New rules would lower rates for net metered power

McKnight Farm solar

Solar panels on the McKnight Farm in East Montpelier make use of the state’s net metering program. Photo by Roger Crowley/for VTDigger

The Public Service Board is taking public comment on proposed rules that would lower the reimbursement rate utilities pay for net-metered power.

The scheme also incentivizes development in preferred locations, and subsidizes projects that keep renewable energy credits in-state.

Utilities and state officials say the new rules will tie net-metered power prices closer to the market rate.

What is net metering?
People who have backyard or roof top solar systems generate power for their own use and then whatever is leftover goes into the power grid. Utilities pay residents and businesses that are “net metering” for the energy (typically in lower electricity bills).

Many Vermont residents have taken advantage of federal rebate programs and the state’s generous reimbursement rates for net-metered power. Most of the installations are rooftop or backyard solar arrays.

There are more than 6,000 net metering installations in Vermont, according to Jon Copans, the deputy commissioner of the Department of Public Service.

Copans said the program has proven “a huge success.” The new rules, he said, “need to build on that success.”

Net metering customers who sell energy to utilities get reimbursed at a particularly high rate, in order to subsidize development of small-scale (fewer than 500 kilowatts) renewable-energy projects.

Currently, net-metered customers get paid 19 cents per kilowatt-hour for whatever they produce in excess of what they use. The wholesale market rate for power purchased by utilities runs as low as 6 cents per kilowatt hour.

Utilities say “under ideal circumstances,” power companies could still pay up to 20 cents per kilowatt-hour for some projects.

Most net-metering customers, however, would get a significantly reduced rate under the proposed rules.

The proposed rules also subsidize development in “preferred sites,” which include brownfields, parking lots, gravel pits, quarries, and other such disturbed or developed locations.

The regulations would also address the controversial sale of renewable energy credits out of state.

The credits constitute legal title to the renewable energy. Vermont has made a commitment in state statute to obtain 90 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050, but effectively has no renewable energy credits of its own because developers and utilities have been selling the credits to nearby states.

Massachusetts and Connecticut have similar statutory renewable energy requirements and are using Vermont renewable energy credits to meet their targets.

The new net metering rules would give renewable-energy developers no compensation for renewable energy credits and would reduce the kilowatt-hour price for net-metered power.

The pricing scheme could penalize net metering customers who want to retain the renewable energy credits, critics say. Businesses often wish to hang on to their renewable credits in order to claim they’re powered by solar energy, Kevin Jones, a Vermont Law School professor, has said.

The Vermont attorney general’s office last year issued a memo saying that energy consumers can’t claim to use renewable energy unless they’re in possession of the renewable energy credits. That means even a business owner who installs a full complement of solar panels on her roof can’t advertise her business as being solar-powered if she relinquishes her renewable energy credits to a utility.

The proposed rules also create categories of energy production, ranging from very small (fewer than 15 kilowatts) projects in which the utility keeps the renewable energy credits, to very large (150 kilowatts to 500 kilowatts) projects in which the developer or eventual owner keeps the renewable credits.

Customers in each of the five categories would get paid different amounts for net-metered power. The prices would be further modified by whether the owner or developer elects to hang on to the renewable energy credits.

Renewable-energy project owners who keep the renewable credits get reimbursed 6 cents less per kilowatt-hour than those who give the credits to utilities, under the proposed new rules.

Projects producing fewer than 15 kilowatts are defined in the new rules as Category I, and these facilities would bring an additional 3 cents per kilowatt-hour above the standard price known as the “blended residential rate.”

Projects producing between 15 kilowatts and 150 kilowatts on a preferred site would earn an additional penny above the standard rate. Projects putting out between 150 kilowatts and 500 kilowatts would get a blended residential rate.

Solar arrays generating between 15 kilowatts and 150 kilowatts located off a preferred site would earn 2 cents less than the standard rate, and those making 150 kilowatts to 500 kilowatts would earn 3 cents less.

The rules include a monthly fee for net-metering customers to cover the cost of maintaining poles and wires and other infrastructure.

The grid service fee would distribute infrastructure costs among net-metering and regular customers, according to Vermont Electric Cooperative spokeswoman Andrea Cohen.

“Our goal really is to create a net metering program that’s sustainable financially for both the co-op and for customers,” Cohen said.

The Public Service Board is taking public comment until May 12. The board will convene public meetings May 4 and 5.

After the public comment period ends, the board will make final revisions before submitting them to the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules for approval.

(The dates of the public meetings were corrected in this story on April 12 at 1 p.m.)

Mike Polhamus

Mike Polhamus writes about energy and the environment for VTDigger. He formerly covered Teton County and the state of Wyoming for the Jackson Hole News & Guide, in Jackson, Wyoming. Read more

Email: mpolhamus@vtdigger.org

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  • David G Schoales

    What an obvious betrayal of consumers by the PSB. Homeowners who consume solar power from their own solar systems rather than turning over their credits to the utility will have to pay a 6¢ per kWh penalty to keep and retire their credits in order to go “solar,” “renewable,” “clean,” or “green.” No other state penalizes a solar citizens like this.

  • Correction: the article states that, “The scheme … subsidizes projects that keep renewable energy credits in-state.” Actually, it gives added credit to net metering projects which assign ownership of all renewable energy credits (RECs) to the utility, while subtracting credit from those projects that fail to do so. It makes no distinction between projects that retain RECs permanently in Vermont in the customers’ hands vs. those that sell them out of state. The difference in credit between these two situations (giving RECs to the utility vs. not) is 6 cents per kWh, roughly a reduction in value of 33%.

    This is a serious flaw. Any business in Vermont that wishes to go solar — and have the legal ability to market itself as “solar powered” — must retain its claim on the RECs. If the RECs are given to the utility, the business cannot market itself explicitly or implicitly as solar/clean/green etc (with regard to its electricity). Doing so would qualify as “deceptive marketing” according to Federal Trade Commission regulations. On exactly these grounds, the Vermont Attorney General’s office has warned solar businesses that they will be fined $10,000 per infraction for marketing “community solar” improperly. (As far as I know, the AG has not enforced this, though I have personally observed blatant violations occurring after the AG issued its guidance.)

    A user of a net metering facility which has not retained its RECs has not gone solar (or wind or whatever). That person or business instead is worsening their carbon footprint from electricity compared to what they already get from the utility. Instead of taking responsibility for more low-carbon energy on the grid, they are taking responsibility for the grid’s “residual mix,” which is majority fossil-based with the rest coming from nuclear.

    In short, Vermont businesses will find it extremely difficult to go solar under the proposed regulations. If they actually want to have the word “solar” or “renewable energy” associated with their efforts, then under the proposed regulations they will have to give up a huge fraction of the financial value of net metering. That just won’t fly.

    The situation is the same for individuals who wish to go solar. If your desire to go solar involves anything other than pure financial advantage, then you will want to keep the RECs for yourself. But under the proposed rules, the finances of doing so fall flat.

    It would be entirely appropriate for the new rules to penalize the sale of RECs out of state, since doing so undermines Vermont’s legislated goals to shift to renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions. It makes no sense whatsoever to penalize people who keep RECs in state in their own hands, rather than in the hands of the utilities.

    Full disclosure: I work for Solaflect Energy, a solar business based in White River Junction and Norwich VT.

    • Randy Jorgensen

      “Full disclosure: I work for Solaflect Energy, a solar business based in White River Junction and Norwich VT.”

      Thank you for your candor. The reason I ask you this question is because of your geographic location in WRJ. What percentage of your residential solar installs are in Vermont compared to NH?

      Thank you.

      • Randy, I’d say we do roughly 3 residential installs in VT for each 1 in NH. This has been affected by the fact that most of NH has not had any new net metering allowed for approaching half a year, because utilities hit their legal caps and had to deny applications after that. A new law to lift the cap in NH by 50 MW has passed both houses as of a couple days ago and now waits for the governor’s signature. So we’ll see how things go after that.

        But even before the NH utilities hit their caps, we did noticeably more work in VT than NH. So there does seem to be some underlying difference in the markets.

        What makes solar attractive in VT?
        > The solar adder, which is eliminated under the PSB’s proposed rules, replaced with the two “adjustors” which provide somewhere between a little less and a whole lot less than the adder.
        > Highly simplified permitting. It is far easier to permit a residential scale solar array in VT than in NH.

        What makes solar attractive in NH?
        > A state rebate on residential and small-community scale solar of 50 cents per watt, up to $3,750.
        > For customers of New Hampshire Electric Co-op, a utility offer of 25 cents per watt, up to $1,250 (?). This is not a rebate — instead it is a purchase and sale: the utility in this case is purchasing the solar array’s lifetime RECs.

        Though the value of net metering is lower in NH compared to VT, the fact that a NH resident can get an up-front rebate worth up to $3,750 makes the long-term financial analysis turn out very similar. That is, if you project the rate of return represented by a residential solar investment in each state, you get pretty much the same result. So the financial aspect doesn’t explain the difference between the states, at least not more than partially. I’m not sure what explains the rest of the difference.

        • Randy Jorgensen

          Thank you for the information. Interesting, Stats.

          My brother who works for a private school in NH looked into installing a 250kw array and the bean counters couldn’t make the numbers work for anything under 20 years. (this was probably 5 years ago)

          I appreciate the feedback.

    • Willem post

      Jonathan,

      The above proves Montpelier’s energy rules and regulations are completely ridiculous, and the new rules would make it worse.

      In Germany, a solar system homeowner sells all of his production through one smart meter at about 13 eurocent/kWh, or less, the current feed in rate, and buys for all his own needs via another smart meter, the same way as before he had a solar system, and the same way as some one without a solar system. No fuss, no muss, no inequities. There are no silly RECs, and no other subsidies.

      RECs should be immediately abolished. They are an inane and expensive way to save the world.

      • Willem, there is an important difference between Germany and the US. Germany has a national policy to reduce fossil fuel use and carbon emissions. The US does not. So individual states have embarked on their own policies, and the REC system exists to make those function. It is far from ideal, on that I am eager to agree. But given that we live in a second-best world, the REC system can help reduce the cost of the transition to renewables (in the context of multiple, independent state policies). You are well known for your concern with electricity costs. Do you disagree that the REC system allows utilities to meet their legal mandates for renewables at relatively lower cost, savings that (should) pass through to customers? That’s not a rhetorical question. I am genuinely interested in your take on this.

        • Willem Post

          Jonathan,

          “Germany has a national policy to reduce fossil fuel use and carbon emissions.”

          That policy has not been effective, as domestic coal is used almost as much as before.

          As a result, Germany’s CO2 emissions have barely decreased in recent years, whereas the US has decreased them by reducing coal and increasing gas.

          RECs should be immediately abolished. They are an inane and expensive way to save the world.

          They will TEMPORARILY reduce GMP’s costs, because GMP sell the RECs to other states, which reduces GMP’s cost of purchased energy, which keeps rates lower than they would have been.

          There is much foolish crowing about more RE not raising rates. A fool’s paradise comes to mind.

          GMP has stated, if it could not sell RECs, rates would be about 6% higher.

  • Randy Jorgensen

    Are these new rules retroactive to already installed solar? Or are previously installed solar grandfathered into the higher rate and no service fee for maintaining the grid?

    • Arthur Hamlin

      As a net-metered customer already, it’s my understanding that we are grandfathered for 20 years at the same rates we agreed to when we invested in solar.

    • As currently drafted, the new rules provide 20 years of grandfathering to any system that has submitted its application for a Certificate of Public Good by 12/31/2016. The counting of the 20 year period begins, I think, with the commissioning of the system. The grandfathering means that the system will receive net metering under the terms that exist with the utility as of 12/31/2016. The main thing is that this preserves the solar adder (which lasts for 10 years from date of commissioning) for any such systems.

      Any system which undergoes a “major amendment” to its CPG on or after 1/1/2017 loses grandfathering. This includes increasing the system size by more than 5 percent. So anyone who is already net metering and is thinking of maybe expanding the system size, think strongly about doing so this year rather than a couple years down the road when doing so will cause you to lose your grandfathered net metering terms.

      Full disclosure: I work for Solaflect Energy, a solar business in White River Junction and Norwich, VT.

  • Moshe Braner

    Will these new rates apply to existing net-metering systems or only future new ones?

    “The rules include a monthly fee for net-metering customers to cover the cost of maintaining poles and wires and other infrastructure.”
    – that’s nothing new, the fee was always there, but paid for in excess energy sent to the grid, instead of cash. The question is: under the new rules, if a net-metering system generates more energy than the owner uses, what happens to the (monetary) credits for that energy? Does the owner need to use up the credits in subsequent power usage, or else lose those credits? Or is the owner payed cash? Is the owner barred from using that credit to pay that monthly fee? If the excess energy is not paid for in cash, then the “net metering” program is not really “net”, it is “zero plus” (or “monthly fee plus”). And it is a disincentive to conservation.

    “Under the new rules, net-metering customers who surrender renewable energy credits to the local utility (instead of selling the credits out of state) would get a bonus.”
    – so that the utility can then sell those RECs out of state? So it’s not about keeping those RECs in state (i.e., retiring them), after all, but rather it’s about the division of the money (from the out-of-state sale) between the utilities and the owners and the developers?

    • Randy Jorgensen

      Sorry typo:

      If the owner of those REC decides to sell them instead of retiring them will they be issued a 1099?

    • Moshe,

      1) 20 years of grandfathering for existing systems with existing net metering terms. See thread above.

      2) The monthly fee clause in the new (draft) rules is specifically a fee imposed only on net metering customers. It is in addition to the usual monthly customer charge.

      3) Under the draft rules, as under existing rules, net surplus energy generated in a billing period is converted to monetary value and applied to the bill as a whole. If the end result on the bill is that the customer has a negative balance, that carries forward to be applied to future bills. As under existing rules, credit created in a particular month must be used up within 12 months or else it expires. So if you created $20 of credit in June, you must use it up before the following June. If you separately create $15 of credit in July, that $15 credit is available until the following July. And so on.

      4) Under the draft rules, any RECs received by the utility from a net metering system must be retained and retired by the utility. So while there are problems with how RECs are being handled here, at least the incentive to give the RECs to the utility does not (directly) lead to these RECs being sold out of state.

      That said, there is the possibility of some fungibility in RECs. The utility has an overall mandate to hold and retire X number of RECs in a year. If they have gotten many RECs from net metering systems, and also many RECs from other sources, the fact that they have all the net metering RECs means they might be able to sell some of their other RECs out of state and still meet the mandate.

      • Moshe Braner

        I thought their plan was to sell the high-value (solar) RECs and replace them with low-value (hydro) RECs. Is that now being changed?

        If the VT utilities were required to purchase RECs and retire them (as other states do), then the proposed rules would make sense: the owner of the net-metering system has the option to sell them to the utility, or not. No sale, no money.

        The extra monthly fee is clearly a disincentive for small systems. And the confiscation of energy credits after a year is a disincentive for conservation. But if you are politically connected, you can set up a megawatt-scale net-metering facility that uses no power, and get paid cash, under the ruse that “that” power is used somewhere else (in a state building, say) and together they are a “group”. As if the “group” paperwork changes the physics of the electricity or the emissions. The whole thing is clearly about money, not saving the planet.

  • Annette Smith

    I guess these new rules are designed to incent people to go off grid. Works for me! Disconnect. No electric bill. Freedom.

    • Randy Jorgensen

      Then you don’t qualify for the state subsidies, which never made much sense to me.

      • Willem post

        Randy,

        Only whiners beg for subsidies.

        Annette did go solar, on her own, without subsidies.

        GMP, et al, had the rules written so that if you remain a customer, you get subsidies, but if, God forbid, you go off the grid, you get nothing.

        This is only fair………for GMP.

        Saving the world can get complicated.

        • Alfred Blakey

          I am a Net Metered customer. The point of the net meter rate is for the power you provide for the grid That power can take the form of your use or surplus to the grid.

          Off the grid does neither. You could be producing that power with a gas generator for that matter. That is where RECs come in. Since you are reducing demand and producing green energy I feel you should be being compensated for that side of the equation at least.

        • We don’t know if Annette received government support. The Federal 30% tax credit, which is far more valuable than Vermont’s solar adder, is available for off-grid systems as well as grid-connected, net metering systems. And since off-grid systems generally cost far more than net metering systems, and the Federal credit is based on cost, not on production (as is the Vermont solar adder program) that means the size of the government support is generally going to be a lot larger for the off-grid system. Not many people go off-grid, but on a per system basis, the subsidy to off-grid is likely to be larger, even though the environmental benefits are likely to be smaller.

          • Willem Post

            Jonathan,

            “off-grid systems generally cost far more than net metering systems”

            A 5 kW system, on or off the grid, will have about the same cost.

            As you say, both get the feds 30% cash gift.

            Does off the grid get a state gift as well?

            Off the grid, a battery system, at least $10,000, is required.

            There is no 30% cash gift from the feds for the battery system.

            Does the state have a cash gift?

    • Willem post

      Annette,

      We love you for it.

      You should be awarded the VT Freedom from Hassle Medal, for being off the grid at least 25 years, plus a statue in front of the Capitol Building.

  • The Vermont Law School Energy Clinic Fact Sheet on the proposed rule is available at:
    http://www.buildingenergyvt.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Rule5.100-Fact-Sheet-1.pdf

    • Moshe Braner

      Thank you. In that PDF it says:

      “The proposed REC adjuster will penalize solar customers who consume solar power from their own solar systems (the only way to “go solar”) rather than turning over their RECs to the utility. It will cost customers in total a 6¢ per kWh penalty to retain and retire their RECs …”

      – this is slanted way of putting it. Solar costs what it costs. If one retains the RECs then one can either retire them (and get the bragging rights to have “gone solar”), or sell them on the market (to a utility that is REQUIRED by their state – not VT – to buy some renewable energy), and thus recoup those 6 cents but no longer have those bragging rights. Sound fair to me.

      It then says:
      “These customers who reduce Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions will be treated the same as a customer who sells their RECs out of state for additional profit.”

      – nonsense, since those who sell their RECs, whether directly, or by “surrendering” them to the utility who will then sell them, will receive those 6 cents either way. But only those who retire the RECs actually reduce emissions, which does not come for free.

      • Moshe Braner

        This has been gone over here many times. If you put up solar panels on your roof, is it a net reduction of fossil fueled power to the planet as a whole? Not if you sell the RECs to a utility that is required to buy them (in states that have an RPS), because if you didn’t sell them those RECs they would have to make it up from elsewhere, e.g., set up their own solar panels.

        And not if the renewable power is used in addition to, rather than instead of, the fossil power. If you are required to use the excess power or lose the monetary credits, then you end up using more than you would have. The real reason the utilities are OK with solar net metering is because they have to meet high demand on summer afternoons due to people over-using air conditioning, and that peak power is expensive, even more so than what’s paid to net metering customers. If it wasn’t for those air conditioners, there would be no-where for all that solar power to go. And the fossil fuels are saved only temporarily. When those net metering customers use electric heat on a winter night (to use up the credits), that power is not coming from solar panels.

  • Scott Woodward

    In addition to the major points of the new rules others have identified, it’s also important to note that: (1) turning over RECs to the utility is permanent and irrevocable; it can never be undone, and (2) there is an implied consent provision in the rule that involuntarily turns over RECs to the utilities even if, for whatever reason, the property owner fails to make a choice.

    In my opinion, section 5.105(B)(1) goes further than what is necessary for the PSB to accomplish what the legislature instructed it to do in 30 V.S.A. sec. 8010(H) and it’s not at all clear that the legislature intended to allow the PSB to exercise the eminent domain power over RECs. There is no reason for the PSB to have a provision that transfers RECs to the utility because it is not a condition of receiving a Certificate of Public Good and the property owner and utility can enter into a voluntary agreement outside of the context of the CPG process.

    Furthermore, the draft rule does not stop transfers from property owners to the utility when the utility accumulates enough RECs to meet the Tier II requirements. This undoubtedly means the utilities will sell surplus RECs out of state.

  • We are in a climate emergency that demands an emphatic response. Any rules designed to make an already robust regulatory system more difficult for the adoption of renewable energy will slow that response and degrade the health of a planet that we will be leaving to our children and grandchildren. This isn’t about us it is about them. We should ask our children how they feel about the way we have been treating the planet. We are borrowing the future from them.

    • Annette Smith

      Building lots of solar is not necessarily responding to climate change if it’s cutting forests or degrading wetlands. The regulatory system is not robust, it is constipated and backlogged. And unfortunately it is about an industry that is bullying and refusing to respect our communities or protect our environment in a system where the wealthy benefit. We could work together to meet our renewable energy needs and goals. That’s not what the industry wants.

      • Tom Grout

        These steps are in the right direction. Yet as many have complained in these energy forums there are these certain sensitive named groups that have to throw their cheap shot into the mix. Nothing satisfies these individuals except their own utopia.

    • Nils, the children card, eh? That`s my favorite tactic too.

    • Jamie Carter

      Nils,

      Do you really think that if we line the mountains of Vermont with wind towers, cover the pastures with solar fields, and put a methane digester in every corn field that we will make a meaningful difference?

      I also have a question for you, if the earth in times past had a higher CO2 level and a higher temperature previously, how did the end of the world not come about already? How “fixed” that emergency?

      • It did come about already. A number of times in fact. Extinctions have occurred with climate change and will continue to do so. Our contribution of CO2 over the last 100 – 150 years has simply escalated the event this time.

        • Clyde Cook

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think one or two of those extinction events were caused things like an asteroid hitting the earth, some volcanoes blowing their tops in a massive fashion, happenings that had nothing to do with any earthly beings causing a change in the climate. I think we should calm down, yes, work to be a little more respectful of the planet as whole.

          • Alfred Blakey

            You do not need correction. Climate change is the result of factors just as you have described. That does not change the reality that humans, like no other species on this planet, have had a direct impact on climate change as well as the natural processes.

  • Steve Merrill

    Well–Once again “Youth & optimism is NO match for old age (thinking) & Treachery”..Who cares about the REC’s? And if a “utility” is truly “public” then why don’t they upgrade streetlights to LED’s at THEIR (our) cost? Why don’t they ever replace aging transformers that “white-out” AM radio? Seriously, drive around w/your AM radio tuned as low as it’ll go and you will HEAR these wheezing old units along with all kinds of “shorts” and EMR/RFR. I never thought I’d see the day when folks oppose solar panels and call themselves “environmentalists”. Our country has NO problem spending BILLIONS on “defense” and wars in every corner of the Empire, uh, planet, but we still can’t shake fossil fuels? All while we STILL get “deposited” w/mercury & cadmium in levels SO high that Vt. F&W issued a “do not consume” warning (Nov.2008) for deer livers & kidneys, a warning that has NOT been rescinded? Same w/fish consumption warnings at ALL boat landings? What will it take? And if it’s in the deer livers & kidneys what, exactly, stops it from accumulating in ALL forage eating animals like COWS? Are we insane? No testing = No problems! If we can’t see it then it can’t hurt us! Don’t ask, don’t tell..SM, N.Troy.

    • They are upgrading streetlights to LED’s all over the state, with GMP now facilitating the process and Efficiency Vermont subsidizing it. Brattleboro is saving ~$80,000 a year because of this transition to LED streetlights.

  • Whenever rules are this complicated and impossible for someone of average intelligence to begin to understand, I know the fix is in. Mike, could you follow this up with a piece that actually conveys what is going on?

  • A piece of my comments already sent to the PSB:


    Put Public Service back into the Net Metering revisions of Rule 5.100. Enhance the rules to
    benefit the home owner, the farmer, the towns and cities of Vermont by including an adder
    payment for RECs, The Public will benefit! Increase the PPA amount for Net Metering for the people to make it even easier to support the move to green energy. Add a solar adder payment solely for those people who maintain ownership of the RECs their projects have. Void the concept that you can sell these RECs at any price. Do not establish yet another welfare package by providing more money and profits for business and utilities at the expense of the people of Vermont who desire to make a difference one-by-one.

  • The article states: Currently, net-metered customers get paid 19 cents per kilowatt-hour for whatever they produce in excess of what they use. The wholesale market rate for power purchased by utilities runs as low as 6 cents per kilowatt hour.

    I am a Net Metered customer. I get paid $0.06 per kWh for all net metered power my system produces. Six Cents. I save $0.15 for the power I produce and use since I don’t have to buy it. a total of $0.21 on ALL power produced.

    The approximately 17 mega watt hours my PV solar has produced since it was installed in July 2010 has returned $1,016.94 from GMP in PPA Net Metered payments. Subtracted in monthly earned amounts from my bill. I have carried an excess balance forward twice so far.

    The PV solar from peak production / demand time for utility companies purchased at $0.06 from Net Metered PV solar producers replaces on high demand power which sells for far more then the $0.06 cents stated (that price is contract negotiated base load supply power levels), not high demand time excess required power.

    Understand the FACTS.

    As has been said elsewhere before you are entitled to your own opinion, you are not entitled to your own facts.

    • Willem Post

      Alfred,

      Here is a way to get more facts:

      I suggest you goggle the ISO-NE site for on-peak wholesale rates for 2015.

      You will see a graph showing that rate RARELY exceeds 6 c/kWh during a year.

      GMP is doing you a favor by buying significantly above that rate.

      The off-peak wholesale rate rarely exceeds 4 c/kWh.

      This leads to an annual average rate of about 5 c/kWh, which has been nearly unchanged during the past 5 years, due to the blessings of low-cost natural gas, 50%, and low-cost nuclear, 25%.

      • Alfred Blakey

        Willem,

        First let me say I am always leery when someone attempts to provide me with their source of facts. That said, I took your offer and did Google the ISO-NE site for on-peak wholesale rates for 2015.

        I went through the search results and did not find “a graph showing that rate RARELY exceeds 6 c/kWh during a year.” you promised. What I did bump into along the way was a table in an ISO New England press release dated March 29, 2016.

        The table had average wholesale electricity prices for 2003 through 2015 with the caveat that 2015 figures are preliminary.

        2015 $0.04100 per kwh.

        It also showed 2014 $0.06332 per kwh and 2013 $0.5606 per kWh which is $0.05346 average over the last three years. All three years exceed your stated 4 c/kWh figure, as does the average over the last five years, it was $0.4861.

        GMP’s PPA for Net Metering is and has been a fixed $0.06 per kWh for at least the last five and a half years for me. That rate is different for new installs now. That is what I have been getting paid. That is a distinct advantage when determining cost estimates for doing business. GMP has in fact lowered the price per kWh for their customers at least twice since I have been in the Net Metering program. I am not sure how you get ‘significantly above’ out of $0.06 per kWh vs the $0.05346 average over the last three years, however. It has not affected their bottom line negatively or they wouldn’t be dropping prices.

        As a note the average wholesale electricity prices from that same table for 2005 – 2008 was $0.0709. Fracking kicked in seriously about seven years ago, although it has been around for 100 years, and prices started down.

        It should be pointed out ISO NE bases its average wholesale electricity price primarily on the price of natural gas since it represents about 49% of the available sources used for power production. It should also be pointed out that natural gas is at a price comparable with 2009 but not as low as 2012.

        The price of natural gas leaves fracking out of the equation for its environmental consequences. I do not consider fracking a blessing. PV solar with net metering does not have that kind of baggage attached. The world does not need that kind of baggage either no matter what price per kWh it provides.

        Low-cost nuclear’s 25% you claim, ignores the disaster Fukushima is still dumping on us. There is nothing low-cost about nuclear. Ask the people on the West coast of the US and Canada. Ask the people of Japan. That world altering disaster is still going strong after five years with no end in sight. There is nothing green about nuclear. Radiation manifests itself as black. But I digress.

        I placed a request for information with GMP and received the following:
        Peak demand energy purchase cost to GMP can range from $0.07 to $0.20 per kWh. It can also come in much lower. One number cannot be used to define it.

        For what it is worth. These comments are opinion. You are entitled to yours as I am to mine.

        For me the issue at hand is the PSB’s direction to “give it all” to businesses and utilities while the home owner, the farmer, the people of the towns and cities of Vermont once again get to pay the excessive profit margins for the stock holders to enjoy with no consideration for the environment.

        • Alfred Blakey

          Typos will get you every time!

          2013 $0.5606 should read $0.05606 and $0.4861 should read $0.04861.

        • Willem Post

          Alfred,

          Thank you for your comment.

          http://www.iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2015/02/2015_reo.pdf

          Here is a graph of wholesale prices on page 17.

          It shows WHOLESALE prices varied from 2 c/kWh to 5 c/kWh since 2009, with two spikes, that went as high as 14 c/kWh in the winter of 2014.

          Any ENERGY GMP would buy at wholesale would be at these prices.

          There may be other charges not related to energy.

          If GMP pays you 19 c/kWh for your solar production, the extra cost to GMP difference is about 19 – 5 = 14 c/kWh.

          That difference is added to the base for determining electric rates.

          • Alfred Blakey

            Willem,

            GMP pays me $0.06 per kWh. That is all. The difference is the fact that the power I produced offsets the power I use and therefore do not have to buy from GMP. If I produced that same kWh using a gas generator I still would not have to pay GMP for the kWh I used since it did not come from them. Because it was produced with PV solar I do get $0.06 for it.

            Since my PV solar array went online. GMP has paid me $1,021.02 for 17 megawatts of power. Also I have saved $2,527.36 on my power bill. Saving money off my power bill is not the same as being paid that amount of money. I could reduce power consumption and accomplish the same thing. We did just that for three years prior to installing the array. 17% less for three years by just not using as much. That 17% represented $612 in savings but no one paid me that money.

          • Willem,

            They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words.

            https://goo.gl/photos/X4kdTeobCEmAR6EdA

            I produced this graph from my GMP smart meters for yesterdays values.

            TotalUsed is what we consumed yesterday. PVSolar Prod is the total power produced by the PV array on my house. NetMeter Rtnd was that power produced and not used by me at the time it was produced so it was sent to the grid. PVSolar Use is the portion of power we produced and used immediately. GMP use is the power we drew from the grid.

            Overall The PV Array produced 1 kWh more then the total consumption for the day.

            GMP paid me about $1.00 for the PVSolar Prod. I saved about $0.90 for the PVSolar Use power I did not have to buy.

            Yesterday was a good day for PV power production. The average PVSolar Prod day here in Vermont at my house location is 8.10 kWh.

          • Willem,

            Page 17(19 / 56) Retail Price Increases.

            Interesting how you chose the low point, $0.02, in 2009 for your rationale when the chart starts with 2005 at $0.06 and shows spikes routinely through the ten year period of $0.02 to $0.03. Even with the high of $0.145 for natural gas in 2014 the spike was only $0.02 for the real time energy price of $0.162. This, from your own source for details.

            As I stated before GMP told me ‘Peak demand energy purchase cost to GMP can range from $0.07 to $0.20 per kWh. It can also come in much lower. One number cannot be used to define it.’

            From $0.07 to $0.20 makes $0.06 PV Solar a bargain or at the very lease competitive.

  • Alfred Blakey

    Distributed PV solar is an example that has been put down by the industry since 2014. In 2014 the industry’s main trade group, Edison Electric Institute, called the growth of small-scale solar systems the “largest near-term threat” to the industry. It has proven to have the potential to change the market and confirm their belief

    2016 and the PSB is caving into the power production and distribution lobby.

    The result, re-write the rules for distributed power producers and cut them out of the profit paradigm. Further more force them to pay for the privilege to produce power which cuts into the industry’s monopoly.

    The changes proposed by the PSB are a slap in the face for Vermonters trying to build a better world for the generations to come not grab profit at the expense of others.

  • Alfred Blakey

    “The following map shows the changes, attributable to more accurate roof surveys. The percentage represents the additional portion of electricity sales that could be met with rooftop solar electricity. 13 states saw an increase of at least 20%, a further 16 saw an increase of 10 to 20%. Estimates for just 4 states fell or remained the same.”

    Read the article for yourself.

    http://cleantechnica.com/2016/04/11/sharply-higher-rooftop-solar-potential-increases-potential-energy-self-reliance/

    Vermont topped the list at 42%

    • Willem Post

      Alfred,

      NREL determined Vermont has the worst solar conditions.

      Vermont meeting 42% of its electrical energy from solar would mean:

      1) Capacity: 0.42 x 6 billion kWh/(0.12 x 8760) = 2.4 million kW of panels.

      A 250 W panel is about 2.5 x 5 = 12.5 sq ft, to 50 sq ft per kW of panels

      2.4 million x 50 = 120 million sq ft of panels.

      A homeowner roof can take about 5 kW of panels, or 250 sq ft.

      Vermont has a total of about 150,000 free-standing houses.

      150,000 x 250 = 37,5 million sq ft

      However, at most 20% have south-facing roofs that are large enough.

      That means only 37.5 x 0.2 = 7.5 million sq ft can be put on homeowner roofs.

      That is way less than the 120 million required, which would have to go on all other roofs.

      2) Capital cost: 2400 MW x $3.7 million/MW = $8.88 billion.

      That would provide only a part of day-time power.

      Solar would provide nothing for about 65% of the hours of the year.

      Compare that with Vermont Yankee which used to provide 620 MW of near-CO2-free energy ALL hours of the year, for 500 days in a row, refuel, and do it again, all at about 5 c/kWh.

      • Alfred Blakey

        Willem,

        I provided the URL. Did you read the article? I don’t think so.

        I will translate it for you.

        There is much – MORE – potential to generate electricity from solar on nearby buildings than was reported in the 2008 study. 42% more for Vermont.

        The percentage represents the additional portion of electricity sales that could be met with rooftop solar electricity.

        The bottom line: there is much more potential to generate our electricity from distributed solar on nearby buildings than we previously thought.

        NOTHING is said about producing 42% of Vermont’s power solely from roof top distributed production. Your calculations, while they may be accurate, have no meaning on the subject of the article.

        In simple terms. 42% more than was thought possible. NOT 42% of needed power.

      • Alfred Blakey

        Willem,

        Vermont topped the list at 42% was meant to point out that Vermont was the most underrated for it’s distributed roof top potential and now is recognized more on par with other states.

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