APRIL 2010 Connecting to the Grid Newsletter

WHAT’S NEW AS OF APRIL 2010?

Note from the Editor: Public Utilities – Local Challenges, Local Solutions

This month we wrap up the discussion on innovative utility practices with a look at public and municipal utilities, generally referred to as munis. These utilities are non-profit, government-organized entities which represent 61% of utilities but only 15% of electric sales.  Munis are not usually regulated by PUCs (they are in only seven states); instead, they are overseen by city or county boards. Because they are run by, or report to, elected officials, their policies are arguably more easily influenced by the mood of the local electorate.  In turn, this gives munis a measure of freedom to implement policies that suit the needs of their local customer base.

One of the main constraints public utilities have faced, over the past few years in particular, has been city-level budget crises.  Because a portion of utility revenues revert to the municipality’s general fund (which supports police departments, etc.) government officials often have to balance renewable energy programs with the concerns of a dwindling city budget. Los Angeles has recently provided us with a compelling example of this type of conflict (see California, pg. 6). Last month the Los Angeles Municipal Utility (LADWP) asked the city council to approve significant rate increases, in part, so that they may undertake a Feed-in Tariff program as part of Mayor Villaraigosa’s solar initiative, announced in 2008. Due to caps on rate increases though, the city has thus far withheld their approval.  [Continued in Newsletter]

State News in Detail

Northeast States

Connecticut DPUC issues draft decision on network interconnections

New York’s Town of Massena offers net metering

Vermont’s Green Mountain Power has seen sharp increase in PV DG

Mid-Atlantic States

Pennsylvania PUC delivers good news to net metering customers           

Midwestern States

Indiana Power and Light announces voluntary FIT

South Dakota requires utilities to file minimum RE rates

Southern States

Florida’s Gulf Power petitions for standard interconnection up to 10 MW

Texas smart meter Website introduced for consumers

Western States

California authorizes Tradable RECs; L.A. spars with utility over renewable energy rate increases

Colorado enacts ambitious RPS legislation

New Mexico allows 3rd party ownership, cost recovery for net metering

Other States

Hawaii working on interconnection standards

IREC NEWS

Community Power Proposal

Memo on FERC Ruling

2010 IREC Annual Meeting

Miscellaneous News and Events

NREL report assesses PV interconnection potential in NYC

Arizona ACC approves pilot solar PPA  project 

Download the full newsletter as a PDF:  APRIL 2010 Connecting to the Grid

FORMAT

While customer-sited net metering and interconnection policies are primarily addressed at the state level, they are also becoming important on a regional basis. This newsletter has been designed to provide state-level policy updates and capture emerging regional trends. Connecting to the Grid is a free, electronic newsletter published each month by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) and the North Carolina Solar Center at North Carolina State University. Click here to subscribe.

Editor: Laurel Varnado
NC Solar Center, NC State University

 

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