Vt. Senate backs bill to expand home-grown energyThe Associated Press | March 15,2014MONTPELIER — The amount of power that utilities could buy from customers with solar or other renewable energy systems would nearly quadruple under a measure given preliminary approval by the Vermont Senate.
Vermont caps the amount of power utilities can take through what’s called net metering, when the owners of rooftop solar installations or similar projects put excess power onto the grid.
The current cap says each utility can take up to 4 percent of the peak load on its system from net-metering projects. The bill increases that to 15 percent.
“Net metering projects are very popular in the state, and they’re popular because of the programs we have to encourage this kind of development,” Sen. Virginia Lyons, D-Chittenden, said in explaining the proposed expansion to her colleagues Thursday.
Utility customers who participate in net-metering get paid at above retail rates for the power. While typical retail rates among Vermont utilities run less than 15 cents per kilowatt hour, net-metered customers are paid 20 cents per kwh for their power.
The bill would change that to 19 cents for projects with a capacity more than 15 kilowatts. After 10 years, participants in the program would be paid the retail rate for their power.
Critics have complained that net metering is too expensive and drives up electric rates; its defenders say renewable energy development is important to the battle against climate change and needs to be encouraged. They also argue that net metering actually lowers costs in many instances because it enables utilities to avoid building capacity for larger peak loads.
The Senate rejected an amendment offered by Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, to have net metering participants paid the same rate that utilities pay to other sources at wholesale, prices that usually average well below 10 cents per kwh.
A kilowatt is a volume of power delivered at an instant; a kilowatt-hour is that volume of power delivered continuously during the course of an hour.
An amendment added by the Senate after the House passed the bill earlier this year is designed to encourage municipalities to build solar-power projects on former landfills.MORE IN This Just InIt was an idyllic evening. Full StoryA look at the week back and the week ahead. Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day 1739, 'Richard Palmer' identified in prison at York Castle as the notorious outlaw DICK TURPIN; IN 1836, Battle of the Alamo begins near San Antonio de Bexar, Texas; 1896, the Tootsie Roll invented by LEO HIRSCHFELD.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1472, Orkney, Shetland islands put up as collateral by Norway to Scotland in lieu of dowry for MARGARET OF DENMARK on her marriage with JAMES III, king of Scotland; 1962, JOHN GLENN first American to orbit Earth.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City mayoral candidates debate campaign issues; Hartford, Conn., woman still missing; Neal Goswami reports attempts to legislate suicide; local woman loses 100 pounds through TOPS program.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1878, JOHN TUNSTALL murdered near Lincoln, New Mexico, by the outlaw JESSE EVANS; in 1930, ELM FARM OLLIE first cow to fly in aircraft, first to be milked airborne; 1955, nuke test WASP; '79, snow in Sahara.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Rutland Herald News Editor Alan J. Keays and staff writer Gordon Dritschilo discuss stories planned for the February 18, 2015, edition of the newspaper: Winter budgets maxed, legal marijuana, Springfield bank job, USPS slowdown
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1249 AD, ANDRE of LONGJUMEAU is dispatched by LOUIS IX of France to meet the KHAGAN, ruler of the Mongol Empire; in 1804, during 1st Barbary War, STEPHEN DECATUR scuttles the pirate-held USS Philadelphia in Tripoli.