[Ok-sus] New clean energy tariff

Mike Bergey mbergey at bergey.com
Wed Apr 30 16:23:29 UTC 2014


Kelly,

 

Let me correct a few things you got wrong in your response to Vicki.  Also,
I see a lot of confusion on listservs about net metering so allow me to
clarify a few things.  I have 35 years' experience in this arena and was
directly involved with the establishment of net metering regulations at the
Corporation Commission in 1986.

 

First, there are no added costs to a utility to enable net metering.  Your
standard dynamometer type energy meter (the ones with the spinning disc)
works perfectly well, unless it has an optional ratcheting mechanism,
whether power is flowing into or out of the home.  The same is true for
electronic and smart meters, though "ratcheting" (not registering reverse
flow) can be implemented in software.

 

Second, there are no "extra controls" that a utility has to install to
provide protection for linemen responding to a power outage.
Doubly-redundant automatic safety disconnects required under IEEE standards
for the interface electronics ensure that a wind or solar system is
disconnected from the power grid in less than one second in the event of a
power outage and that they stay off-line until grid power is restored for at
least 5 minutes.  FYI, these safety standards exceed any requirements that
utilities place on the use of back-up generators for homes.    

 

Excess wind or solar production naturally flows into the utility power lines
and is sold by the utility to a neighboring home at the retail rate.
Federal law requires all utilities to pay for excess generation at a rate at
least reflecting their "avoided costs".  Net metering (run the meter
backwards) is a policy that gives the customer full retail value for excess
production (as if they had consumed it in their home) and saves the utility
the not-insignificant costs of administering different buying and selling
rates.  Before Oklahoma's net metering regulation was adopted in 1986 we had
customers with 1 kW wind turbines that were receiving monthly checks from
OG&E for as little as 6 cents.  We estimated it cost OG&E ~$25 to read the
second meter and process those manual checks.  

 

Excess production typically ranges from 0 - 40% of annual wind or solar
production, so net metering policies really only affect the valuation of a
small percentage of the energy produced.

 

There are theoretical costs for utilities to provide back-up capacity and
maintain the transmission and distribution infrastructure to deliver back-up
energy.  There are also theoretical benefits to utilities for voltage
support, VAR injection (power factor improvement), peak shaving (summer for
solar and winter for wind), and environmental attributes from distributed
renewable energy generation.  SB 1456 is a solution in search of a problem
and one can only hope that the accounting to be done by the utilities will
include both the costs and the benefits.  Done right we might the surcharge
might turn out to be negative (i.e., a credit).

 

Mike Bergey

President & CEO

Bergey Windpower Co.

 

From: Ok-sus [mailto:ok-sus-bounces at lists.oksustainability.org] On Behalf Of
Kelley C Smith
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 9:32 PM
To: ok-sus at lists.oksustainability.org
Subject: Re: [Ok-sus] New clean energy tariff

 

Vicki,

 

Your coop is different from OG&E or PSO, yes. I am thinking Ozark is a
distribution coop.. it does not own any generating units. It probably buys
energy from a G&T coop, or somewhere. OG&E and PSO both own generation,
transmission, and distribution facilities. Is that right? And, having to
sell power on an unpredictable basis is different when there are  a small
number of people "dropping in" for emergency power than when a significant
portion of customers are doing that. THis is an issue that a distribution
coop need not worry about. it's the generator's problem!

 

The type of generation unit built is determined by the "shape" of the load.
That is, if all your customers are oil refineries which have a more or less
constant power demand 24/7, you build a unit that can run flat out all year
long.. well, no unit can do that, but you would build a "base load"
generation station, high capital costs, low variable costs. If you need
additional generation  for hot summer afternoons when people turn on air
conditioning, then you build a "peaker" unit. usually something with a lower
capital cost, and these invariably have higher variable (fuel) costs.  Base
load stations simply cannot be run the way peaker units are. THe startup and
shutdown is much more complex...I could go on, but maybe an engineer will
chime in here.

 

Also, on the distribution or power delivery side, there are costs associated
with allowing people to sell power back to the utility. For example, say
there is a bad storm that knocks some lines down. If the utility is the only
party sending any power along the system, they know where to flip switches
to make it safe for line crews to restore power. If various houses are
selling power back, there are extra controls that have to be installed so
that this power can be shut down in the case of repairs. 

 

Yes, as you point out, there could be a flat rate for all customers to pay
for any costs associated with net metering One could argue that everyone
would benefit from cleaner air from wind or solar power, and thus all should
pay for net metering equipment (net metering is the term for charging a
customer for their energy net of what they "trade" back to the utility) as
just another little chunk of the customer charge. That would be one way to
go about it.

 

Perhaps I've said more than enough, as I am not sure I have the complete
info on the bill anyway. I am not necessarily defending any particular
viewpoint, but electricity is a very complicated thing to buy and sell. I
think solar and wind power are very interesting, and a lot depends on energy
storage technology. Perhaps some affordable type of battery will come along,
and the need to maintain an expensive distribution system will not be such a
big deal.

 

I am afraid any bill that was hurried through the legislature sounds
suspicious.

 

Kelley

 

 

On Apr 29, 2014, at 9:11 AM, "Vicke Adams" <vicke at vickeadams.com
<mailto:vicke at vickeadams.com> > wrote:





I don't know how OG&E or PSO operate since I have Ozark Electric which is a
cooperative. Ozark does not pay for electricity put back on the grid. They
also charge a minimum monthly amount of $25 regardless of how much
electricity that you use. That is how they pay for infrastructure for
minimal users. There are many summer cabins out here where I'm at. Those
people pay $25 per month, every month, even on months they don't come out to
their cabin. So, utility companies have already figured out how to provide
for their infrastructure.

 

But let's look at an analogy to your argument. Toll roads are built and
maintained by the people that pay to use them. There aren't different
charges based on how much you use the road. They don't charge me if I opt to
use the alternate roads for a few months. Would you give the Turnpikes the
right to charge those who don't use it since they have to build and maintain
it on an unpredictable basis?

 

I read somewhere that Governor Fallin's executive order implementing this
law basically guts it. I've read the executive order, twice, and I have to
admit that I don't understand what it says. If it guts the law, I'm not sure
how.

Vicke

 

From: Ok-sus [mailto:ok-sus-bounces at lists.oksustainability.org
<mailto:sus-bounces at lists.oksustainability.org> ] On Behalf Of Kelley C
Smith
Sent: Monday, April 28, 2014 4:27 PM
To: ok-sus at lists.oksustainability.org
<mailto:ok-sus at lists.oksustainability.org> 
Subject: Re: [Ok-sus] New clean energy tariff

 

I'm not sure I understand the bill, and I don't want to be an apologist for
the fossil fuel industry. but, I think I should say something or at least
ask a question.

 

When I looked, I thought the bill was imposing a sort of tax on those who
had solar panels, etc. and who wanted to connect to the grid to sell power
and to, when necessary, buy power. That is, if there is cloud cover for a
few days, and a family's battery back-up is running low, they would want
OG&E or PSO or someone to supply them some power for a while. Also, some
people want to sell surplus power.

 

Asking a utility to be your back-up of last resort is asking quite a lot.
How do they plan for this? Why should they build, and maintain generation,
transmission, and distribution facilities to sell power on such an
unpredictable basis? That's the question society must answer. 

 

Maybe I misunderstood, and I am not saying that OGE or PSO should get
whatever they want (if indeed that's what this bill does), but we have to
think about what it means to change from fossil fuel generation and how we
deal with days when the wind doesn't blow or the sun doesn't shine.

 

Perhaps a more equitable, and maybe more economical solution would be very
small-scale portable gasoline or diesel generators. Or, perhaps we should
look into every possible milliwatt of energy we can save and just not ask
for back-up from the grid. It is a difficult question.

 

Kelley

 

 

On Apr 27, 2014, at 5:52 PM, Stephanie Jeffords <
<mailto:buzzardroostranch at gmail.com> buzzardroostranch at gmail.com> wrote:






This bill is a horrible infringement on our freedom and inalienable rights. 

It might be advantageous to create a petition through  <http://change.org/>
change.org to have this bill repealed. 

The bill obviously creates a double standard and feeds the oil and gas
monopoly.  If our legislators can pass this bill to assess fees on our own

solar and wind power, what else will they try to tax or make a law against,
my garden vegetables so that Monsanto can have complete control of all
crops?  
Through despot bills and over taxation our legislators are destroying our
small farms and ranches, the backbone of this country.


We have legislators that are allowing the oil and gas industry to have
absolute power or control of our state government. This is despotism and is
addressed in the preamble to our 
Declaration of Independence, which also states that:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that
among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." 

No where does it say that all corporations are created equal with
inalienable rights.

We can not have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, when our
legislators engage in discriminatory, self-serving and over taxation to
suppress new technology and innovations that would take us off our forced
dependency on oil and gas.

I will sign your petition!!

Stephanie

 

 

 

On Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 8:15 PM, Vicke Adams < <mailto:vicke at vickeadams.com>
vicke at vickeadams.com> wrote:

Is anyone else upset about the new fees that are now going to be assessed
onOklahomans that have solar or wind energy? This legislature is not in
touch with reality. How and why are they penalizing me for trying to be more
sustainable, not to mention to have a source of energy when the grid is
down? I am located in a very rural area. I spent over $6000 to have a small
solar power system that provides electricity to a portion of my cabin, It
allows me to keep functioning when the grid is down. Just this week the grid
was down in my area for almost four hours. No storms, no explanations.But,
now that same utility company will have the right to charge me a monthly fee
because I have solar panels on my roof!

I called my state representative and senator as well as others to ask them
not to vote for this bill. I hope others were doing the same. What I fear is
that this terrible bill was passed through both houses and signed by the
governor today in such a slick, quiet way that most people probably don't
even know it has happened. I keep waiting for the outrage but so far, I'm
not seeing or hearing any coverage.

What's up with this? I'm about ready to drive to the capitol and go office
to office registering my displeasure with the entire place. Although, I fear
that I would end up in jail and then who would be here to milk the goats
that night?

Vicke - One really unhappy Oklahoman

 


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