Power Lines Blog

Keep distributed generation decisions local

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Electric utilities and their customers are increasingly integrating distributed generation including solar. State and localities are in the best position to determine how to promote these technologies and ensure that rates paid for distributed generation take into account the costs of maintaining and operating the distribution network. The federal government should not seek to impose a one-size-fits-all approach to rate design.

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What public power can learn from Down Under

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In November 2016, we had the great opportunity to represent the American Public Power Association in a fact-finding mission to Australia. We tried throughout the trip to think about what small public power systems might pursue as a “no regrets” approach to distributed generation and AMI. What we saw reinforced that small public power utilities in the U.S. first and foremost to get their ratemaking right. 

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How solar can reduce congestion and save costs

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Distributed utility-scale solar allows utilities to locate electricity generation close to where the loads are heaviest. If you put a PV system near your heaviest users — factories, high-population areas, or heavily loaded substations — you can reduce transmission costs, boost voltage, and improve power quality. Take advantage of the solar revolution to benefit your customers and community.

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Who will distribute distributed energy resources?

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The electric utility industry often experiences episodes of marked change, during which operating practices and market structures are challenged, reconsidered, and sometimes transformed into fundamentally different business and regulatory models. We’re in the middle of such an episode now. The current change is driven largely by the growth of distributed energy resources — solar, wind, energy storage, etc. — as environmental concerns increase and as consumers want more of a say in how their energy needs are met.

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Making solar work for you

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Customers want solar. And no matter how they access it, they will turn to their utility for help. The technology may not be for everyone, but utilities that prepare proactively can better respond if customer interest does arise. Utilities are uniquely positioned to maximize the customer benefits of solar, and public power utilities in particular are poised to support innovation and effective integration through customer relationships.

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