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clearing out energy news from 2007

12 years ago | Dec 31, 2007
For real energy news junkies, DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has a great news site. You can sign up for their newsletter as well. This recent snippet, Report: States Falling Short on Interconnection and Net Metering, definitely caught my eye. Quotable:
A new report concludes that all 50 states are failing to provide easy access to the electrical grid for home-grown renewable energy systems, while only four states are doing their best to assure that the owners of such systems earn credit for power fed into the grid. Regarding "interconnection," or the connection of customer-owned power systems to the grid, many states set an arbitrary maximum size of the system that can be connected to the grid, or they set a cap on the total combined capacity of the systems connected to the grid. In many states, utility customers must pay high fees for interconnection, while also having to meet unreasonable requirements for safety features, liability insurance, and approval paperwork. Regarding "net metering," which provides a utility bill credit for customers who feed power into the grid, some states allow utilities to credit the power at a rate that's lower than the retail rate, to limit the amount of credit earned, or to limit the credit that can be carried over from month to month. Net metering often excludes commercial and industrial partners and sometimes requires the installation of an extra meter. And of course, many states don't have a policy for interconnection or net metering at all.
As a homeowner who would very much like to install wind and solar, the lack of net metering in Kansas drives me nuts. (We're a family with limited wage earning power - one of us is a civil servant, and the other works for a nonprofit. I might eventually be able to afford a grid-tied system, but I'll never be able to afford off-grid because of the cost of batteries. But when the utilities and state government make it difficult for me to connect...) If you're interested in what other states do and don't allow net metering et al, check out the fantastic DSIRE database. As many of you know, the energy legislation just passed by Congress did not re-authorize the production tax credits for solar and wind installations (let alone implement a federal Renewable Energy Standard). This could obviously put a big hitch in the get-along of increasing renewable energy. What to do, what to do... well, remember the Farm Bill? Which has been its own lovely saga this year :) not that we need to get into that here, but if you check out this Windustry analysis (and click on the .pdf from the 25x25 coalition) then you can see that there may be hope for rural America to have a second chance at renewable energy and energy efficiency tax credits. I need hardly say - that would be cool.

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