Richmond (IN) residents tell Council to keep net metering

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   June 05, 2018  /   Posted in Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA), Net Metering, solar  /   No Comments

Solar power proponents pack Richmond council chambers

RICHMOND, Ind. — At most Richmond Common Council meetings, the sparse audience is made up almost entirely of city department heads and other employees.

But this week, nearly all of the seats in the chambers were filled as proponents of solar power turned out to urge council members not to do away with the city's rules regarding net metering.

A proposed ordinance in front of council would make changes to how Richmond Power & Light handles those customers who use solar panels to generate more power than they need to use themselves.

Under the current rules adopted in November 2010, customers who generate excess power are given a one-to-one credit for each kilowatt hour produced more than what they need for their own homes.

That ordinance sets a cap on the number of kilowatt hours that can be produced under the net metering program, effectively creating a limit of 16-20 homes that could take advantage of the situation.

The proposed ordinance would line up RP&L with the rules used by the Indiana Municipal Power Agency, of which RP&L is a member.

Under those guidelines, customers would be reimbursed in cash by IMPA for those excess kilowatt hours at a wholesale rate plus 25 percent instead of the current higher retail rate.

IMPA's plan also doesn't put any limitations on the number of customers that can be part of the program.

But it's the change in the rate of reimbursement that was a main reason that motivated many of the folks to turn out Monday night. They say the new rate would change the math for deciding whether to install solar panels at someone's home.

"I understand that they're not trying to discourage solar, but unfortunately, it's a side effect of this that it is very discouraging to homeowners because there are pretty exact calculations on how you get a return on investment on solar installations and that includes net metering. So you're leaving it for more wealthy people to be able to install if you have things like this in place," said Alison Zajdel, a former executive director of Cope Environmental Center and the current chair of the city's Environmental Sustainability Commission.

"I know this community is concerned about the environment. We all drink the same water. We all breathe the same air. We want a healthy environment. I think this ordinance makes a statement, and it's the wrong statement."

In the time since the city's net metering program was put into effect, only one customer has signed up to be part of the program, but there are reasons for that that go beyond any possible lack of interest in solar power generation, according to those who spoke to council Monday night.

"Eight years ago, solar panels were prohibitively expensive for any but the most wealthy users," said Caleb Smith, an employee of the Richmond Parks and Recreation Department who was speaking as a private citizen.

"As costs have begun to decrease along with the advantages of net metering, solar has become financially feasible for more individuals."

Council member Ron Oler pushed back on that line of thinking, suggesting the current rules actually favor the more wealthy when it comes to installing solar panels.

"It seems to me if we don't do this, only the first 16 to 20, only the wealthiest will be able to afford this and everyone else will be excluded," he said.

"So we need to do something. It may not be like this, but if we do nothing, ... we're actually hurting the middle to other classes."

Among those who spoke against the proposed ordinance was Laura Ann Arnold, an Indianapolis resident who serves as president of a group called the Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance. She argued IMPA's rules are written to favor the agency's own plans for solar power, such as the new installation being built at the former New Creations property of Richmond's far-east side.

"IMPA is not necessarily anti-solar, but they're anti-individual solar ownership, and that is very clear in all of their policies," Arnold said.

"I believe in energy freedom. I believe in customers having the right to choose and to take personal responsibility for those own consumption and for their own energy futures."

Proponents of the rule changes have said the lower reimbursement rates are similar to what any other power generator would receive when selling their electricity on the open market.

They also argue that solar customers who generate all of their own power don't then share the costs for maintaining the entire electrical grid.

"The argument is if people fall off of the grid by doing their own solar, the cost to maintain the grid kind of shifts from the haves to the have-nots in terms of solar," RP&L General Manager Randy Baker said.

In the end, council decided to hold the ordinance instead of moving it ahead for a final vote. At the earliest that won't come until the July 2 meeting because four members of the council will miss the group's next meeting on June 18.

The move also will allow the city's Environmental Sustainability Commission to discuss the ordinance and make any recommendations it might have for council.

"We think that's the best path moving forward. It allows us to digest what we've heard here tonight and do some further research," Council President Jamie Lopeman said.

Jason Truitt is the team leader and senior reporter at the Palladium-Item. Contact him at (765) 973-4459 or jtruitt@pal-item.com.


Richmond Common Council_June 4 2018

photos by Laura Ann Arnold

Richmond Council audience June 4 2018

Net Metering Repeal on Richmond (IN) Council Agenda 6/4/18

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   June 04, 2018  /   Posted in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA), Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Net Metering, solar, Uncategorized  /   No Comments

Watch on-line at: https://wgtv.viebit.com/

AGENDA  COMMON COUNCIL

CITY OF RICHMOND, INDIANA 

JUNE 4, 2018, 7:30 P.M. EDT

1. CALL TO ORDER

2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

3. PRAYER COUNCILOR MILLER

4. ROLL CALL

[Council members https://www.richmondindiana.gov/city-council]

5. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING ON MAY 21, 2018

6. PRESENTATIONS, MEMORIALS OR REMONSTRANCES, PETITIONS AND INTRODUCTIONS, MOTIONS, RESOLUTIONS. (MUST BE IN WRITING)

7. COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE MAYOR

8. REPORT OF THE BOARD OF PUBLIC WORKS AND SAFETY

A. MINUTES OF THE MAY 17 & 24, 2018 MEETINGS ARE INCLUDED IN PACKETS

9. REPORTS FROM DEPARTMENT HEADS, STANDING COMMITTEES, SPECIAL COMMITTEES and/or ORGANIZATIONS

A. BROOKS BERTL TRC FORMER REID HOSPITAL REMEDIATION/DEMOLITION UPDATE

10. MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS

11. ORDINANCES ON FIRST READING

A. ORDINANCE NO. 33-2018 AN APPROPRIATION (TRANSFER) ORDINANCE AMENDING THE 2018 BUDGET (Street)

12. ORDINANCES ON SECOND READING

B. ORDINANCE NO. 28-2018 - AN APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE SUBMITTAL, ACCEPTANCE AND APPROPRIATION OF A GRANT FROM THE UNITED STATES FEDERAL AVIATION  ADMINISTRATION

C. ORDINANCE NO. 29-2018 AN APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 41-2017 KNOWN AS THE 2018 SALARY ORDINANCE (Street)

D. ORDINANCE NO. 30-2018 AN APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 48-2017 KNOWN AS THE 2018 SALARY ORDINANCE (RSD)

E. ORDINANCE NO. 31-2018 AN APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE AMENDING THE 2018 BUDGET (RFD)

F. ORDINANCE NO. 32-2018

A SPECIAL ORDINANCE GRANDFATHERING NET METERING TARIFF, ESTABLISHING TARIFF AND INTERCONNECTION STANDARDS FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY FROM QUALIFYING FACILITIES, AND DISCONTINUING COGENERATION RATES FOR RICHMOND POWER AND LIGHT

032-2018 - Grandfathers Net Metering Establishing New QF Interconnection Tariff and Discontinuing Rates

13. ORDINANCES ON THIRD READING

14. UNFINISHED BUSINESS

15. CALL FOR ADJOURNMENT

FYI

ORDINANCE NO. 15-2017 GENERAL ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 54 OF THE RICHMOND CITY CODE AND ADOPTING AN ENFORCEMENT RESPONSE GUIDE (Sanitary)

ORDINANCE NO. 26-2018 - ESTABLISHING INTERCONNECTION STANDARDS FOR RICHMOND POWER AND LIGHT

026-2018 - RP_L Interconnection

ORDINANCE NO. 27-2018 - A SPECIAL ORDINANCE DISCONTINUING NET METERING AND COGENERATION RATES FOR RICHMOND POWER & LIGHT COMPANY

027-2018 - repealing the net metering and code generation (Ord. 54-2010)


Find contact information for the Richmond Common Council HERE:

Richmond Common Council Mmbers 2018

For additional information see:

Richmond Power and Light Net Metering

Is RP&L ready for IMPA to take over net metering?

IMPA/IURC/FERC Documents–Richmond

 

1 yr after Trump’s Paris Pullout, US Cos. Are Driving Renewables Boom

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   June 02, 2018  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   No Comments
Solar panels on the roof of a Walmart in Baldwin Park, Calif. CreditReed Saxon/Associated Press

A Year After Trump’s Paris Pullout, U.S. Companies Are Driving a Renewables Boom

By Brad PlumerJune 1, 2018

WASHINGTON — When President Trump announced on June 1 last year that the United States would exit the Paris climate deal, many of America’s largest corporations said they would honor the agreement anyway, vowing to pursue cleaner energy and cut emissions on their own.

A year later, there’s one area where that pledge is highly visible: renewable energy. Dozens of Fortune 500 companies, from tech giants like Apple and Google to Walmart and General Motors, are voluntarily investing billions of dollars in new wind and solar projects to power their operations or offset their conventional energy use, becoming a major driver of renewable electricity growth in the United States.

“You’re definitely not seeing corporations slow down their appetite for renewables under Trump — if anything, demand continues to grow,” said Malcolm Woolf, senior vice president for policy at Advanced Energy Economy, a clean energy business group. “And it means that many utilities increasingly have to evolve to satisfy this demand.”

One big question, however, is whether these corporate renewable deals will remain a relatively niche market, adding some wind and solar at the margins but not really making a sizable dent in overall emissions, or whether these companies can use their clout to transform America’s grid and help usher in a new era of low-carbon power.

A Corporate Clean Energy Wave

Last year in the United States, 19 large corporations announced deals with energy providers to build 2.78 gigawatts worth of wind and solar generating capacity, equal to one-sixth of all of the renewable capacity added nationwide in 2017, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewable Center. (Power companies themselves added much of the rest, often in response to state mandates.)

That trend appears to be accelerating. Corporations have already announced deals for another 2.48 gigawatts of wind and solar in the first half of 2018, as companies like AT&T and Nestlé join the search for cleaner power to fulfill their sustainability goals and take advantage of the rapidly declining cost of renewables.

“We didn’t intend to do this as a statement about Paris, though it has become a statement that we’re definitely still in,” said Brian Janous, general manager of energy at Microsoft, which has so far bought enough wind and solar power to match 50 percent of the demand from its global data centers.

“But with how fast wind and solar prices have fallen, we see this as something that makes financial sense,” he said.

At least 22 companies in the Fortune 500 have committed to buying enough renewable power to match 100 percent of their electricity use in the years ahead. And some analysts say these goals could help spur electric utilities to continue reducing their own emissions even as the Trump administration rolls back Obama-era policies like the Clean Power Plan, a regulation focused on reducing carbon emissions from power plants.

“We think this is a major trend,” said Lisa Wood, vice president of customer solutions at the Edison Electric Institute, a major utility trade group. “Customers are becoming the driver.”

How to Go Renewable

It can often be difficult for a company that isn’t a utility to procure large quantities of renewable electricity on its own. Walmart has installed on-site solar panels on the roofs and parking lots of at least 350 stores, but not every company has that much real estate in play.

Another approach: In deregulated electricity markets, like California or Texas, companies can sign long-term power purchase agreements with energy providers to build new solar or wind facilities. The electricity from these projects typically feeds into the local grid, mixing with electricity from other sources such as coal or natural gas, but the company can legally claim the wind or solar power as its own by buying the renewable energy certificates generated by the project.

Image

The San Gorgonio Pass wind farm near Banning, Calif.CreditBill Clark/Roll Call, via Getty Images

These agreements have gotten increasingly sophisticated: Companies can even arrange to pay for a new wind farm in a different state, such as Oklahoma, and obtain credits from the project even if the electricity is going to someone else. (Basically, the buyer is creating new wind power without using it directly.)

But these large individual deals can be costly and complicated. Apple, for instance, arranged in 2015 to pay $848 million over 25 years for most of the electricity from a large solar farm in California built by First Solar, while selling the excess back to the grid.

While Apple has said it expects to save millions of dollars over the long term, there is still risk involved in any such deal. And the company had to create its own energy subsidiary and receive federal approval to trade its excess power, which wouldn’t be practical for most smaller businesses.

But, as Google itself readily acknowledges, this doesn’t mean that the company is truly powered by 100 percent renewable energy. In many cases, its wind and solar farms operate in different regions (or different countries) than the company’s data centers do. What’s more, the wind and solar farms it has procured don’t provide steady power 24 hours a day, whereas Google’s data centers run around the clock. That means the company is essentially still reliant on fossil fuels to keep the broader grid running.

For its next phase, Google wants to locate all of its clean-energy projects in the same grid regions as its data centers, even though that will mean prodding policymakers in places like Taiwan to overhaul electricity markets and allow companies to make direct purchases. Google is also trying to figure out how to assemble a suite of zero-carbon energy sources that can run 24 hours a day, which may require additional technologies like battery storage, demand response programs or even nuclear power.

But achieving that goal will take years, and is likely to be far more complicated than simply signing renewable energy contracts.

“Reaching 100 percent renewable energy is an important milestone, but it’s just the beginning,” said Michael Terrell, head of energy market strategy at Google. “We have to keep our eyes on the ultimate prize, which is to enable carbon free power in every hour of every day.”

NV Energy Plans to Renig on Solar Projects if Q3 Passes

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   June 01, 2018  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   No Comments

NV Energy new clean energy investment relies on Question 3

NV Energy new clean energy investment relies on Question 3

NV Energy announced plans Thursday to add six new solar projects in Nevada in what it said is the largest clean energy investment in the state’s history.

But it may drop the plans if the Energy Choice Initiative on November’s ballot, known as Question 3, passes.

A statement from NV Energy — the state’s largest electricity supplier — said if the measure passes, it has the option to not proceed to avoid “increasing the liabilities and risks to NV Energy customers.”

[Visit on-line story to view video story
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal

00:00

00:37

Question 3 would allow Nevadans to pick their own energy supplier, opening the state up as a competitive market. Supporters say the measure would bring cheaper energy options. Opponents say it would lead to higher energy bills.

10 massive corporations going big on solar power

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   May 30, 2018  /   Posted in Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)  /   No Comments

10 massive corporations going big on solar power

American businesses are investing record amounts in solar, with the top corporate users adding 325 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity last year, according to the "Solar Means Business 2017" report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

The impact of corporate solar is significant: the solar installations analyzed in the SEIA report produce enough electricity to power 402,000 U.S. homes and offset 2.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.

Here, CNBC's Sustainable Energy looks at the top 10 corporations in the U.S. by their installed capacity of solar power.

10. Amazon.com — 33.6 MW

It's not only solar power that Amazon in embracing. Last year, the business announced that its largest wind farm to date, Amazon Wind Farm Texas, was up and running. The facility, located in Scurry County, has more than 100 turbines and will add one million megawatt hours of clean energy to the grid each year.

9. Macy's — 38.9 MW 

As well as having installed almost 40 MW of solar capacity, Macy's wants to increase the amount of its waste diverted from landfills to 70 percent by this year.

8. IKEA — 44.9 MW

By 2020, the IKEA Group wants to produce as much renewable energy as it consumes in its operations. On its website, the business says it wants to source all its wood from more sustainable sources, also by 2020.

7. General Growth Properties — 50.2 MW

Real estate business General Growth Properties describes sustainability as "an integral component of GGP's long-term success."

Raymond Boyd | Michael Ochs

6. Costco Wholesale — 50.8 MW

Costco is embracing solar in a big way. The businesses states that at the end of the fiscal year for 2017 it was using solar photovoltaic systems at 100 warehouses, from New York to Japan.

5. Kohl's — 51.5 MW

Department store Kohl's is not only turning to solar power to reduce its environmental impact. On its website, the business states that it recycles around 150,000 tons of materials annually, which represents more than 80 percent of waste generated.

4. Apple — 79.4 MW 

Tech giant Apple places fourth in the SEIA's list. Earlier this year, Apple announced that its global facilities were powered by 100 percent clean energy. CEO Tim Cook described the development as a significant milestone for the business.

3. Prologis — 120.7 MW

Third placed Prologis has a little under 121 MW of installed capacity, according to the SEIA's report. The business is targeting a 20 percent cut in corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, from a 2011 baseline.

2. Walmart — 149.4 MW

With just under 150 MW of solar capacity installed Walmartgrabs second place in the SEIA's list. Looking at the bigger picture, the retail giant wants to slash emissions from its value chain by one billion metric tons by 2030.

Walmart To Raise Its Minimum Raise To 11 Dollars An Hour

1. Target — 203.5 MW

Target added over 40 MW of solar to its portfolio in 2017. The business now has more than 200 MW of installed capacity.

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