Value of Utility Scale vs. Rooftop Solar Debated Amid Price Decline

Daily Energy Insider – February 14, 2017

By Kevin Randolph

Over the last decade, the price of solar installations has declined significantly, but the electric utilities industry continues to debate the value and cost effectiveness of utility scale versus rooftop solar.

Sherco Power Plant: The Wrong Project, for the Wrong Reasons, At a Big Cost

Minneapolis Star Tribune – February 13, 2017

By John Farrell & Karlee Weinmann

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers, including Gov. Mark Dayton, last week endorsed Xcel Energy’s plan to build a new natural gas plant in Becker, Minn. What they’ve left out is that this project is a multibillion-dollar boondoggle.

Fortunately, there’s still time to stop it.

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How Microgrids are Reducing Energy Costs and Increasing Reliability

Aquicore – February 10, 2017

By Alex Richardson

The American energy grid is, without a doubt, one of the most ambitious and impressive engineering feats in history. Never before has so much energy been immediately available and transmissible, and it operates on a scale that is difficult to properly imagine.

Commentary: Removing Co-op Oversight Jeopardizes Rural Solar

Midwest Energy News – February 8, 2017

By John Farrell & Karlee Weinmann

A plan floated by Minnesota lawmakers to exempt rural electric cooperatives from virtually all regulatory oversight would allow these utilities to restrict development of local solar power, even where their member-owners support renewable energy.

Energy Democracy Media Roundup – week of February 6, 2017

This week in Energy Democracy news:

A lot of state-level activity on renewable energy issues. Indiana and Wyoming put forward bills to limit net metering and any fair solar valuation, while Maryland and Massachusetts assert themselves as champions of economic development via renewables. Finally, NC Clean Energy Technology Center’s 50 States of Solar counted up a total of 212 solar policy actions (for good and ill) that were taken in 2016.

Thanks to Co-op, Small Iowa Town Goes Big On Solar

It’s hard to imagine a place more bucolic than the rural farming communities clustered around Kalona, Iowa — the kind of place that for generations has embodied conservative, blue-collar values woven throughout rural America.

Nestled in the gently rolling hills of southeastern Iowa, it’s at first difficult to tell what sets Kalona apart from countless similar places on the Midwestern landscape. Small towns like these form the backbone of a region whose economy depends on a rich farming tradition, even well into the 21st century.

Monopoly Un-Managed? Utility Tries to Dodge Oversight of Spendy Proposed Gas Plant

Circumventing a decades-old pact providing a market monopoly in exchange for public oversight, an investor-owned utility has proposed legislation to allow it to build a new natural gas plant criticized for its financial and environmental impact, and then stick customers with the tab.

Energy Democracy Media Roundup – week of January 23, 2017

This week in Energy Democracy news:

Mississippi implements net metering, Montana grapples with proper solar valuation, and the opportunity of infrastructure funding in a new administration offers grid modernization (but caution, too).

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As Trump heads to White House, lack of actual policy threatens US energy future by John Farrell, CleanTechnica

Solar: Choice, Competition, and Clean Air

It’s simple to promote solar power as a money saver and clean alternative to fossil fuel generation. But it sells solar short to focus only on savings, when it also gives Americans the freedom to generate their own energy and to challenge the economic and political power of big corporations.