Climate change funds in state budget struggle


As President Donald Trump took a hammer Tuesday to U.S. climate change policy, the state’s climate change program is again in a budgetary fight between Gov. Andrew Cuomo, state lawmakers and environmental advocates.

At issue is what to do with millions of dollars raised by the 9-year-old Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a program that charges electric power plant owners based on emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gas.

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Community solar advocates support using RGGI funds to support industry


Advocates for community solar want the state budget to use $23 million from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative for direct grants to community solar in low-income and environmental justice communities.

The proposal, advanced in the Assembly’s one-house budget, is the best use of that money, wrote a coalition of environmental groups in a letter to state leaders on Monday. The letter was signed by the Energy Democracy Alliance, Environmental Advocates for New York, the Acadia Center and other groups.

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Robinson: New York looks at a new way to value solar power


For years, that nagging question has been at the center of a longstanding disagreement between the solar energy industry, which needs higher prices to compete with electricity produced with fossil fuels, and utilities seeking lower prices to end what they see as subsidies for an uncompetitive power source.

New York utility regulators believe the answer is somewhere in between.

To them, all solar power is not created equal, and the state Public Service Commission this month took a first step to come up with a new way to put a price tag on it.

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Solar advocates still concerned after state OKs shift from net-metering

ALBANY — The state’s utility regulator has approved a plan to move away from a 20-year-old method of paying for electricity from small solar and other energy resources and to a new valuation system to support New York’s renewable energy goals.

The Public Service Commission on Thursday approved a measure that will transition distributed energy resources away from net-metering, which pays for excess electricity sent to the grid at a retail rate, to a more complex and ostensibly complete payment structure. PSC chair Audrey Zibelman, presiding over her last meeting, said the transition was a key part of the state’s Reforming the Energy Vision.

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Regulators put a new value on N.Y.’s distributed energy

New York energy officials have said they want to bring legions of small clean-energy units onto the grid. They want these units to function just like power plants, but cut pollution and relieve congestion on the grid.

But to make that real, they have to define the value of these values. Yesterday, they took a crack at it.

The state’s Public Service Commission yesterday approved a policy that will transform the way small energy units, like solar rooftops and home batteries, get paid. The policy aims to reward, as precisely as possible, all the unique benefits that regulators think distributed energy resources (DER) can deliver.

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Community solar advocates oppose change to how projects make money

ALBANY — The Public Service Commission is eyeing changes to the way renewable energy sources — everything from solar panels to small biomass generators — are paid for what they contribute to the electric grid.

State officials see the changes as an important part of the energy system’s transformation. It moves away from net-metering, where resources get paid for excess electricity they send to the grid at a retail rate, to a more complex and ostensibly complete payment structure. The commission is expected to act on the proposal next month and could set a precedent for states across the country that are also considering such changes.

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Solar advocates concerned over proposed state net-metering rules; PSC urged to keep power prices for “Community” array systems

By Brian Nearing

Albany–  Advocates of small-scale solar projects are concerned over potential state changes to the way system owners would be paid for supplying surplus power to the grid.

A coalition of dozens of local lawmakers, environmental groups and businesses is urging the state Public Service Commission to maintain fair rates for power sold from so-called “community solar” projects. Larger than the typical rooftop system a homeowner might install, such systems can have many owners, rather than just one.

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The Push for Community Solar

Governor Cuomo is backing efforts to deter climate change in his recent renewable energy plan. Advocates for community solar arrays, an initiative opened up two years ago to increase access to renewable energy across the state, fear that the plan could backtrack if the Public Service Commission moves away from net metering. Jessica Azulay, program director of Alliance for a Green Economy, and Azriel Alleyne, CEO of Solar Freedom Advocates, discuss their efforts to increase the prevalence of community solar arrays.

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