Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Obama No Brainer: A National Net Metering Law

The new Obama administration has a lot on its plate, but here's one item, on the energy front, that's a no-brainer: a national net-metering law.

Net-metering laws require electric utiltities to allow individual homeowners and businesses to tie their own electric generation systems (usually solar or wind) into the existing grid and credit them for the electricity they generate.

Most states--more than 40--now have net-metering laws, but the particulars of them vary considerably, and a few backwards states still don't have any net-metering provisions.

What we need is a national net-metering law based on the most progressive state laws, which have been most successful in encouraging additional investment by individuals and businesses into clean electricity generation.

A progressive net-metering law would include provisions that:

--Prohibit a utility from imposing expensive, unnecessary or punitive conditions on interconnection,

--Standardize forms for applying for interconnection

--Allow power generators to be compensated if they generate more electricity than they use (some states only allow a credit up to the amount used)

--Require, under certain circumstances, premium payments to generators who help a utility meet "green-power" benchmarks and/or when the generator is offsetting peak power loads

By encouraging individuals to invest in alternative energy, especially wind and solar, net metering laws increase our national ability to reduce greenhouse emissions and reduce our reliance on imported oil and natural gas.

In addition, net metering helps utilities offset the demand for new transmission lines by adding distributed on-site electricity generation in the middle of high demand areas. Utilities are planning to invest billions of dollars in new transmission lines, when instead that money could be invested in alternative energy generation (primarily solar) in the middle of dense urban areas. By generating additional electricity in the middle of the grid, utilities can forego wasteful construction of long transmission lines to new, remotely sited, central power plants.

For more information on net metering and variations in state policies, go to the Department of Energy's net metering information page, HERE.


Anonymous said...

Its about damn time!!

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