that distributed generation customers don’t have a strong voice on the boards of directors of these co-ops.”

Attorney and Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association development director David Shaffer represented two individuals who had brought complaints against their rural co-ops over the fees. “It was a near perfect decision for us,” he said. “We pretty much got everything we wanted.”

Jim Horan, legal counsel of the Minnesota Rural Electric Association, said the decision “was not unexpected.” MREA had believed ratemaking was more the purview of their boards and not the PUC, but the investigation the commission has ordered will seek to clarity those roles, he said.

The issue of extra fees being added to solar customers’ bills has become common throughout the country and in the Midwest. The rationale has been the fees cover the fixed cost of serving solar customers, but others argue they fail to account for benefits that distributed solar provides for the grid.

“We believe these types of proposals are motivated by a desire to chill and block distributed generation,” Shaffer said.

Last year the Minnesota legislature passed a law allowing co-ops to charge fees for distributed generation customers as long as they were “reasonable” and based on a cost-of-service study.

Since then 14 co-ops have added monthly fees ranging from $13 to $83. “That has chilled the market in coop territories,” he said.

The current case involved complaints about fixed charge fees by customers of Meeker Cooperative Light and Power Association and Minnesota Valley Cooperative Light & Power Association.

The ELPC and Fresh Energy, publisher of Midwest Energy News, filed a separate complaint that, in essence, argued that fixed fees were not appropriately filed and that co-ops shouldn’t be allowed to charge them.

The co-ops were represented by the MREA. The organization had instructed members to use a cost-of-service study approach which emphasized income lost from a solar customer rather than the actual cost of having distributed generation on the grid, Shaffer said.

The methodology used is more like “a lost revenue model,” he said. “It’s not how expensive it is to facilitate someone getting on the grid.”

The co-ops took no benefits of solar into account in their cost-of-service studies, he said. The PUC has accepted a “value of solar” study  by the Department of Commerce which reveals solar has a net benefit, and therefore distributed generation customers should pay little or nothing to utilities, Shaffer said.

Before the state law passed last year, co-ops charged solar customers anywhere from $2.65 to $5 a month. The state’s investor owned utilities charge from $5 to $10 a month, Shaffer said.

The PUC opened a docket to look at the fees charged by 14 co-ops, and allowed other co-ops to join in. The commission will look at the fixed charge methodology being used and compare it to the statute, which calls for “fixed costs” to be front and center.

“There’s no inherent right of a utility to collect a certain amount of revenue from a customer,” he said. “We certainly believe customers should pay their fair share of the cost of connecting to the grid.”

Co-ops will have to submit data and allow for people to review it, Klein noted. The benefits of solar will have to be included, too, he said.

MREA’s Horan argues co-ops are “at cost providers” without a revenue component that goes to investors. If the cost of service is $45 a month, that’s what the co-op needs to collect from all customers, not just those with solar, he said.

When MREA developed the methodology, clean energy advocates were consulted, he said. “We didn’t get a lot of specific feedback,” Horan said. “We’d be open to suggestions on other ways to do this.”

The benefit of solar is different for distribution co-ops. The value at this point is no higher than what the coops pay now for energy, Horan said, and because their grids cover great distances and have little density even small amounts of distributed energy can be impactful.

One part of the case remains unclear. Meeker Cooperative argued that the complaint brought by Keith Weber over fixed charges was in “bad faith” and “frivolous.” Had the commission ruled against him, he would have had to pay the utility’s attorney fees.

“We were concerned more broadly that if this was how co-ops would respond to customer complaints they would be afraid to come forward and contest these fees,” Klein said.

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Herald & Review: Solar Advocates Wary of Nuclear Power Bill

By Dan Petrella, Herald & Review

St. Louis-based StraightUp Solar opened a branch in Bloomington about a year and a half ago as part an effort to grow its business in Illinois.

But the company, which installs solar power systems for residential, commercial and nonprofit customers, is worried that legislation under consideration in the General Assembly would stall the growth of the fledgling industry in the state, said Shannon Fulton, StraightUp Solar’s director of business development and president of the Illinois Solar Energy Association.

Exelon Corp.’s “Next Generation Power Plan” is intended, in part, to save its financially struggling nuclear plants in Clinton and near the Quad-Cities. Exelon has said it will shut down the Clinton Power Station on June 1, 2017, “if adequate legislation is not passed that properly values nuclear power for its economic, environmental and reliability benefits during the spring Illinois legislative session scheduled to end May 31.”

But solar advocates say the bill, which is scheduled for a Senate committee hearing today, would make changes to rate structures for customers of Exelon subsidiary Commonwealth Edison that would undermine the financial viability of their industry.

“Within this bill there are some poison pills that are unprecedented,” said Amy Heart, a senior public policy manager for The Alliance for Solar Choice.

The industry has focused its criticisms on two components of the proposal.

The first is a change in the way customers are charged to cover ComEd’s costs for distributing power. Currently, residential customers of the Northern Illinois utility are charged per kilowatt-hour, but the proposal would shift to a “demand charge,” which would be assessed based on each customer’s peak usage during the month.

“This changes the fundamental way that we interact with our energy,” Heart said, adding that customers’ bills could vary widely from month to month.

For StraightUp Solar and companies like it, that would mean more difficulty estimating whether installing rooftop solar panels would pay off for people in ComEd territory, Fulton said.

“It does infuse uncertainty and variability in our ability to really, truly know what the financial value of solar will be for a customer,” she said.

The proposal has also drawn criticism from Attorney General Lisa Madigan and AARP Illinois, who have expressed concerns about the broader impact on customers’ power bills.

ComEd executive say a majority of customers would actually see a decrease in the electricity distribution charge on their power bills.

That includes more than 70 percent of low-income customers, said Val Jensen, senior vice president of customer operations.

“More people will benefit from this,” he said, adding that the majority of those who do pay more will see an increase of less than $3.

The second issue, perhaps of greater concern to solar companies, is a proposed change to the way customers with solar panels on their roofs are reimbursed for the excess power they generate.

As it stands, they receive credit on their power bills for surplus energy, which is sent out to other customers on the electric grid, at the retail rate a customer would be charged for using that power. The legislation would change this to the lower wholesale rate.

Fulton said the current “net metering” structure helps customers recoup the cost of installing solar systems, which typically runs “well under $10,000” after accounting for state and federal incentives.

“Net metering benefits exist for the entire life of the system,” she said.

Heart said that it wouldn’t be fair for ComEd to turn around and sell solar energy generated on someone’s rooftop to other customers at a profit.

The state needs an in-depth study of these issues before moving forward, she said.

ComEd officials say the changes to net metering are needed to cover the cost of distributing power to solar customers at times when they’re drawing more power than their rooftop panels are producing.

They also argue that their proposal would jump-start the nascent industry by creating new rebates for customers who install solar panels and investing $140 million in the purchase of renewable energy credits from solar developers.

“We are pro-solar,” said Fidel Marquez, senior vice president of governmental and community affairs. “We are pro-energy efficiency.”

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ELPC’s Andy Olsen Joins Solar Groundbreaking in Wisconsin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
David Jakubiak

Wisconsin Co-op Breaks Ground for New Solar
Small Rural Electric Cooperative Leads the Way in the Badger State

The Environmental Law & Policy Center’s Andy Olsen joined Richland Electric Cooperative for the ground breaking on the first of 12 solar farms developed as part of the Dairyland Power Cooperative solar initiative launched earlier this year. Richland Electric Cooperative’s project includes 500 kilowatts of solar generating capacity under Dairyland’s solar project. Another 100 kilowatts has been added under Richland’s Transition Energy community solar project which was announced last month.

“We commend Richland Electric Cooperative for going above and beyond the historic solar development announced by Dairyland Power Cooperative in February,” said Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Advocate of the Environmental Law & Policy Center in Madison. “Modern, affordable solar power technology is here and is ready to serve the members of Richland Electric Cooperative.”

For more details on the announcement, visit the Dairyland Power Press Room.

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