Kansas Enacts State-Wide Net Metering Legislation

KANSASOn May 22, Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson signed HB 2369, establishing a renewable portfolio standard and a state-wide net metering law. The bill’s approval came days after Kansas’ new governor reached a compromise with Sunflower Electric Power that would scale down the company’s plans to build two 700-MW coal plants (and allow it to build one 895-MW plant) in exchange for the renewable energy provisions in the bill. Former Governor Kathleen Sebelius last year vetoed three state bills that would have allowed Sunflower to move ahead on the two proposed coal plants.

With the passage of this bill, residential systems up to 25 kW and non-residential systems up to 200 kW may be eligible for net metering, though systems should be appropriately sized so as not to exceed expected load. Net metering will be available on a first-come, first-served basis until the total rated capacity of all systems equals or exceeds 1% of the utility’s peak demand for the previous year. This limit may be increased through a hearing process with the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC).

This bill allows net metering to systems owned or operated by a customer-generator, powered by wind; solar thermal sources; photovoltaic energy; dedicated crops grown for energy production; cellulosic agricultural residues; plant residues; methane from landfills or from wastewater treatment; clean and untreated wood products such as pallets; existing hydropower or new hydropower, not including pumped storage, that has a name-plate rating of 10 MW or less; fuel cells using hydrogen produced by one of the above-named renewable energy resources; or other sources of energy, not including nuclear power.

Utilities are not allowed to charge the customer-generator any additional standby, capacity, interconnection or other fees that would not otherwise be charged if the customer were not a customer-generator. Utilities must also provide a residential class bidirectional meter to the customer-generator at no charge, but may charge the customer-generator for the cost of any additional metering or distribution equipment necessary to accommodate the customer-generator’s facility.

Net excess generation (NEG) may be carried forward from month to month though NEG remaining at the end of the calendar year is forfeited to the utility (Editor’s note: Calendar year true-ups are typically less ideal for some renewable systems than annualized periods that begin in June).

HB 2369 also contains a few guiding provisions for the KCC to adopt standards for interconnection. Utilities may require an external disconnect switch though they may not require customers purchase additional insurance. The bill also directs the KCC to require simple contracts for interconnection and net metering agreements. The KCC has 12 months to promulgate rules for net metering and interconnection.

 

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