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View Diary: Residential solar will be cheaper than grid electricity in 25 states by 2015 says utility CEO (142 comments)

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  •  California passed legislation that allows the (21+ / 0-)

    utilities to charge us $10 a month for the use of their transmission lines. The last three months my electric bill has been in negative numbers: -$90, -$67, and -$32 due to my rooftop solar array. Although the utilities are required by law to purchase so much energy from renewable sources, and they purchase the excess of what my panels provide, they can now charge me for their compliance with the law's requirements. Even though there are months when I have to purchase power from them.

    The bill went through the legislature without a lot of fanfare and was signed by a Democratic governor.

    Oh oh, I hope THAT doesn't end up in someone's sig line! :) - kos

    by Susan Grigsby on Sat Jul 05, 2014 at 01:33:13 PM PDT

    •  Just a question, didn't the people of that state (10+ / 0-)

      of CA pay for those transmission lines to be built?  I believe so.  

    •  Yes, ALEC is backing those kinds of bills in (10+ / 0-)

      nearly all 50 states as far as I can see.

      Charging a net metering fee of anywhere from $4.50 to $15.00 a month is one strat.

      Also, having a "minimum monthly bill" so no matter what you have to send them so much a month.

      Also, I believe Rocky Mountain Power, owned by Warren Buffet's group is trying to reduce the amount they have to pay for solar generated power from third party suppliers. But, I may be thinking of Texas.

      The current PURPA makes them buy external power if it is cheaper than internal so there is a big burst of solar and wind projects coming online.

      Also, many places are trying to eliminate state tax incentives for solar and wind,

      Plus several utilities have proposed a 5% cap of the total amount of power they have to accept through net metering.

      It's a shame, and ALEC is involved with a bunch of these efforts, and my understanding is they also have connections to the Koch brothers.

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

      by HoundDog on Sat Jul 05, 2014 at 03:54:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cheer up, things could be worse, and they will be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        There is a long and sordid history of utility subversion of PURPA which we ignore at our peril.  Look for example, at the disposition of stranded costs in nuclear facilities, and the contracts utilities were forced to enter into to replace the power they planned to get from those sources.  Those stranded costs have been assumed by the states around the Northeast, and the contracts abrogated (see CMP's record for a particularly egregious example).

        The reality is that utility lobbyists, often passing through the revolving doors of state governments while they do so, work year after year with their legislatures, while the public interest is focused elsewhere.  Expect a repeat performance - these utilities have lots of practice and very good teams in place.  Power supply pricing is likely to get worse from a ratepayer and taxpayer perspective before it gets better.

    •  Susan - eventually everyone who is on the grid (10+ / 0-)

      will have to pay a monthly cash fee to stay connected everywhere in the US. In addition, the utility will stop buying your excess power at any price, it's a pain to manage and they don't want it. This is the pattern we see in those European countries that are much farther down the adoption curve of rooftop solar than the US. The utilities have been guaranteed a rate of return, which requires a certain level of revenues. Utilities don't make any profit on people who use low amounts of energy and solar is most compelling for people with high power bills. Those households with high bills represent the most profitable utility customers, and they are installing solar. Eventually, the utilities may be left with people in multifamily dwellings, the poor who can't afford or qualify for solar, or homes in areas with little direct sun paying for the entire grid and that can't happen. So everyone connected to the grid is going to have to make a monthly contribution.  

      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

      by VClib on Sat Jul 05, 2014 at 04:06:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I have heard that that is the next step, so (11+ / 0-)

        I have been looking into the newer technology for conversion and storage with the thought of eventually getting off the grid entirely. (If I live long enough for it to matter to me.) I don't mind supporting the infrastructure, I feel that I should and would be willing to do so through taxes. But if I can't maintain an annual balance with the power company then getting off is my only option. The electricity rates out here are the highest in the state.

        I live in the desert, the perfect place for solar energy, and since I have no access to natural gas, my home is all electric. It is hot in the summer - which is why, until a hundred years ago, no one lived out here year round. I shouldn't be living here, I know, but I do love it.

        Oh oh, I hope THAT doesn't end up in someone's sig line! :) - kos

        by Susan Grigsby on Sat Jul 05, 2014 at 05:07:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  or defection (6+ / 0-)

        The ones who can afford it will defect, which means
        the grid will be on the backs of the poor or
        the poorly sited.

        Let's say the top 25% all defect, getting Big Arrays,
        Storage batteries and chevy volts. so they can go V2H.

        Let's say the folks with southern exposures all defect

        that could easily be 30-50% of the market.

        it's likely the grid will have to become a public good.
        where the city charges a front footage and the Power department comes around and maintains the grid

        much like the water department

        •  Out of the shadows (0+ / 0-)

          Taxpayers instead of ratepayers is clearly where electric utilities will be getting their money.  The question for those currently relying on private utilities should be whether those utilities will be allowed to still operate a private businesses.  What will be the rationale for a private enterprise that is both obsolete and government funded?  Utilities have been winning these arguments in the legislative back rooms, where they actually take place.  If the public interest is to be served, though, that has to change - starting with getting the decisions out of the shadows.  

          •  If they move to direct taxpayer support (0+ / 0-)

            they will really have to become a "Public Good".

            You have things like Toll Roads where the Treasury
            is on the stick if it goes south but the direct user tolls
            pay the smash.

            But it's going to be much more problematic to give
            grid fees to dividend granting companies.

            Personally i think the Utiltiies will need to move into
            Grid brokering. Stop selling Power and start brokering

            If EVERYONE has an EV car, then the Utility will need to
            install L-2 Chargers EVERYWHERE and L-3 chargers across
            the region.  Then the Utility can have a biz model where
            they charge you to move power from your house to
            your car, and sell you voltage support, Frequency and Timing and charge you to move amps either way, plus sell you
            Access to L-2 chargers and L-3 chargers.

            Plus no reason why a utility can't lease you a solar array,

            but it's going to be a big change.

            Mostly meaning the Utility needs to go all 1952 phone company. Own a lot more stuff, cross beyond the demarc
            invest a lot more and become a lot more patriarchal and
            paternal,  and invest like mad for 10 years.

            But if they invest for 10 years, they will have a business for 100.

      •  Just as those driving electric vehicles... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bear83, salmo

        will at some point have to start paying some pretty hefty highway use taxes. Somebody always has to pay for the infrastructure.

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