Higher natural gas prices call for more near-term solar, said Georgia’s solar trade group in testimony on Georgia Power’s proposed resource plan, adding that a utility cap on rooftop solar should be lifted. Two other groups challenged the utility’s modeling choices.
As Western and Southeastern utilities process 194 GW of solar interconnection requests, we asked 20 of them about the final cost studies they completed last year, which would permit projects to move forward. Then we turned to Berkeley Lab analyses for more insights.
For 24 states whose governors support climate action, reaching 100% renewable electricity by 2035 would cost less than a “no new policy” scenario, the Union of Concerned Scientists found.
“Given our climate crisis, state utility commissions must act with urgency and prioritize innovation in the way utilities are regulated,” says the Sunrun policy team in a paper. Noting great progress by Hawaii and Vermont, they also call for state regulators to “rethink” how utilities make money.
“It’s time for ISO-New England to get out of the way” of renewables, said Senator Markey. He and Senators Warren and Sanders have asked federal energy regulators to end an anti-renewables rule in New England formally known as the “minimum offer price rule.”
To speed interconnection of utility-scale solar and storage, “maybe we want somebody running the show that has more of an interest in getting all these resources in the grid,” said law professor Shelley Welton in a webinar for “100% clean energy states.”
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, lead developer of a toolkit to make it faster and less costly to interconnect distributed storage, now turns to helping states use the toolkit to update their interconnection rules.
Commissioner Phillips spoke of fixing interconnection dynamics that can result in only 20% of projects in a queue ultimately getting interconnected. He favors “substantial transmission,” he said, as well as near-term transmission improvements using grid-enhancing technologies and higher-capacity wires.
Transparent utility modeling in two other states has enabled advocates to show that adding more solar than utilities had proposed in their resource plans would yield benefits. The Arizona Technology Council and sustainability advocate Ceres brought the idea to Arizona regulators.