Bright spots in net metering in the U.S.


Congressman Jay
Washington State
New York, NY, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — October 28, 2008 – Recognizing the benefits of renewable distributed generation state governments have been enacting policies to facilitate the use of renewable energy, and homeowners and businesses are declaring independence from traditional energy sources by generating their own electricity, according to the Network for New Energy Choices’ latest annual review of net metering in the U.S.

The review, “Freeing the Grid 2008”, found a number of bright spots in its latest report cards grading state policies on net metering and highlighting the best and worst practices in policies and interconnection standards.

Three states – Arizona, Illinois and Florida – took major steps forward by creating new programs for homeowners and businesses that want to generate their own wind or solar energy, connect to the grid, and receive credit.

Nine states – Arkansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont – significantly improved their regulations for allowing people who generate their own renewable energy to receive credit.

And six states – Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington – and the District of Columbia significantly improved their standards for connecting renewable wind and solar systems to the local electric grid.

According to the review a significant number of states have now simplified and streamlined the interconnection process for customer-sited distributed generation systems. Customers in states with well-designed interconnection standards can benefit from a process that is transparent and equitable, and that often involves separate tiers of analysis, for example, involving a “fast track” for interconnecting well-understood systems, such as photovoltaics sized 2 MW or less.

As of September 2008, 40 states had statewide net metering programs, although of varying quality. The top ranked net metering states in 2008 were Colorado, Maryland, Florida, New Jersey, Oregon and Pennsylvania. States without statewide net metering policies are Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Dakota and Tennessee, and these (with the exception of Michigan) as well as Kentucky, Maine, Oklahoma, North Dakota and Rhode Island also do not have statewide interconnection standards.

In his foreword to the review Congressman Jay Inslee of Washington State calls for a national commitment to renewable energy on par with the effort five decades ago to put a man on the moon. “To realize the full potential of a sustainable energy future, we will need presidential and congressional leadership to launch a ‘New Apollo Project’ for the clean energy revolution.”

Congress should create incentives that broaden opportunities for renewable energy investments and also deliver an economy-wide cap and trade program that reduces our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, writes Inslee, continuing: “Among a raft of other targeted complementary policies – such as greater end-use efficiency through the deployment of smart grid and demand response technologies – we also need to vastly increase the paltry federal research and development budget to help identify and bring to market the most promising innovative renewable energy technologies.”