Grass Roots Effort Request - Reimbursement Rate for Renewable Energy

Please read, then take a moment to help renewable energy in Michigan.

The Michigan Public Services Commission (MPSC) has released their intent regarding the Grid Access Fees and Reimbursement Rate that is in the state’s new energy bill.  This could substantially impact the solar industry in Michigan because the return on investment and long term savings will be all but eliminated for home owners, small businesses and farms with solar arrays under 20kw.  In the past the MPSC’s intent has been significantly changed when the public voices their opinions.  They are currently soliciting input on this matter until January 10, 2018. For power that is net metered, the MPSC wants to lower the reimbursement rate solar array owners receive from the utility companies.  This rate is around 10 cents a kWh, reducing it from 15 to 17 cents.  This is what the utility companies have fought for.  If this is approved, the change will take effect in 2019.  Existing system owners will be grandfathered in for 10 years. We would like to request you review the following information and then join the grass-roots effort to change the MPSC’s mind on this renewable energy killing proposal. Sample Letter to MPSC / Copy and Paste Letter This pricing suggested by the MPSC is significantly lower then what other states have determined is fair reimbursement. States like Oregon, Minnesota, New York and others have gone through the process of establishing all the costs and benefits of distributed generation, and all have determined distributed solar is worth more than other sources.  Even Mexico’s national electric company has determined solar power is worth more than traditional sources for power. How could solar power be worth more than other power?

 

 

 

  • Upwards of 50% of our state’s power generation capacity is used for about 90 hours a year. Because utility companies are guaranteed a profit, we rate payers are paying the utility company’s 110.3% of the cost to build more power plants to meet this ‘peak time’ energy usage.  A one billion dollar power plant nets over one hundred million dollars in utility company profits

     

     

     

     

     

    • The ‘solar window’ of power production is during the time when this 50% of our generation capacity is stoked up to meet this temporary need. With distributed solar power, we would not need 50% of our power production facilities to be built, saving ALL rate payers billions of dollars.  Of course the utility companies would lose their guaranteed 10% profit on the construction of these facilities.

       

       

      • NOTE – Most of the new power generation facilities being built are natural gas plants. Natural gas is at a 14 year low because of the supply exceeding demand as a result of fracking.  Once the demand for natural gas increases the cost of natural gas will return to their highs.  The utility companies are guaranteed a profit so our electrical rates will skyrocket.  However, with solar power the cost of fuel is always free.

       

    • The centralized design of our grid loses a significant amount of power through line losses and voltage drop to get power from where it is produced to where we need it. At times, it requires generating a few kWh’s to get one kWh to your home for you to use.  With distributed generation solar, the power you cannot consume at the time of production goes through your meter and to the neighbor’s house for them to use.
    • If your neighbor is on time-of-day rates they could be buying electricity from the utility company at the peak rate, which could be 300% more than the cost of the power you pull off the grid at night when the sun goes down. DTE’s own website states, “Did you know that it costs DTE Energy $1 - $3 per kWh to buy electricity from outside the state when energy demand exceeds our supply?”.  If you are guaranteed a profit why change?
    • Computer network administrators learned a couple decades ago that they needed to switch to a distributed network since a centralized network exposed them to unnecessary risks from equipment failures and natural or man-made disasters. If you feel this is overstated please Google – ‘CIA power grid warning’ and ‘San Jose substation terrorist attack’.

       

       

      • NOTE – In order to transition from a centralized grid to a distributed grid it would require one of the following three things;

         

         

         

         

        • Billions of dollars in tax payer dollars
        • Billions of dollars in rate payer dollars
        • Pro net metering policy to let the market transition us

         

       

     

  • NOTE - The utility companies will argue that the peak production of solar is slightly earlier than the peak demand on the grid. This is because our current policies incentivize panels facing south.  If panels face southwest then they would peak at the exact same time.  Some utility companies in other states have started incentivizing generators to face their panels to the southwest.

The good news is the MPSC has a history of listening to We the People.  Please take a moment to send a letter and an email to the MPSC regarding this issue. Title it “Grid-Access Fee:  Reimbursement Rate for Renewable Energy” Address to; Julie Baldwin, Manager Renewable Energy Section Michigan Public Service Commission 7109 W Saginaw Hwy Lansing, MI 48917 baldwinj2@michigan.gov   Read Net Metering Plan Worries Solar Advocates, published by Jeffrey Tomach and published in Energywire . Sample Letter to MPSC / Copy and Paste Letter ________________________________ Written by Michigan Solar Solutions 12/23/2017

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