Solar power policy update May 3: Minneapolis, SC, MO, CT

Minneapolis commits to 100% renewable energy

Last Friday, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a motion for the city to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030. The city of 382,000 is the largest city in the Midwest to make a 100% renewable energy commitment, and the 65th U.S. city to do so.

The City Coordinator’s Office will now prepare a plan for the city’s transition to renewable energy by the first quarter of 2019, including policy and technological strategies.

 

Slick solar slips one in South Carolina

How did that get in there?

Less than one month after a bill to lift net metering caps in South Carolina was sidelined by a legislative move requiring it to secure a 2/3 majority, the tables have turned. Yesterday the South Carolina House approved an amendment to a bill providing revenues for the state government which will raise the state’s cap on net metered solar from 2% of a utility’s peak demand to 4%.

The bill now goes to a vote of the full House. All’s fair in love and sausage making.

 

Missouri moves to weaken regulatory oversight of utilities

As monopolies subject to state oversight, “regulated” utilities occupy a curious position in a nation which prides itself on being a market economy. And in many cases, these regulators are all that prevent utilities from doing whatever they want – including destroying the economics of customer-sited solar.

Missouri is taking a dangerous step towards weakening the regulatory compact, with a bill to allow utilities to modify their rate structures outside of formal rate cases making its way through the state’s legislature. According to an analysis in Advanced Energy Economy’s PowerSuite tool, SB 564 also seeks to “adopt rate-making mechanisms that would greatly benefit utilities, but likely lead to higher electric rates for all customer classes.”

The bill is heading to its third reading in the Missouri House, after passing the Senate on February 15, 2018

 

Connecticut: Mass mobilization for community solar

More than 14,000 Connecticut residents have called on the state’s legislators to support a bill to establish a statewide community solar program, according to Vote Solar. Senate Bill 336 has been sitting on the calendar of the Connecticut Senate for two weeks, after being reported out of committee on April 16.

The large mobilization for the bill appears to have come through a collaboration between solar advocates and CREDO, a mobile virtual network operator that champions progressive causes through its online network, CREDO Action.

“CREDO members in Connecticut have called on their legislators to pass S.B. 336 because it’s the only bill on the table that represents real progress towards a clean energy future,” said Brandy Doyle, campaign manager at CREDO Action

The bill comes as Connecticut’s legislature is considering a bill to scrap the state’s net metering program while increasing its renewable energy mandate, Senate Bill 9.