Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering

Ian SIan S Solar Expert Posts: 35 ✭✭
The Arizona Republic today had an op-ed piece by the CEO of APS and it's clear they want get rid of net-metering. The article of course pits solar customers against everyone else using disingenuous arguments - APS does not pay out $0.25/kWh to over producing solar customers. I see there are going to be public meetings about this. I'll make sure I attend and hope others here in APS' territory do also.
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Comments

  • solarixsolarix Solar Expert Posts: 713 ✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering

    Ya, the utilities want to make the case that net-metering is unfair. It is definitely a benefit for solar generators, but was intended to be an incentive to promote a transition to a better energy. In all fairness, I'd give up net-metering if the coal industry would be fair and give up their incentives as well. How about a carbon tax to compensate for polluting the atmosphere?
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering

    I just don't see how it is unfair. The utlity sells the power to my neighbor for full price, probably a higher rate including the service delivery charge which covers the later return of the power to me when I need it. APS does on peak credit for onpeak generation. They don't have any generation costs and get the REC. At year end they pay as a credit less than 1/3 the retail rate for any annual excess.

    How is it a loser for them? They are lucky they didn't do the plans in California I could see those as real losers forthe utility.
  • solarixsolarix Solar Expert Posts: 713 ✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering

    Net metering costs APS lots. Instead of paying you retail credit for your excess generation, they could be generating that power for about 2 cents/kwh using coal and profiting the difference. If you take your bill and divide up all the various itemized costs, you will see that APS makes most of their money on delivery and overhead not generation. (of course, then add on all those misc. taxes) What we need is a practical storage method that minimizes excess generation.
    The problem with residential solar, or any distributed generation, is that it is a threat to centralized control. Do you want to have freedom? - work hard and be responsible for yourself. Do you want to be lazy and cheap? - collectivize, do what they say, and breath that polluted air.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering

    To play Devil's advocate a bit, another point of view:

    You are the electric supply utility. You need to buy megawatts of power. You need it available on demand as your load demands fluctuate.

    Option GT Solar: Buying from thousands of small-capacity producers (homeowners). You have to buy it when it's available (daylight hours) which is not necessarily when it is used, and you must keep track of all the individual contributors and do the balance bookkeeping for each (instead of just a one-way billing as for all other customers).

    Option Power Plant: Buy from a few large power producers. Get it whenever you need it, even if you have to pay a premium price. Simple bookkeeping as you only buy from suppliers and only sell to consumers.

    Which do you think a company would choose?
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering
    To play Devil's advocate a bit, another point of view:

    You are the electric supply utility. You need to buy megawatts of power. You need it available on demand as your load demands fluctuate.

    Option GT Solar: Buying from thousands of small-capacity producers (homeowners). You have to buy it when it's available (daylight hours) which is not necessarily when it is used, and you must keep track of all the individual contributors and do the balance bookkeeping for each (instead of just a one-way billing as for all other customers).

    Option Power Plant: Buy from a few large power producers. Get it whenever you need it, even if you have to pay a premium price. Simple bookkeeping as you only buy from suppliers and only sell to consumers.

    Which do you think a company would choose?

    That's a good reason to have a carbon tax (or equivalent) in force. Make those dirty practices progressively more expensive.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering
    northerner wrote: »
    That's a good reason to have a carbon tax (or equivalent) in force. Make those dirty practices progressively more expensive.

    We have such a tax in British Columbia. It does absolutely nothing for the environment, but it does make government more complex and expensive. Really it's just a trendy feel-good fatuous act to pretend something worthwhile is being done.
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering
    We have such a tax in British Columbia. It does absolutely nothing for the environment, but it does make government more complex and expensive. Really it's just a trendy feel-good fatuous act to pretend something worthwhile is being done.

    I'm not familiar with the BC system, but I would think that all governments must get on board in order for a carbon tax to be effective. If implemented properly, it could have a significant impact and would take time to see results, as you know change will not happen overnight, but over years.
  • Ian SIan S Solar Expert Posts: 35 ✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering
    To play Devil's advocate a bit, another point of view:

    You are the electric supply utility. You need to buy megawatts of power. You need it available on demand as your load demands fluctuate.

    Option GT Solar: Buying from thousands of small-capacity producers (homeowners). You have to buy it when it's available (daylight hours) which is not necessarily when it is used, and you must keep track of all the individual contributors and do the balance bookkeeping for each (instead of just a one-way billing as for all other customers).

    Option Power Plant: Buy from a few large power producers. Get it whenever you need it, even if you have to pay a premium price. Simple bookkeeping as you only buy from suppliers and only sell to consumers.

    Which do you think a company would choose?
    With smart meters and computerization, the bookkeeping costs have to be little different from the complicated TOU plans that they already deal with. And we are paying for for all that, even solar customers: my latest monthly bill net-metered down to 1 kWh but all the remaining costs still came out to over $18.00.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering
    northerner wrote: »
    I'm not familiar with the BC system, but I would think that all governments must get on board in order for a carbon tax to be effective. If implemented properly, it could have a significant impact and would take time to see results, as you know change will not happen overnight, but over years.

    Couple of notes about our Carbon Tax:

    When implemented it was 2¢ per litre of gasoline at a time when gasoline cost $1.46 per litre. It is now 6.67¢ per litre with gasoline at $1.28 per litre. As you can see, the additional cost of the CT is insignificant against the fluctuation in actual fuel price thus it provides no "financial incentive" to reduce gasoline consumption.

    It is allegedly "revenue neutral", meaning the expense (and income) of the carbon tax is offset by reductions in other taxes so that it has no net effect on either people's over-all tax burden nor the government's tax revenue. If this were actually true it would again negate the financial incentive to save. In reality it increases tax on something people can't really skip (gasoline) while costing the government and businesses money for having to administer the tax.

    The income from the tax apparently goes into general revenue (to make up for losses from the tax base shift) instead of being dedicated to funding any project that would help clean the environment (which is not to say they aren't trying other programs to do so).

    Net result: the B.C. Carbon Tax does nothing for the environment but does increase cost of living.

    I have no doubt it could be better implemented. It's hard to imagine how it could be worse.
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering

    If gasoline is slapped with a carbon tax, then a cleaner alternative must be implemented and promoted. For example natural gas. Downside is that there really isn't a good alternative currently for gas or diesel, other than exercising conservation. And as you mention coot, that's not an option for everyone.

    A tax could make a difference with dirty coal generating plants, as there are cleaner alternatives available.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,007 admin
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering

    CO2 is not a pollutant--But plant food (part of the carbon cycle).

    Dams ("clean hydro power"), on the other hand, are actually damaging to the environment.

    Besides destroying the environment through blocking fish migrations, changing river temperatures (cold water from base of reservoirs), non-natural variable water levels/flows leave shores/rivers biological deserts, mixing two much air into water killing fish, massive lakes created can cause earth quakes, dam failures have killed mutlitudes of people, etc. ...

    Dams are have a net CO2 release that can be worse than the same amount of power from an oil fired plant:
    Hydroelectric dams produce significant amounts of carbon dioxide and methane, and in some cases produce more of these greenhouse gases than power plants running on fossil fuels. Carbon emissions vary from dam to dam, says Philip Fearnside from Brazil's National Institute for Research in the Amazon in Manaus. "But we do know that there are enough emissions to worry about."
    In a study to be published in Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Fearnside estimates that in 1990 the greenhouse effect of emissions from the Curuá-Una dam in Pará, Brazil, was more than three-and-a-half times what would have been produced by generating the same amount of electricity from oil.
    This is because large amounts of carbon tied up in trees and other plants are released when the reservoir is initially flooded and the plants rot. Then after this first pulse of decay, plant matter settling on the reservoir's bottom decomposes without oxygen, resulting in a build-up of dissolved methane. This is released into the atmosphere when water passes through the dam's turbines.

    So, if BC and Quebec Hydro wanted to be "green", they should immediately build oil fired power plants and remove the dams (in the West, we have a very active free the rivers campaign here).

    Every source of power has it drawbacks... The only real "green" and cost effective methods are to use less power in the first place (conservation).

    But back to the utility--On demand power is worth a lot more to a utility than solar/wind variable sources of power. They still need to be able to supply 100% of the load whether or not the sun is up or the sun is blowing. Most of the most "efficient" sources of power are base line generators (major coal/nuclear/etc.) power plants. Solar/Wind make managing/using base load power plants very iffy.

    Also, from what little I have seen, GT Solar inverters mounted at home only supply 1.0 PF power. Given that probably a utility averages 0.80 or so power factor... That means they still need to spin those turbines to supply non 1.0 PF current (~20% of their entire grid's current requirements)--Which they currently do not bill for (at least for residential meters). Now your huge power plant and distribution system has to send current to folks that never pay for the service (and buy fuel to do that).

    My SWAG as long as GT solar and wind are less than 1% of the grid average load, the issues can be buried. When GT solar+wind are >10% of the base load, then the system is going to break down (both from a business model, and from a engineering/control model).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering
    BB. wrote: »
    CO2 is not a pollutant--But plant food (part of the carbon cycle).

    Dams ("clean hydro power"), on the other hand, are actually damaging to the environment.

    -Bill

    I was actually referring to coal production which is dirty and produces more than just CO2 as a waste by product.

    http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/coalvswind/c02c.html

    I'm not disagreeing about the fact that hydro electric dams do not have an impact, but there are better alternatives out there.
    My SWAG as long as GT solar and wind are less than 1% of the grid average load, the issues can be buried. When GT solar+wind are >10% of the base load, then the system is going to break down (both from a business model, and from a engineering/control model).

    That's the reason for implementing more storage, to accommodate more renewable sources of energy for the grid. Germany has a target of 45% reliance on renewable sources by 2030. They are currently at close to 14% reliance on renewable sources for their electric consumption.

    http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5430
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,007 admin
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering

    I agree that coal is a very dirty fuel.

    Decades ago, I got to fly my small plane around the US after I graduated high-school with savings from after school jobs. At a few thousand feet, ran into an inversion layer over a coal fired power plant--Had to go into a spin straight down to get out of it and not choke to death from the acid fumes (just saw a orangish haze on the horizon was the only warning, still miles from the power plant).

    But even Germany, because of its use of Wind/RE power and decommissioning of nuclear power plants is needing to dramatically increase its use of coal...
    Germany will this year start up more coal-fired power stations than at any time in the past 20 years as the country advances a plan to exit nuclear energy by 2022.

    New coal plants with about 5,300 megawatts of capacity will start generating power this year, the Muenster-based IWR renewable energy institute said in an e-mailed statement today, citing data from the German regulator. About 1,000 megawatts of coal-fired capacity are expected to come offline, it said.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel, who shut Germany’s oldest atomic reactors two years ago in response to the Fukushima disaster in Japan, is seeking to replace the remaining nuclear plants with renewable generators and efficient fossil-fired stations. Greenhouse gas emissions in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, rose 1.6 percent last year as more coal was burned to generate power, the Environment Ministry said two days ago.

    I don't know the answers, but what is being done now is (pretty much) just for show and increasing revenues for all involved, at the expense of the consumer.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering

    Well I sure hope someone finds a practical solution to large-scale storage soon because that is the biggest problem of all, no matter what the source of power. We have come to expect it to be there whenever we flick the switch, and this doesn't line up with the least-damaging methods of generation.

    The time was when we didn't have all the power we needed whenever we needed it (and much of the world still lives like that). We had to make hay when the sun shone, literally and figuratively. Cut ice out of lakes and rivers in Winter and store it up in warehouses for Summer. Depend on wind or rushing water in season to grind grist. Cut and split and stack wood for heat and cooking (some of us still do). Light a candle rather than curse the darkness. It was not that long ago either.

    But life is much better now, and I do not mean in purely self-indulgent ways.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,007 admin
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering

    London Fogs were "famous" for a reason:
    London

    Such fogs were prevalent in UK cities, especially London where the smoke from millions of chimneys combined with the mists and fogs of the Thames valley. The result was commonly known as a London particular or London fog, which then, in a reversal of the idiom, became the name for a thick pea and ham soup.[1]
    An 1871 New York Times article refers to "London, particularly, where the population are periodically submerged in a fog of the consistency of pea soup..." The fogs caused large numbers of deaths from respiratory problems.[2]

    Clean Air Act


    The worst recorded instance was the Great Smog of 1952, when 4,000 additional deaths were reported in the city over a couple of days, leading to the passage of the Clean Air Act 1956 which banned the use of coal for domestic fires in urban areas.[2] The overall death toll from that incident is now believed to be around 12,000.[3]

    In many countries (certainly not all), the environmental effects of power generation have been greatly reduced. But it takes pretty rich country to "afford" pollution controls. Wasting money on political solutions is just wasting monies that could be use much better elsewhere.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering
    But even Germany, because of its use of Wind/RE power and decommissioning of nuclear power plants is needing to dramatically increase its use of coal...

    Yes, that's unfortunate and largely due to the decommissioning of their nuclear plants. One bad vs another.
    Well I sure hope someone finds a practical solution to large-scale storage soon because that is the biggest problem of all, no matter what the source of power. We have come to expect it to be there whenever we flick the switch, and this doesn't line up with the least-damaging methods of generation.

    There's currently plenty of start up companies emerging with various energy storage options, so there will likely be a multitude of storage approaches implemented. It remains to be seen which approach will be both cost effective, and minimize effects on the environment.
  • DashadeauxDashadeaux Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering

    I'm just one solar APS customer, and my system has added more than $200 (at my retail rate) worth of power to the grid as of today. APS gets this excess power at a cost of 0 cents per kWh, and will have use of it until some months later when my system can't produce the energy my home requires. It is only at that time APS will feel the pinch of that excess power, and the pinch comes in the form of a credit back to me at retail price for my rate plan. In December APS will pay me either 6.59 cents or 5.963 cents per kWh depending on when the excess power was generated.

    I found Don Brandt's article to be deceptive and written to cause angst between neighbors...
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering
    Dashadeaux wrote: »
    I'm just one solar APS customer, and my system has added more than $200 (at my retail rate) worth of power to the grid as of today. APS gets this excess power at a cost of 0 cents per kWh, and will have use of it until some months later when my system can't produce the energy my home requires. It is only at that time APS will feel the pinch of that excess power, and the pinch comes in the form of a credit back to me at retail price for my rate plan. In December APS will pay me either 6.59 cents or 5.963 cents per kWh depending on when the excess power was generated.

    I found Don Brandt's article to be deceptive and written to cause angst between neighbors...

    Bingo! give that man a cigar!
  • peakbaggerpeakbagger Solar Expert Posts: 341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering

    I am increasing my PV capacity currently as I expect at some point my state will stop new net metering applications and I hope to get on a grandfathered net metering rate.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering
    northerner wrote: »
    If gasoline is slapped with a carbon tax, then a cleaner alternative must be implemented and promoted. For example natural gas. Downside is that there really isn't a good alternative currently for gas or diesel, other than exercising conservation. And as you mention coot, that's not an option for everyone.

    A tax could make a difference with dirty coal generating plants, as there are cleaner alternatives available.

    And in fact the utilities are rushing to convert to Nat Gas. Why? not because it is cleaner but because it is cheaper.

    I found that the Chevy Volts are a perfect alternative for us. They get charged off clean solar, they cover 90+% of our driving needs on electric power while still giving us the opportunity to go farther when needed using gasoline. That being said, they are not for everyone's situation.
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering
    northerner wrote: »
    There's currently plenty of start up companies emerging with various energy storage options, so there will likely be a multitude of storage approaches implemented. It remains to be seen which approach will be both cost effective, and minimize effects on the environment.
    While it is true that many minds are working on the problem of utility-scale electrical storage, to date a technology promising anything close to cost effectiveness remains elusive. It is the single largest impediment to the implementation of truly large scale wind and solar onto the grid.
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering
    ggunn wrote: »
    While it is true that many minds are working on the problem of utility-scale electrical storage, to date a technology promising anything close to cost effectiveness remains elusive. It is the single largest impediment to the implementation of truly large scale wind and solar onto the grid.

    Nothing is more cost effective (in $) than using fossil fuels. The reality is that fossil fuels pollute our environment and the supply will not last forever, as their is a finite quantity in the ground. Therefore, an alternative must be sought out, sooner or later. Problem is, there is more emphasis on dollar cost, than on the cost to our environment. A carbon tax or equivalent could help to correct that making clean and renewable sources more cost effective, and dirtier, fossil fuels more expensive.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,007 admin
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering

    Unfortunately, mining minerals/dumps full of toxic products/by-products are a fact of life too.

    One can argue that coal mining is worse than lead/rare earth/uranium/etc. mining--But that appears to be a matter of degree. All mining pretty much has a pretty horrible set of local environmental impacts (as does fossil fuel harvesting/processing).

    Politicians with their taxes are now worse than the organized crime families of old (who just wanted their 10% share)--Look at taxes today and the consequences of not paying. 10% would be a bargin for "protection" today.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering
    BB. wrote: »
    Unfortunately, mining minerals/dumps full of toxic products/by-products are a fact of life too.

    One can argue that coal mining is worse than lead/rare earth/uranium/etc. mining--But that appears to be a matter of degree. All mining pretty much has a pretty horrible set of local environmental impacts (as does fossil fuel harvesting/processing).

    Politicians with their taxes are now worse than the organized crime families of old (who just wanted their 10% share)--Look at taxes today and the consequences of not paying. 10% would be a bargin for "protection" today.

    -Bill

    Yes, that's true, but is dependent on what materials are chosen too. There's a battery that has been developed recently by Aquion Energy that uses abundant and non toxic materials.

    http://www.aquionenergy.com/

    They are to begin manufacturing later this year.
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering

    I got the solution to it all, a Methane Generator. Think of Thunder Done, They did it with pig ..XXXX. My Utility has a couple of them running in a landfill. All you need is a bucket to get started.

    http://www.small-farm-permaculture-and-sustainable-living.com/methane_generator.html
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,007 admin
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering

    I certainly wish the best of luck and that it works out.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering

    Yep my city as well has a landfill gas plant.

    http://www.glendaleaz.com/green/glendalelandfill.cfm
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,007 admin
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering

    We build open air theaters on land fills and get nice little gas fires/explosions:
    In its opening year, a fan attending a Steve Winwood concert flicked a cigarette lighter and ignited methane that had been leaking from a landfill underneath the theatre. Several small fires were reported that season. After those incidents the city of Mountain View commissioned methane testing studies, to define the locus of methane vapors emanating from the soil within the amphitheater.[1] These tests were used in developing a design for improved methane monitoring and more efficient methane extraction to assure the amphitheater became safe as an outdoor venue. Ultimately, the lawn was removed, a gas barrier and better methane removal equipment was installed, and then the lawn was re-installed.

    Very nice and warm for those cool San Francisco Bay evenings.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Ian SIan S Solar Expert Posts: 35 ✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering
    Dashadeaux wrote: »
    I found Don Brandt's article to be deceptive and written to cause angst between neighbors...
    The APS website was down all weekend for updating to a whole new look so I've only now been able to look for some more info on this APS war on net-metering. The numbers they use to make it look like solar customers are being allowed to screw everyone else are based on a "typical
    solar system sized at 125 percent of the home’s maximum
    demand."
    I realize that quote could be interpreted in a couple of ways but I don't believe that such a system is "typical" - mine is more like 70% - and I don't know too many who opted for the 125% maximum yet the impression many will take away is that such a system is actually "typical" for residential solar installed in the APS areas. Now it may well be that what APS expects to settle for is a reduction to that 125% level but that's not the argument they're making when they make the claim that they are paying $0.25/kWh for electricity they could buy elsewhere for $0.05/kWh.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Arizona Public Service Now on the Attack Against Net-Metering

    Methinks someone is playing silly buggers with the NEC 120% rule.

    And solar installations are not responsible for rate structure.
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