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November 26, 2014
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Let the sun shine


Independent research by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) reveals that net metering actually provides a significant financial benefit to utilities, making nonsense of ALEC’s argument. IREC’s analysis of New Mexico’s surcharge found that on-site generation helped the utility avoid energy costs, line losses, capacity upgrades and transmission costs, and that these benefits added up to more than 15 cents for every kilowatt hour (kWh) generated. Even when any costs related to net metering were included, the policy had a net benefit to the utility of 7.8 cents per kWh.

That’s not going to sway the folks at ALEC, who recently announced their goals for 2014: block climate legislation and EPA enforcement of environmental laws, weaken state clean-energy regulations and limits on greenhouse gas emissions, and of course, punish homeowners for installing solar panels.

The Guardian newspaper recently shone a little antiseptic sunshine on this agenda by quoting ALEC spokesman John Eick: “What we saw in 2013 was an attempt to repeal RPS [Renewable Portfolio Standards] laws, and when that failed… what we are seeing now is a strategy that appears to be pro-clean energy but would actually weaken those pro-clean energy laws by retreating to the lowest common denominator.”

On my own agenda for 2014 is a resolution to expose and reject deceptive, “lowest-common-denominator” environmental legislation that weakens standards and slows our progress to sustainability.