After reading the RAP's paper and discussions with thought leaders in the energy industry, I now think that demands for reforming net-metering policies are premature and those who have already done so, like Wisconsin, are likely a mistake. The total value of DER and net metering policies across all stakeholders, now and into the near future, requires a deeper and broader discussion. It is incorrect to say that net metering is a cross-subsidy from wealthy homeowners to middle and lower classes because costs and benefits change based on time, location, technology, policy and other factors.
It would be hard to imagine what life would be like without electricity -- unless you never had it. Unfortunately, roughly 1.3 billion people in different parts of the world do not. German organization Mobile Hydro has found what it says is a practical solution involving what might be called micro-hydropower to at least some of those regions.
Marine energy, particularly wave energy, has been a frustrating dream for the people who are convinced it could provide a wealth of clean, sustainable power that would be less expensive than coal, natural gas and wind power. While research has shown that belief is true, there are a number of reasons -- and examples -- for why wave energy has yet to emerge from the very earliest stages of development.
Florida Power & Light (FPL) has big plans to step up its clean energy program by tripling its solar capacity by adding 225 megawatts to the 110 megawatts it has now, and do it by the end of 2016.
Jamaica, a country rich in renewable energy resources but paying high prices for imported fossil fuels for power, is getting some help to transform its energy sector into one that is sustainable and much less expensive. That help is coming from a U.S. group committed to organizing renewable energy financing, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Canada.
Following in the footsteps of several mainland utilities, the Hawaiian Electric Company (HEI) has asked state regulators to eliminate the state's net energy metering program. If authorized, the change would affect only new utility customers who install their own solar power systems.
India has long been anxious to upgrade its electric grid and energy infrastructure, but change has been slow in coming -- in large part because the money and outside investment have not kept pace with the government's ambitions. That could change for the better as a result of President Obama's pledge to offer financial support.
West Virginia is thought of as a coal state, and it should be. It is a heavy coal producer and coal-fired generation plants provide about 95 percent of the state's net energy generation. Renewable energy is growing in West Virginia, but the most recent vote in the state legislature this week seems to assure that growth will have a rough time of it.
Hawaii has plunged into solar power in the past few years, although the path has not always been a smooth one. The attraction is easy to understand. In addition to its fabled abundance of sun, roughly 75 percent of the state's power generation comes from very expensive imported oil. The island of Kauai is a perfect example of both the attraction solar has and the hurdles it can present.
While not all European countries have aggressively sought to bring renewable energy into their electric systems, many have. While the reasons behind such a shift are laudable -- sustainable, secure energy with minimal environmental impact -- a major concern that cropped up a few years ago was and remains hard to ignore. Some European countries have added so much renewable power that it has threatened grid stability by overloading the network.