Shumlin signs net metering lawBy WILSON RING
The Associated Press | April 02,2014
Gov. Peter Shumlin signs the new net metering law on the back of dairy farmer Seth Gardner on Tuesday in East Montpelier.(AP Photo/Wilson Ring)EAST MONTPELIER — It’s now easier for more small power generators in the state to get paid for any excess electricity they produce by sending that power back onto the electric grid, according to new legislation signed by Gov. Peter Shumlin on Tuesday.
The “net metering” law Shumlin signed next to a solar array owned by an East Montpelier dairy farmer increases the amount of power small sources of electricity, such as solar panels on a home roof or in a yard, can send to the electric grid from 4 percent of a utility’s peak load to 15 percent.
The new law also includes lowering the net-metering credit on larger projects, expands a fast-track solar project permitting process, and creates a framework to redesign the law for 2017 and beyond when federal tax credits may expire.
Alternative energy proponents pushed for the increased cap after some Vermont utilities had reached the 4 percent cap and stopped taking new net-metered power.
“Our success exceeded our wildest dreams,” Shumlin said before signing the bill into law, commenting that since he took office in 2011, the state had quadrupled the amount of solar energy on the state’s electric grid.
Vermont’s increased use of alternative energy has helped the state to become the nation’s per-capita leader in the number of solar-energy jobs.
In addition to the environmental benefits of locally produced power, the move to renewable energy has helped defer the need for $400 million in electricity transmission projects, saving the state’s electric ratepayers $16 million, the governor said.
In parts of the country, the net-metering debate has proved contentious. Deputy Public Service Commissioner Darren Springer said he recently attended a utility conference where one session referred to the “net-metering wars.”
But in Vermont, the utilities, solar developers and others worked together to create the law that Shumlin signed Tuesday.
“We have over 3,600 projects in Vermont that are part of the net-metering program,” Spring said. “It’s the part of our (energy) portfolio that everyday Vermonters can touch and feel and install on their properties. It’s in our communities, our homes, our businesses, our farms.”
The governor signed the bill on the back of organic dairy farmer Seth Gardner because no one brought a podium on which to sign the document in the muddy lot next to Gardner’s solar panels.
Gardner said the net metering for his project made it possible to install the solar panels that usually produce enough electricity every month for his farm.
“It makes clean power, I’ve reduced my carbon footprint, I’m proud to do it, Vermont’s a great place and I love net metering,” Gardner said.MORE IN Vermont NewsUber driver faces sex assault charge Full StoryMONTPELIER — Gov. 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.