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Mon Mar 3, 2014, 07:25 PM

Digging into ALEC's attack on solar and net metering

Net Metering 2014: North Carolina’s Duke Energy Plans Attack on Solar

Part One

In a sign it will seek to maintain its monopolistic control of North Carolina’s energy generation, Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good criticized solar net metering in a meeting with local reporters on January 22. According to the Charlotte News & Observer’s John Murawski, the utility will push for “reducing how much North Carolina households are paid for generating electricity from solar panels.”

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recently released a model resolution calling for the weakening of solar net metering policies that threaten the traditional utility industry business model. ALEC is one front group that the utility industry is using to push for changes to net metering policies—a valuable ally for the utilities to lobby state legislators from across the country. Duke Energy is a member of ALEC.

Good claimed that the company was supportive of solar power and wanted it to be a part of the portfolio. In reality, Duke Energy Carolinas generates approximately 57% of its electricity from coal and natural gas plants, another 26% from nuclear power plants, and only .04% from solar. The reality is that solar is less part of the utility’s portfolio and more of an afterthought.

TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar Won’t Be Killed) has launched a new ad highlighting Duke’s attacks on solar and emphasizing that Lynn Good was looking out for Duke’s stock price by “ensuring we get paid.” In a press release last week, the NC Sustainable Energy Association said, “Utilities are attacking net metering and rooftop solar to protect their bottom line and monopoly control, plain and simple.”

Duke recently issued a request for proposals...


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Reply Digging into ALEC's attack on solar and net metering (Original post)
kristopher Mar 2014 OP
Vinnie From Indy Mar 2014 #1
DustyJoe Mar 2014 #2
kristopher Mar 2014 #3
kristopher Mar 2014 #4

Response to kristopher (Original post)

Mon Mar 3, 2014, 07:51 PM

1. Elon Musk is preparing to outflank the grid operators with is his ginormous battery

factory and research center. He is already involved with the battery technology of his cars with solar technology. Several companies have produced systems that allow for much greater battery storage of solar energy for home systems.

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Mon Mar 3, 2014, 09:01 PM

2. USE your excess DO NOT tie to the grid

Good luck to any utility company metering a closed home system. I have an albeit small 700 watt solar/wind turbine battery bank charging system. If you watch your charge rates on your storage batteries closely and add devices to use the excess during peak sun/wind no one can meter your system. If your system and home devices stay in balance there is no reason to tie to the utility company grid. My savings are small right now, about 10-12% a month kwh usage, but as I can afford I add panels/batteries and use all the power generated in excess of what the batteries need and the batteries supply nightime power to all but the large appliances till the sun or breeze comes up. I haven't had to fire the gas generator up in over a year as the battery bank has been big enough (800 amp hours) to survive the outages so far. The best thing is that I can grow the system as far as I want and can afford.

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Response to DustyJoe (Reply #2)

Mon Mar 3, 2014, 09:30 PM

3. That's the blowback for them

Last edited Tue Mar 4, 2014, 01:41 AM - Edit history (1)

With EV production spurring investment in high capacity battery pack the cost per kWh of high quality, long lasting storage is rapidly declining.

If you like an interesting search term try "utility in a box".

NRG’s David Crane Warns of ‘Shockingly Stupid’ Planning in the Power Sector

Katherine Tweed
February 25, 2014

"Resiliency" is a buzzword in the American utility industry that is becoming a business strategy in itself. But regulators and utilities may have trouble building business cases on resiliency if they're already having problems with the classic model, according to David Crane, CEO of NRG Energy.

“Think how shockingly stupid it is to build a 21st-century electric system based on 120 million wooden poles," Crane said during the fifth annual ARPA-E Energy Summit. "You can strengthen the system all you want, but if you accept that we’re in the first stage of adaptation, the system from the 1930s isn’t going to work in the long term.”

Crane is often introduced as a utility executive at conferences, a misnomer that sends shivers up his spine, he says. NRG may not be a regulated, vertically integrated utility, but it is an incumbent power producer that has about 53,000 megawatts of generation, most of which is oil, coal and natural gas. But it is also an energy company looking toward the future, with solar, energy retailers and electric vehicle networks all under the corporate umbrella.

...“I don’t understand why it’s so shocking [to imagine a scenario] where the grid is, at best, an antiquated backup system to a different way of buying electricity,” he said.

Even NRG's peaking ...


Is Utility 2.0 a Forecast or a Post-Mortem?

John Farrell
February 26, 2014 | 8 Comments


For the last six months, the energy news sphere (perhaps led by the Edison Electric Institute) has been rife with a discussion about the threat to the utility business from distributed energy like local solar, as their customers shift to getting their own power from nearby renewable resources. Reports and news stories – e.g. “Adapt or Die” – suggest changes to the electric utility business model are imminent as power generation shifts from massive to medium scale and from remote to local.

For some utilities, this discussion is not a forecast, but a post-mortem.

Electric utilities have always built infrastructure (power lines, power plants, etc.) as long-term investments. They relied on growing electricity demand and sales to help recoup the costs of new coal-fired power or (over budget) nuclear retrofits in the Midwest or new high-voltage power lines in the Northeast. Utility commissions played along, allowing them cost recovery and generous returns on equity (10-11 percent) for new infrastructure. But hardware that seemed wise in the 1990s and 2000s is suddenly and rapidly being exposed as untimely and unnecessary.

Electricity demand has flattened (even fallen), thanks to energy efficiency legislation and economic stagnation. Customers are increasingly generating their own energy from renewable energy like solar, whose cost is falling by 10 percent or more per year. Not only is big infrastructure proving harder to pay off as revenues stagnate, it’s also increasingly irrelevant in a 21st century electricity system where power generation can be cost-effectively placed right on the roof.

Commercial wind power started to crack the facade 20 years ago, but today renewable energy is rapidly imploding the utility’s entire antiquated business model...


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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Tue Mar 4, 2014, 01:41 AM

4. Part Two: Utility Interests Push for Protectionism in State of Washington

Utility Interests Push for Protectionism in State of Washington

Gabe Elsner
February 27, 2014 s

In Washington, a legislative effort to undermine solar net metering is already underway. Utility interests are pushing a protectionist, anti-free market bill that would safeguard the monopolistic control of electricity generation by a handful of utilities.

The bill in question, Washington HB 2176 states, “If an electric utility offers a leased energy program, no other entity may offer leases to the utility’s customers.” Solar leases account for approximately 60 percent of residential systems in top solar states like California and Arizona, because they allow homeowners to install solar panels with little or no upfront capital cost. It’s a business model that’s proliferated throughout the solar industry and has driven industry growth — with industry leaders like SolarCity, Sungevity, and Sunrun all offering lease programs. HB 2176 would give utilities monopoly control of the distributed solar market.

Utility companies generate profits from selling electricity from large, mostly fossil-fueled power plants, and solar power generators are beginning to eat into their profits. Instead of trying to eliminate net metering, utilities in Washington are pushing to monopolize the ability to lease solar systems to homeowners — allowing them to set the price for solar and protect their balance sheets.

This tactic is anti-free market and protectionist — and hopefully will generate bi-partisan opposition in the Washington statehouse. But since major utilities are also major campaign donors, the fight is still on-going in the state. Utilities and the oil and gas industry spent more than $800,000 combined on state elections in the 2012 election cycle, with PacifiCorp contributing over $200,000 and Puget Sound Energy over $100,000.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recently released a model resolution calling for the weakening of solar ...


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