In a big win for solar, Arkansas judge upholds full rate net-metering and denies a grid fee – In a state that ranked 30th in solar installed in 2021, the recent ruling in favor of net metering could boost Arkansas, “the land of opportunity,” to a new level of sustainability. Recently the Arkansas Court of Appeals ruled in favor of solar power, ending a battle among the Arkansas Public Utilities Commission, solar companies including Scenic Hill Solar, utilities including the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. and Petit Jean Electric Cooperative of Clinton. The ruling essentially upheld the rate structure for net metering, which previously had stated that solar customers would receive the full retail rate for excess energy they send to the grid. In addition, the ruling simplifies the approval process for small solar systems and to aggregate smaller systems.
National Grid announces plan to decarbonize by 2050 – Utility giant National Grid (NG.L) is planning to eliminate fossil fuels from its heating systems in New York state and Massachusetts by 2050, primarily by expanding the use of electric heat pumps and sourcing more renewable natural gas (RNG), the company said Monday. National Grid plans to have New York and Massachusetts using 100% fossil-free gas by 2050, relying on a significant increase in use of RNG produced from farms, landfills, wastewater facilities and imports instead of conventional natural gas. The utility is targeting 50% of buildings’ heating to come from electric heat pumps with energy sourced from sources like wind and solar. The other 50% would come from “fossil-free gas” and a hybrid of electric fossil-free gas systems, the company said. Currently, approximately 57% of New York and Massachusetts building heating systems run on natural gas while 25% run on oil.
CA State Assembly Passes Bill to Create Nation’s Most Equitable Community Renewable Energy Program – California’s State Assembly passed AB 2316 by Assembly member Chris Ward (D-San Diego), a bill establishing a new community renewable energy program to overcome clean energy access barriers impacting nearly half of Californians who rent or have low incomes — all while avoiding new ratepayer costs. This priority bill for a diverse coalition of supporters — such as the California Environmental Justice Alliance, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resource Defense Council, Vote Solar, and The Utility Reform Network — now heads to the State Senate for further consideration. “Low-income families and renters are often unable to access clean energy and utility bill savings because they don’t own their property or lack financing. For these millions of Californians, there are no viable programs available to help,” said Alexis Sutterman, Energy Equity Program Manager at the California Environmental Justice Alliance. “Community renewable energy is an opportunity to ensure working class communities of color can receive the health and economic benefits of clean energy in their neighborhoods while combating climate change. Pairing AB 2316 with a $1 billion state budget investment will ensure communities most harmed by pollution are positioned to lead this transition.”