Iowa Utilities’ Strategy Seen as Effort to Curb Solar

first_imgIowa Utilities’ Strategy Seen as Effort to Curb Solar FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Karen Uhlenhuth for Midwest Energy News:Five months after state regulators strongly urged them to develop pilot projects that would “expand renewable (distributed generation) in Iowa,” Iowa’s two largest utilities have proposed new rate systems that critics contend would do just the opposite.“It’s now official,” said Andy Johnson, a clean-energy advocate and the director of the Winneshiek Energy District. “MidAmerican and Alliant are presenting road maps to move away from net metering in Iowa.”On Monday, the utilities filed documents with the Iowa Utilities Board, outlining in fairly general terms how they might modify the way they treat distributed wind and solar generators owned by customers.“Our company is making a thoughtful move towards using cleaner energy,” said Justin Foss, speaking for Alliant. “We have listened to customers and there is growing interest in having a direct connection with renewable energy generation. Our goal is to create program options that make it easier for customers to access solar energy.”Both utilities said they intend to develop community solar arrays, which they would own. And MidAmerican said it intends to install a one-megawatt battery in conjunction with its community solar system, to better understand how to integrate storage with the grid.“I think that’s a positive,” said Josh Mandelbaum, a lawyer for the Environmental Law & Policy Center who generally advocates for more renewable energy. “Coupling generation with battery technology allows you to capture the full benefits of distributed generation.”Johnson was less impressed with the utilities’ plans to build their own solar generation.“There’s nothing wrong with utilities owning renewables,” he said. “We think they should own more solar – and faster. But don’t try to exclude the rest of us from building or owning wind or solar and getting just compensation.“That’s what this docket is about…but the utilities are trying to take it towards utility ownership and towards policies that disallow and penalize customer and community ownership.”Full article: Iowa utilities propose to ‘pilot’ a rate hike for solar customerslast_img

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