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EGEB: Florida solar challenged in court, Germany’s renewables record, US offshore wind cooperation

In today’s EGEB:

  • Florida’s Supreme Court makes a solar ruling.
  • Nearly half the electricity generated in Germany this year has come from renewables.
  • A US offshore wind group urges state cooperation — not just competition.
  • A grant gives rural Maine businesses a solar lifeline.

Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Florida’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a base rate adjustment on customers’ bills requested by Florida Power and Light to cover construction costs for eight solar projects was appropriate, striking down a challenge by the Florida Industrial Power Users Group (FIPUG).

FIPUG argued the projects wouldn’t be cost-effective, but the group had its chance to raise its issues with the adjustment before and chose not to. From CBS Miami:

But Chief Justice Charles Canady, in a 16-page opinion, pointed to a 2016 settlement agreement that set base rates for FPL. Part of that agreement allowed FPL to go back to the Public Service Commission to seek increases for solar projects.

Canady wrote that the Florida Industrial Power Users Group, which frequently is involved in utility regulation cases at the Public Service Commission, declined to take part in the 2016 base-rate settlement with FPL.

Furthermore, FPL pointed out the cost-effectiveness of the adjustment, as pv magazine reports.

FPL recently announced plans for 10 new solar plants, as the utility aims to install 30 million solar panels in the state by 2030.

German Gains

Renewables keep gaining ground in Germany, as 47% of electricity generated from January-May 2019 came from renewable energy sources. The numbers come from the Fraunhofer Institute and were reported by Renew Economy. A closer look at those numbers shows consistency:

Each month of 2019 has so far delivered at least a 40 per cent renewable share, with May coming in at a 50.7 per cent share, and the total for the first five months at 46.8 per cent. The lowest month for renewables share was February, with 40.2 per cent.

Germany is aiming to get 65% of its electricity from renewables by 2030, and though challenges still await, the progress is extremely promising.

Work Together on Wind

US offshore wind organization the Business Network for Offshore Wind released a report which argues that while states are competing in offshore wind development, the whole country could benefit from greater cooperation.

States could work together on addressing the issues regarding transmission lines and transferring power to the grid, in addition to sharing resources and working together on a strong domestic supply chain. Business Network president/CEO Liz Burdock said,

“States, such as Massachusetts, New York and others, are working to build an industry to protect the environment, generate jobs, and provide affordable renewable energy. They are competing with other U.S. states and, rightly so. But, states must also cooperate to minimize public costs, share resources and globalize what the U.S. has to offer. Our report lays out a plan for making us a valuable energy renewable industry, not just for this country, but also for the entire world.”

The network’s release notes that while many states have offshore wind plans, there’s a lot of catching up to do to compete with Europe.

Maine Opportunity

In Maine, 12 recipients will receive $156,000 in grant funding through the Rural Energy for America program, and all of them will use that money on solar installations, Mainebiz reports.

The solar arrays will range from 13.44 kW to 67.62 kW in capacity. Smaller projects to be sure, but they add up, and a program like this puts solar in places that may not have the opportunity otherwise. Besides solar, the Rural Energy for America program allows for wind, geothermal, hydrogen, hydropower, biomass, and tidal generation development.

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