Clean Power

Published on April 26th, 2014 | by Roy L Hales

35

Oklahoma Law Allows Utilities To Apply For Higher Rooftop Solar Rates

April 26th, 2014 by  



Originally published on the ECOreport.

The new Oklahoma History Center is incredible. It is a beautiful building, with really great exhibits. I especially liked this view of the state capitol with the state seal.- Matt Howry from Ardmore OK, cc by 2.0, en wikipedia

The new Oklahoma History Center is incredible. It is a beautiful building, with really great exhibits. I especially liked this view of the state capitol with the state seal.
Image Credit: Matt Howry from Ardmore, OK, CC BY 2.0 license

The Governor of Oklahoma has just signed a bill making it possible for utilities to apply to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission so that rooftop solar owners can be billed at a higher base rate than regular customers. The justification is familiar, many utilities feel that solar customers should pay something extra for the privilege of using the grid. The difference, in Oklahoma, is that Oklahoma Gas & Electric does not know how much extra it wants. But they do believe they should get something.

“Our existing rates don’t recognize new technology like solar and distributed generation,” OG&E spokesperson Kathleen O’Shea said. “They’re kind of based on old, historic models.”

She does not believe that many rooftop solar customers want to sever their connection to the grid and OG&E wants to keep them as customers.

“We just want to make sure they’re paying their fair amount of that maintenance cost.”

Senator Mike Turner (R – Edmond) brought forward bill 1456 on their behalf.

He was opposed by solar advocates, the Oklahoma chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Arizona solar group TUSK.

Tulsa River Parks Fountain at Night – Brandon Dewey, released into public domain

Tulsa River Parks Fountain at Night
Image Credit: Brandon Dewey, released into public domain

“Oklahoma is an oil, gas and coal state,” Tusk’s Chairman Barry Goldwater Jr. wrote to the people people of Oklahoma. “That isn’t likely to change anytime soon. Allowing private enterprise and the rooftop solar industry to thrive will give energy customers in Oklahoma a choice as to how they get their electricity. If you slap heavy taxes on it, you are allowing the heavy hand of government to stop competition in favor of long-held monopolies.”

On April 14, the senate passed SB 1456 by an 83 to 5 vote, with 13 “other” votes.

Governor Mary Fallin signed the Executive Order that made it law yesterday. When she did this, Governor Fallin took the unusual step of directing how it is to be applied.

Fallin wrote that “all executive entities shall support all forms of energy, including both traditional fossil fuels and renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, as outlined and mandated by the Oklahoma First Energy Plan. This plan promotes wind and solar power as important forms of clean energy which have a significant place in Oklahoma power generation.”

Governor Mary Fallin

Governor Mary Fallin

SB 1456 “does not mandate tariffs or other increases for distributed generation customers” and “prior to implementation of any fixed charges, this Bill allows the Commission to consider the use of all available alternatives, including other rate reforms such as increased use of time-of-use rates, minimum bills and demand charges.”

It was that Executive Order that drew praise from The Alliance for Solar Choice.

Oklahoma Gas & Electric has 1.3 million customers, who pay some of the lowest rates in the US: 8.33 cents per kilowatt hour. 500 of these have solar panels.

Did the utilities “win” in Oklahoma?

This was probably the only state in which utilities could not apply to have solar owners billed differently. That has changed, so now they are on par with the rest of America. It remains to be seen what further changes, if any, this will lead to.





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About the Author

is the President of Cortes Community Radio , CKTZ 89.5 FM, where he has hosted a half hour program since 2014, and editor of the the ECOreport, a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of North America. He writes for both writes for both Clean Technica and PlanetSave on Important Media. He is a research junkie who has written over 1,600 since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.



  • LookingForward

    In Arizona you pay $5 a month as a solar user, all they have to do is find a storage system that’s cheaper then that and they are in the clear.
    less then $600 10 year garantued use/$1200 20 year garantued use is not to futuristic.

    • neroden

      Smaller houses with better insulation and more efficient lighting will need smaller batteries… which means that beating that fixed cost will happen quicker for smaller houses.

  • In CT, I pay $16 a month to be tethered and have the grid maintained. I’m not sure why anyone should pay a different price just because they use less, have solar etc… why would I pay a different price than my non-solar neighbor?

    MrEnergyCzar

    • Frozen

      It depends how much of the grid’s operating cost is rolled into your per-kWh rates.  $16 a month may not cover the full amount.

      • Otis11

        I think the point is they shouldn’t roll them together. They should have a fixed cost of what it actually costs to be connected to the grid, a cost per KWh, and maybe even a peak cost as rate of power draw can affect what upgrades they have to make to the network. I’m also highly in favor of time-of-use pricing… but no matter what, it shouldn’t matter if you have solar or not. That should not affect your bill any more than reducing consumption does.

  • Mahdi

    I think, that grid fees should be payed by peak power capacity (kW) not by overall consumption (kWh). This would be much more relevant to grid costs. The side effect would be that battery storage would pay for itself (at least partially) by peakshaving. F.e. my peak consuption is up to 10kW a battery storage would reduce it to about 1-1.5 kW.

    • Good point/suggestion. Wonder if that has ever come up as a genuinely potential idea.

  • Phil McCracken

    Utilities will only increase their resistance to distributed solar energy as more people want it and politicians can easily be paid to change current laws to favor utilities.
    So allow building owners to lease their suitable rooftops to install solar panels. Homeowners get a property tax reduction paid for by selling the clean energy at market rates. Millions of acres of rooftops around the nation can provide most of our energy needs and coal plants can be shut down.
    Going off the grid might be enjoyable to ponder but our planet’s climate is in very dire straits and we need to get off carbon whatever it takes and as fast as possible.
    Get utilities to want to install renewable energy rather than fighting it and it doesn’t have to cost consumers much more while saving the entire planet from mass extinction.

    • Bob_Wallace

      It would be interesting to see how someone very well versed in utility financials might design a program in which a utility could partner with customers who are interested in installing solar.

      Let the customers provide the capital for the system, the real estate, maintenance and security. The long term (low probability) risk that something cheaper than solar will appear.

      The utility would basically buy wholesale, at a fair price, and retail out to non-solar customers.

      • Otis11

        “The long term (low probability) risk that something cheaper than solar will appear.”

        I disagree – I think there’s a very high probability that we will see technologies cheaper than today’s solar. I like to call it, tomorrow’s solar. =-P

        • Frozen

          You’ll need more than tomorrow’s solar.  You’ll need tomorrow’s storage too, and the cost of even a day’s worth of storage will floor you.  One day of storage for the US grid using Ambri’s projected cost of $160/kWh would set you back a whopping 1.7 TRILLION dollars.

          In the winters where I am, people without power wind up Frozen.  It’s not fun.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Why would there be a need for a full day of storage for the entire US?

          • Otis11

            Simple – because you want to make renewables look impractical.

            Though the $1.7 Trillion is actually much more manageable than I would have guessed. As an extreme overestimate coming in at only 2.5x more than the 2009 stimulus package, it actually seems like a good idea. If done right, it would create a heck of a lot of jobs, create a world leading energy infrastructure just waiting for an explosion in renewable, and spread over 15-20 years it would probably cost less than the economic externalities for the FFs it would help replace… in real time. (Long term it will cost less regardless of the rate of adoption)

            Edit – That’s actually the exact cost of the War in Iraq (as estimated by Watson Institute of International Studies)…

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m seeing $9 trillion as the likely cost of our three oil wars.

            Our annual military budget was $684 billion in 2011 and that did not include –

            “This does not include many military-related items that are outside of the Defense Department budget, such as nuclear weapons research, maintenance, cleanup, and production, which is in the Department of Energy budget, Veterans Affairs, the Treasury Department’s payments in pensions to military retirees and widows and their families, interest on debt incurred in past wars, or State Department financing of foreign arms sales and militarily-related development assistance. Neither does it include defense spending that is not military in nature, such as theDepartment of Homeland Security, counter-terrorism spending by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and intelligence-gathering spending by NASA.”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States

            So for less than 2 years of military spending….

          • Otis11

            Well… to be fair we would probably incur many of those expenses even if we didn’t go to war… Research isn’t going to stop, the retiree benefits aren’t going to stop (though they would be lower if there were fewer death/injuries), we still have debt to pay off (transferring money from one use to another doesn’t change the fact that it’s still not paying down our debt), we still would have had counter-terrorism spending, etc…

          • Bob_Wallace

            Counter-terrorism spending followed the first oil war.

            It’s an oil related expense.

          • Otis11

            That very well may be true… if we never got involved we may not have had any issues… however it’s far enough removed that I’m unwilling to say definitively that it’s a direct cause. Likely cause? Yes. Direct enough that I’ll stake my reputation on the link? No.

            Anyway, the point of the matter is, even in the most outlandish case for renewable energy, it actually seemed rather do-able… (If we stopped spending so much on research and just started implementing we could do it).

          • Bob_Wallace

            9/11 was all about the US having troops stationed in Saudi Arabia. They were there because of the Kuwait war.

            Israel and some other stuff were secondary causes.

          • Frozen

            because you want to make renewables look impractical.

            Sometimes things look a certain way because they ARE.  You find out if the looks are realistic or deceptive by doing the numbers.  I don’t see you doing any of that.

          • Otis11

            I like to think of myself as a fairly practical guy – I’m a Texas with strong ties to FF companies and their staff, and I’ve had the privilege of talking to some top brass about their (FF) company’s plans moving forward. It’s some really interesting stuff. I actually asked to write an article about it, but they were unwilling to go on record, and simply saying “here are some unsupported numbers by an anonymous FF company” wouldn’t carry much weight at all… but moving on…

            @Bob_Wallace has so graciously run the numbers many times… (I really should copy that so I have it on hand). Essentially, we don’t need any appreciable amount of storage until we get significantly more renewable penetration. We can simply reduce the use of FF plants already running (especially since distributed wind farms are so predictable we can estimate production 2-3 days in advance). There are no numbers to give on this part – I’d say we can look at Germany as an example, but I know that you’ll argue Germany is an abject failure and I really don’t want to spend the time arguing that.

            So, with that I’ll turn to hard data – and as this is about solar, I’m going to use rooftop solar numbers. As I’m from Texas, (Austin), I’m also going to use Austin Electric’s Value of Solar – which I think is more than fair considering we have some of the cheapest electricity in the nation (6.8-8.48 c/KWh depending on your tier). Yet an arguably biased analysis (biased against solar – see this: http://cleantechnica.com/2013/02/21/the-value-of-solar-could-be-worth-much-more-than-austin-energy-pays/) still found that solar power was worth 12.4 c/KWh… that’s 50% more than the average going retail rate on the same grid. Now, as of January of 2014, they dropped that to 10.7 c/KWh, but that’s still substantially above the current going rate of power on the same grid (and again, arguably lower than it should be)

            Sure we can argue all day about going 100% renewable: we can argue about the biases of those studies all day long, what wrong assumptions they made, etc, etc… so for right now all I am going to state is that it is currently economically and environmentally beneficial to introduce more renewables to our grid. Do you disagree with that?

          • Frozen

            Why would you need a full day of storage for the entire US?

            First, you are proposing to run the whole nation on RE, and people who have been selling RE for decades recommend TWO days as their default assumption.

            Second, 2 days is a long way from the worst that can happen.  Near the Canadian border you can have weeks without direct sun.  In January, the Bonneville Power Administration had two entire weeks with negligible power from wind.  Out of more than 4500 MW of nameplate generation, BPA’s wind generation literally did not break above 300 megawatts between 1/15/2014 15:10 and 1/29/2014 09:05.  That is a 2-week vacation.

            This page calls for solar users to use THE GRID as storage (it’s not), because batteries are expensive and wasteful:

            aprs dot org/off-grid-maybe.html

            What do they do when there is no conventional grid any more?

            Here you are, expecting to replace the existing grid with the equivalent of an enormous off-grid system, and not understanding the first thing about what an off-grid system requires.  Do you expect engineers to wave their magic engineering wands and convert your wish-list to reality?  The Germans are waking up to the fact that all the rosy projections were wrong; Sigmar Gabriel’s speech declaring that the Energiewende is near collapse should have been on your radar a week ago.

            In practice, the “energy transition” means destroying centuries-old villages in order to strip-mine more lignite.  Far from eliminating carbon emissions, the program written by the Greens has led to an increase.  The “renewable” energy actually means fossil dependence without end.

            You have information now.  You are now without any excuses.

          • A Real Libertarian

            First, you are proposing to run the whole nation on RE, and people who have been selling RE for decades recommend TWO days as their default assumption.

            For Off-Grid:
            http://www.altestore.com/store/calculators/off_grid_calculator/

            Second, 2 days is a long way from the worst that can happen. Near the Canadian border you can have weeks without direct sun. In January, the Bonneville Power Administration had two entire weeks with negligible power from wind. Out of more than 4500 MW of nameplate generation, BPA’s wind generation literally did not break above 300 megawatts between 1/15/2014 15:10 and 1/29/2014 09:05. That is a 2-week vacation.

            The benefit of the grid is that you can transmit electricity from someplace else (like the obscure place called “not the Pacific North-West”).

            Here you are, expecting to replace the existing grid with the equivalent of an enormous off-grid system, and not understanding the first thing about what an off-grid system requires.

            Oh, Bob is gonna bitch-slap you good for that.

            P.S. The reason it’s called “off-grid”? It’s because there’s no grid. Not because there’s a more expansive grid.

            The Germans are waking up to the fact that all the rosy projections were wrong; Sigmar Gabriel’s speech declaring that the Energiewende is near collapse should have been on your radar a week ago.

            In practice, the “energy transition” means destroying centuries-old villages in order to strip-mine more lignite. Far from eliminating carbon emissions, the program written by the Greens has led to an increase. The “renewable” energy actually means fossil dependence without end.

            Blah, blah, blah, I say it, therefore it’s true.

            Hint, NO:

            http://energytransition.de/2014/04/energy-transition-german-economy-never-healthier/

            You have information now. You are now without any excuses.

            Well, except for the “excuse” of all you claims being

          • Frozen

            For Off-Grid:

            But you want the grid transformed to run ONLY on RE plus storage; that is exactly what off-grid means, you’d just make it millions of times bigger.  You hope and expect all the fossil-fired generators to go away.  That is even harder than what most off-grid people do; most maintain backup generators.

            You are assuming that the grid is a magic thing which will solve your intermittency problem, a wand you can wave to make RE work just like fossil.  The truth is something completely different.  The grid runs on delicate balancing of instantaneous generation to instantaneous demand, and the lines for inter-regional power flows are orders of magnitude too small to carry what you implicitly expect them to.

            The benefit of the grid is that you can transmit electricity from someplace else (like the obscure place called “not the Pacific North-West”).

            Like where, California?  California is largely fed by the BPA, not the reverse.  Between the Pacific DC Intertie (3.1 GW) and Path 15 (5400 MW) there’s less than 10 GW of transmission capacity from south to north, and you’re assuming that California would have sufficient wind, wave or whatever (solar being down at night) to keep BPA going.  BPA’s pulling down about 6 GW right now; it was around 8 GW during the January period when the wind took off.

            http://transmission.bpa.gov/business/operations/wind/baltwg.aspx

            P.S. The reason it’s called “off-grid”? It’s because there’s no grid. Not because there’s a more expansive grid.

            You’re asserting that you can completely change the characteristics of the generation on the grid, including eliminating all base-load and most dispatchable generation and the energy reserves they run on, and have no difference in its operation.  That is insane.  The grid will take on most of the characteristics of the generation that you apply to it.  There’s no other option.

            If you think pictures substitute for data, it says a lot about you.  I’d like to see you subsist on this all-RE grid and either show us that it works or have to admit that you’re wrong, but unfortunately you’re either going to force the rest of us to suffer the consequences of your errors or never get there in the first place.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “But you want the grid transformed to run ONLY on RE plus storage; that is exactly what off-grid *means*, you’d just make it millions of times bigger”
            Which means that it would be the grid.

            Look, Frosty. You’re low on information.

            Go to the “100% Renewable Grid Possible?” section (top left) and do some reading.

          • A Real Libertarian

            But you want the grid transformed to run ONLY on RE plus storage; that is exactly what off-grid means,
            you’d just make it millions of times bigger.

            So it’s connected across continents, kind of like a grid?

            Like where, California?

            I was thinking the Great Plains, I’m not surprised you haven’t heard of them, they’re kind of obscure.

            You’re asserting that you can completely change the characteristics of the generation on the grid, including eliminating all base-load and most dispatchable generation and the energy reserves they run on, and have no difference in its operation.

            No, I’m asserting that you can completely change the characteristics of the generation on the grid, eliminating all nonrenewable generation and putting storage and it will still be a grid.

            That is insane.

            http://i.imgur.com/AF9mO0W.jpg

            The grid will take on most of the characteristics of the generation that you apply to it. There’s no other option.

            http://i2.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/210/119/9b3.png

            If you think pictures substitute for data, it says a lot about you.

            Here is how to do it with 4 years of data and assuming a much higher price of components then we have now:
            https://docs.google.com/file/d/1NrBZJejkUTRYJv5YE__kBFuecdDL2pDTvKLyBjfCPr_8yR7eCTDhLGm8oEPo/edit

            Or here’s how it’s already happened:

            http://cleantechnica.com/2013/10/06/an-island-tokelau-powered-100-by-solar-energy/

            I’d like to see you subsist on this all-RE grid and either show us that it works or have to admit that you’re wrong, but unfortunately you’re either going to force the rest of us to suffer the consequences of your errors or never get there in the first place.

          • Frozen

            Or here’s how it’s already happened:

            http://cleantechnica.com/2013/

            That is very interesting (as in, inapposite) for a number of reasons:

            1.  Tokelau is at 9 degrees south.  It has neither winter nor a heating season.
            2.  Tokelau is an island archipelago, population less than 1500.  It has no industry; the energy budget for its manufactured goods, including its solar panels and batteries, is counted elsewhere.
            3.  Tokelau has all of 3 motor vehicles.
            3.  The article on Tokelau’s electric supply (link) uses incoherent units, but a megawatt at 15% capacity factor yields 150 kW average, 3600 kWh/day or about 2.5 kWh/day/capita.

            Most of the USA experiences winter.  The USA has heaps of industry, and motor vehicles are essential to life in most places.  The USA consumes about 36 kWh/day/capita.  The idea that the USA could follow Tokelau is ridiculous.  “Evidence or GTFO” yourself.

            The USA could follow France or Ontario (link), but you don’t like those examples.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Show us a day in which the wind did not blow nor the Sun shine on the entire US. Also, be sure that hydro wasn’t flowing, geothermal cold, biomass not burnable and the tides not ebb and flowing.

            And don’t confuse off grid systems with grid systems.

            ” batteries are expensive and wasteful” Sorry, you’re wrong.

            “Here you are, expecting to replace the existing grid with the equivalent of an enormous off-grid system, and not understanding the first thing about what an off-grid system requires.”

            First, in no way as I expecting to replace the existing grid with anything. I am expecting that we’ll replace coal and most natural gas with renewable generation. And as our current nuclear plants age out we’ll replace most of them with renewables.

            Second, since I’ve been off the grid for over 25 years I have a fairly good idea of what an off-grid system requires.

            “The Germans are waking up to the fact that all the rosy projections were wrong; Sigmar Gabriel’s speech declaring that the Energiewende is near collapse should have been on your radar a week ago.”

            Are you referring to his April 14 speech in which he called on other European countries to catch up with Germany?

            The speech in which he said –

            “At the presentation of the report, Gabriel praised Germany as a role model for other countries, proving economic growth and climate protection can go hand in hand. “For two years we have been on a path of growth, and have simultaneously reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 25%”, said the minister.

            “It doesn’t cost the world, to save the planet”, Edenhofer explained. But positive effects of reducing CO2 emissions are not even calculated in yet, he said, indicating the diminished effects of climate change, or improved air quality in China, for example.”

            http://www.euractiv.com/sections/energy/german-energy-minister-eu-partners-think-we-are-crazy-301570

            Are you not aware that the German grid is one of the two most reliable in Europe, wholesale electricity prices have been dropping, and the German economy is strong?

            “In practice, the “energy transition” means destroying centuries-old villages in order to strip-mine more lignite.”

            Welcome to 1984. Black is the new white.

          • Frozen

            Show us a day in which the wind did not blow nor the Sun shine on the entire US. Also, be sure that hydro wasn’t flowing, geothermal cold, biomass not burnable and the tides not ebb and flowing.

            Straw man.  First, YOU assert this can (and must) be done; it’s up to you to prove the positive, not me the negative.  Second, “somewhere in the US” will not do.  You have to have ENOUGH energy CLOSE enough and SOON enough, which is a far tougher standard.

            Take biomass.  The 2005 ORNL analysis projected only 8 quads of transportation fuels (just 20% of total) and 5% of electric generation from biomass in 2030.

            http://feedstockreview.ornl.gov/pdf/billion_ton_vision.pdf#page=18

            When your wind has 30% capacity factor and PV is lucky to hit 15% (Germany gets 11%), an all-RE grid needs a lot more than 5% of generation to come from biomass.  This problem gets a lot bigger if you try to e.g. convert 75% of ground transportation fuel consumption to electricity.  (This assumes you consider it acceptable to clearcut forests at unsustainable rates in the name of sustainability.  http://www.pfpi.net/trees-trash-and-toxics-how-biomass-energy-has-become-the-new-coal).

            And don’t confuse off grid systems with grid systems.

            Don’t confuse a grid based on stockpiles of coal, reservoirs of gas, lakes of water behind dams and years of fuel in reactors with your “renewable” plan.  Those energy reserves are what lets the grid turn on your light whenever you feel like flipping the switch.  Take those reserves away, and there will be times when it will be unable to do that.

            since I’ve been off the grid for over 25 years I have a fairly good idea of what an off-grid system requires.

            Oh, do you?  Tell us your typical daily generation in kWh, your consumption, what measures you take to economize, how much energy you spill, and how frequently you fall back to a generator when nature fails to provide.

            Are you not aware that the German grid is one of the two most reliable in Europe, wholesale electricity prices have been dropping, and the German economy is strong?

            German wholesale prices are subsidized by surcharges on all but a few favored consumers.  The cost has nearly doubled.  Germany has been losing smaller businesses, driven out by electricity costs.

            Germany cheated; its baseline for CO2 emissions is before unification, when all the inefficient E. German industries were still running.  Lately its grid emissions per kWh have been rising:

            http://canadianenergyissues.com/2013/12/17/germany-and-the-iron-rule-of-power-generation-when-nuclear-goes-down-carbon-goes-up/

            German per-kWh and per-capita emissions are far higher than France, with per-kWh emissions more than 5 times as high.

            http://canadianenergyissues.com/2014/01/27/two-carbon-reduction-paths-diverged-in-the-european-policy-wood-great-britain-takes-less-traveled-more-interesting-one/

            Saving Earth from a climate catastrophe requires cutting CO2 emissions to around 1 ton/person/year.  People are NOT going to give up electricity, and low-carbon electricity is essential for converting from polluting fossil fuels to clean energy.  It won’t stay low-carbon if you keep mining fossil fuels or even spewing forests back into the atmosphere, and you’ve got to have power on demand.  If Germany is your idea of a success story, we can just kiss the planet as we evolved on, knew and loved it goodbye.

          • Bob_Wallace

            First, knock off the shouting.

            Now, do you understand the difference between CF and hours of production when it comes to wind?

            All energy is subsidized.

            (Sorry, I just don’t feel like dealing with all that idiotic stuff.)

          • Otis11

            It turns out if you keep the grid connection, fluctuations between distributed solar and wind farms that are spread over large geographical areas tend to balance each other out quite nicely. Given only moderate storage (for demand response purposes) you can easily create a grid with very high renewable penetration (see germany). Plus, we always have the gas peakers that we already have in the really bad times… we’re not getting rid of them, just decreasing their use. (Though, eventually it’s highly likely we’ll get rid of them entirely)

          • Frozen

            Your “large geographical area” is going to have to be much bigger than the Bonneville Power Administration’s coverage.  Here’s the spreadsheet that shows wind not breaking above 7% of nameplate from the afternoon of January 15 and the morning of January 29:

            http://transmission.bpa.gov/Business/Operations/Wind/WindGenTotalLoadYTD_2014.xls

            (I pasted the URL instead of using HTML, because I am not seeing the normal color-coding of links on these pages.  I include links where I have them, but if you have to mouse-over them to see if they exist it is pretty much useless.)

            Given only moderate storage (for demand response purposes) you can
            easily create a grid with very high renewable penetration (see germany)

            Germany’s economics minister Sigmar Gabriel has declared that the Energiewende has gone to enormous expense to do approximately nothing.  He says it is about to collapse, a total failure.  I do look at Germany:  it is an object lesson in the failures of Romanticism over the last century-plus.

          • Otis11

            So, one company’s resources (that all seem to be contained in the very poor wind resources known as the state of California), had a bad two weeks. Not very surprising to be honest. It is in California (poor wind resources on shore), and is a limited sample (one company). I’d also care to wager that this was predictable in advance and the grid had plenty of time to start up deep-backup power plants, did they not? Was the grid not solvent?

            So what’s the problem? We don’t need batteries for two weeks – this simply says we are not at a point where we can rely 100% on wind power to solve our energy needs. What was the solar output in the same area during the same time period? January in California also tends to be a time of lower demand as it’s a very mild climate. Did we take that into account?

            I still stand by the fact that a few hours of battery power for demand response, followed by natural gas peakers for the really bad days and some moderate “base load” power plants in the background (if we get bad weeks – as they typically take 1-3 days to start) are sufficient and more economical than 1+ days of battery backup for the entire nation.

  • JamesWimberley

    This does not count as a win or a defeat for home solar, just setting the stage for the battle. Both Governor Fallin’s added directive and the tone of the utility’s statement give hope that a reasonable compromise may be forthcoming.

  • vensonata

    Here we go. The grid operators simply apply a strategy. How far can we push the grid tied solar homes before they will go off grid? Probably a long way, but watch out, it is getting easier by the day for a nice little battery/ inverter to be installed in your basement. The costs are plummeting and the unit complexity will not be as challenging as running your lawnmower. Walmart? Home depot? Watch out utilities!

    • neroden

      By the way, electric lawnmowers are ready for prime time, already better than gas lawnmowers for anything under an acre…

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