Utilities

Home>Topics>Utilities
Refine Results
  1. All
  2. Articles
  3. Online Articles
  4. Magazine Articles
  5. Videos
  6. Magazine Articles
  1. Solar Power: Indiana Senate panel OKs bill to reduce solar incentives

      INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -€” An Indiana Senate panel gave preliminary approval Thursday to a bill backed by the state's investor-owned power utilities that critics contend is an effort to muscle out smaller companies from the emerging solar energy market. The measure by Republican state Sen. Brandt Hershman was approved by the Senate Utilities committee on an 8-2 vote. Solar power provides only about 1 percent of the country's energy, and an even smaller percentage in Indiana. But it is growing rapidly, with U.S. Energy Department figures showing solar industry employment grew by 125 percent from 2010 through 2015. The plunging cost of the technology, combined with the fact that it is far better for the environment than traditional sources of energy, has led homeowners, businesses, schools and even some churches to take advantage of taking its money-saving potential. That could eventually eat away at the business of the big utilities — in Indiana Duke Energy , Vectren and Indiana Michigan Power — which have a powerful voice and donate handsomely to political campaigns. Currently, solar panel owners who feed surplus energy into the power grid are compensated at a retail market rate, which supporters say enables them to pay off the expensive investment in solar within its useful life. Hershman's measure would drastically reduce that rate in five years, though it was amended Thursday after substantial opposition was voiced during a hearing last week. "Rightfully so, I think the utilities are concerned about this," said Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, who sponsored the amendment. As the bill currently reads, it would create three tiers of solar panel owners. If signed into law, those who install solar panels by the end of June would be grandfathered in at the current rate of compensation for the next 30 years, which comes in the form of a credit on their power bill. Those who install solar panels after that date, but before 2022, would be able to collect the retail rate until 2032. Anyone who installs solar panels after 2022 would receive a much lower rate of compensation. Utilities say the current Indiana compensation system is unfair because it requires them to compensate solar panel owners for power at retail cost — which is more than it would cost them to produce the energy. But the measure comes as investor-owned utilities across the U.S. are also looking to carve out their own share of the solar market, following consumer trends that increasingly look toward alternative energy amid concerns about global warming. One option utilities are promoting as an alternative to installing home solar panels is called "community solar," which involves customers agreeing to buy or lease panels from the utilities on large panel farms. That could give them a leg up, should the new rate called for under the bill prove to make solar panel installation a losing deal for property owners. Hershman said that concern could be rendered moot as the cost and efficiency of solar technology improves. The bill, he said, is a measured approach toward balancing the interests of utilities, while still supporting alternative energy sources "which I don't think is a very radical change" from current policy. But supporters say the idea is at odds with the stated priorities of Gov. Eric Holcomb, who has talked at length about the need to support innovation in the state. A spokeswoman for Holcomb did not immediately respond to a request for comment. "Governor Eric Holcomb made innovation one of the central themes of his State of State Address. Gov. Holcomb has made fostering entrepreneurship a central priority of his new Administration," Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council said in a statement, adding that "those priorities are not reflected."

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Fri, 17 Feb 2017

  2. Natural Gas Power Plant: Minnesota Senate says yes to Becker power plant

    The Minnesota Legislature is moving to side-step utility regulators by approving a new Xcel Energy power plant in central Minnesota.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Fri, 17 Feb 2017

  3. Renewable Energy: Virginia GOP, big utilities back a costly green energy idea

    Republican lawmakers in Virginia have maintained a go-slow approach to renewable energy for years, saying a conservative path has helped keep electricity costs under control as the state figures out how best to harness solar or wind power.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Tue, 14 Feb 2017

  4. Coal News: Utilities vote to close Navajo coal plant at end of 2019

    The owners of a coal-fired power plant in northern Arizona decided Monday to close the plant when their lease expires in December 2019.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 15 Feb 2017

  1. Solar Power: Big utilities try to tilt solar energy market in their favor

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Fri, 10 Feb 2017

  2. Renewable Energy: Fight over renewable energy comes to New Hampshire

    New Hampshire already lags behind most of its neighbors in expanding its use of renewable energy but that hasn't stopped several groups from using this legislative session to attack those nascent efforts.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Tue, 14 Feb 2017

  3. Dominion solar power investment in Virginia approaches $1 billion

    Dominion is investing more than $800 million in solar power in Virginia, with much of it being built at little or no cost to most customers.  Additional solar projects are now in the planning stages.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 15 Feb 2017

  4. Solar Power: Governor seeking new utility regulator, slams solar rules

    Maine's Republican governor is reiterating his call for state utility regulators to resign because of new solar rules they approved.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 15 Feb 2017

  5. Solar Power: US utilities seek sun as Trump sides with coal, fossil fuels

    The plunging cost of solar power is leading U.S. electric companies to capture more of the sun just when President Donald Trump is moving to boost coal and other fossil fuels.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Tue, 7 Feb 2017

  6. Solar Power: What the future holds for net metering

    Perhaps no battle has ever been as bitterly fought as the one brewing between many utilities and solar power installers this year.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Sat, 4 Feb 2017

  7. Landis+Gyr to introduce Engage platform at DistribuTECH 2017

    Helping utilities involve consumers in energy and capacity optimization

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Mon, 30 Jan 2017

  8. Renewable Energy: New Mexico considers more aggressive renewable energy goals

    The New Mexico Legislature will consider increasing by more than four-fold the amount of renewable energy from sources such as wind and solar that utilities need to provide customers by the year 2040.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Thu, 2 Feb 2017

Get More Results