The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act became law in 1978 by the United States Congress as part of the National Energy Act. It is meant to promote greater use of renewable energy. Since then the U.S. has fulfilled most of those requirements and gradually moved itself towards a greener America. More recently, The Support Renewable Energy Act of 2010 (Bill S.3021/111th Congress) amends the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to authorize the Secretary of Energy to promulgate regulations to allow electric utilities to use renewable energy to comply with any Federal renewable-electricity standard.
As you read on, please keep in mind that the utility companies abroad aren’t suffering in their ability to charge for their commodity and to continue to corner or basically monopolize the need for electrical usage across the country: http://www.eia.gov/electricity/sales_revenue_price/index.cfm
The State of California is a world leader in efforts to reduce global warming and greenhouse gas emissions, increase renewable energy production, promote energy efficiency, energy conservation, clean air and emission controls, expand the use of low carbon, alternative fuels and promote and commercialize new technologies and industries towards a greener America. In leading the nation with an aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), California’s retail sellers of electricity were to serve 20 percent of their utility load with renewable energy by 2010. In 2003, the Governor called for an acceleration of the RPS, urging that 20 percent of California’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2010 rather than 2017, seven years earlier than previously required, and this accelerated standard became law in September 2006, when the Governor signed SB 107 in meeting the requirements regarding Executive Order # S-14-08 along with Senate Bill No. 2X (Joe Simitian, 2011-2012 1st Ex. Sess.), signed into law by Governor Brown on April 12, 2011, which increases California’s renewable energy portfolio standard to 33 percent of all retail electricity sales by 2020. Executive Order # S-14-08 mandated the development of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), a major component of California’s renewable energy planning efforts that are inhabiting the high California deserts in viral fashion. As you can see, CA pulls the renewable energy wagon pretty darn hard…
In assisting the current CA renewable energy program offered: On November 17, 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Executive Order # S-14-08 that raised California’s renewable energy goals to 33 percent by 2020 and improved processes for licensing renewable projects. And, that’s about enough signing history…
The REAT (Renewable Energy Action Team) was created by a Governor’s Executive Order and a Memorandum by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. This effort supports both the Governor’s and the Secretary’s goals of creating green jobs, reducing dependence on foreign energy sources, and meeting aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals. The question is jobs for whom? We’ll get to that later…
An important question found in the Renewable Energy Action Team Mitigation Account Memorandum of Agreement with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Frequently Asked Questions May 18, 2010: 10. Does the REAT Account apply only to renewable energy project on lands managed by BLM? No. The REAT Account can be used for renewable energy projects on other public and private land. This question and its answer to me indicates that even the NFWF is fine with anyone pretty much anywhere is fine with using up thousands of sacred lands, endangered wild life areas, and building giant megawatt facilities all over recreational land that many use to hike, ride motorized vehicles, RV’s, Camping, etc. – you know the great outdoors!
Here’s where things get a bit sour… Unfortunately, all Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), also known as Green tags, Renewable Energy Credits, Renewable Electricity Certificates, or Tradable Renewable Certificates (TRCs), are going away at the end of this year and should be completely gone by mid-year. I’d explain it, but here’s a link: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/documents/gpp_basics-recs.pdf Also, the New CREBs Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) have all expired (11/01/2010). These great options will decimate the industry as it is starting to show now… These tradable, non-tangible energy commodities in the United States that represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource (renewable electricity) will no longer be available after December 2011. The banks would use this Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) are RECs that are specifically generated by solar energy to be sold and traded or bartered, OR the owner or the end user of the solar installation/customer of the REC can claim to have purchased renewable energy. The compiled data of all or most jobs in CA are here: http://www.californiasolarstatistics.org/current_data_files/ Again, that includes rebates, which will no longer be available next year. More into on what’s still available and what’s gone is on this link: http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/index.cfm?State=US&ee=1&re=1 . So, with all these programs fading away – there is still hope because we now have net-metering AB 920, which provides a small sum of money of approximately 3 to 4 cents per watt or about 10% of what is currently being charged per watt by the majority of Power Utility Companies abroad (the math on an average residential or commercial properties utility BTW is 30 to 40 cents Kwh). Unfortunately, AB 920 or the kickback one receives from the utility company after a twelve month period provides little relief from a utility bill that over time usually takes care of “miscellaneous fees” etc. at 3 to 4 cents per Kwh.
What many do not know is that all the overflow or excess utility power from all those residents and commercial properties that now producing additional or extra are able or are now sending that power limitlessly utility/electric power back through their existing power grid for others users or neighbors without affecting hardware or equipment. This phenomenon is actually happening as you read this.
Now, there is SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility’s Solar Shares Program) that currently offers a rebate of $2.50 for each watt of installed residential solar. SMUD also uses a 3-tiered rate system for residential electricity billing in order to encourage conservation, in which higher levels of consumption are billed at higher rates. Inadvertently, however, this rate structure can penalize some net-metered customer generators who first invest in efficiency measures. Because these customers pay a lower rate for electricity, they also receive a lower credit for their net-metered power. SMUD isn’t really footing the bill and isn’t really going to help much at his point either.
We need to re-think the direction in which we have gone already with solar power and reevaluate were we should go. The statistics in smaller solar or renewable projects could dramatically increase within months and at the same time lowering the costs per watt if the state and/or federal legislators could mandate fair tariff’s for solar/renewable energy no matter how big or how small an electric power producer is.
PV Solar Farming or something comparable must be made available and should be implemented within the inner city or industrial zoned areas and space for further usage of PV solar instead of the immense waist of land and funds with giant Thermal Solar sites in the high deserts. Let us rethink the use of very easily and simply using areas that have already been inhabited by large amounts of industrial traffic and commercial traffic with space for PV solar etc. to be implemented immediately. Instead of ecologically disturbing the outer pristine environments of deserts outside of the highly populated and highly industrialized area’s – this Small Business & Residential PV Solar Initiative program saves natural wildlife out in those area’s for those that appreciate the great outdoors that is are now being pummeled with large projects and huge construction sites that are continuing to violate the sanctity of natural free flowing ecological areas in our deserts and highlands. This initiative would create a plethora of job growth in California. By also implementing a pact or a mandate that all equipment, product, and supplies used to install and build any and all PVSFI project should be American made within a certain provable percentage – especially panels, inverters, and other directly used products for installers.
Higher Tariff’s and allowances are currently being paid to these projects below by California utility companies (Joint Solar Parties – see diagram 1-1). Some of these solar thermal farms have already been receiving these amounts below and some are a bit different depending on the utility power company and their “confidential agreements.” Some of these projects are going through the permitting & licensing processes with the California Energy Commission and with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management if on federal land. Some are now completed and are producing and receiving monies/tariff’s from utility companies now. There are almost 50 renewable energy projects seeking to begin construction and as listed below already producing in California. Their goals are as many to be able to get their permits, licensing, and show project qualification before the end of the year so they can seek federal stimulus funds that are still available. There are many that aren’t going to make it, but those that do will get that kickback/tariff/revenue or power purchasing per California’s Assembly Bill (AB) 1969 and Senate Bill (SB) 380.
Joint Solar Parties’ Proposed NSC Rates in cents/kWh (see diagram 1-1)
……………………………………………………………PG&E SCE SDG&E
NSC Rate for Projects that begin in 2009 or earlier 16.8 cents 17.3 cents 17.6 cents
NSC Rate for Projects that begin In 2010 15.1 cents 15.3 cents 15.9 cents
Diagram 1-1 http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PUBLISHED/FINAL_DECISION/137431-03.htm#P179_32355
Here is a verbatim message left on my voicemail by an employee from Southern California Edison: “Most of the energy that we buy from Solar Project(s) and other renewable projects it is at a price that is not published. It’s determined in a competitive bidding process. And the contract we signed, We do sign. I’m sorry. Have, confidentiality. Non-Disclosure agreements. Where, The price is not disclosed. So, That’s 1. There is a small feed in tariffs, called CREST, which applies to projects that are At least from our point of view, very small there 1.5 megawatts And the price. There is a published price and it’s the roughly $100 per megawatt hour or 10 cents. That would be 10 cents per kilowatt hour and then with solar you do get. Because of our time use factors You do get a boost in that price by about 30%. So, on an annual basis. That might relate to about the 13 cent price. So if you’re projects you’re talking about our that’s small. You can definitely look at that program. It. It is on our website at S. C. E. Dot Com slash craft C R E S T.”
In this link are the questions and answers for the big projects, and it’s obvious the limitations cut the little guys out of the equations: http://asset.sce.com/Documents/Shared/100125_CRESTFAQs.pdf
The above message was the information or keystone that I needed to put all my gathered information together, which more clearly indicates that the bigger your solar project, the more you’ll get from the utility companies. In the case above its S.C.E., and it has been brought to my attention that most of that information on what exactly is being paid to these big projects will not be “publicly available” to anyone for three years after the facility/project are online… Let me repeat this because I’m not sure you got this last part and the recording I had to divulge – net-metering for Joe-blow home owner pay’s roughly 10 percent of their average bill back in credits/money from the utility companies for additional power pushed back into their grid, while these big megawatt projects are or may be receiving substantially more. Is that fair to Joe-blow home owner, or Bob the small business man around the corner? If I’m right, then of course not.
Here are some current mega-high dollar megawatt farm locations that are either producing, under construction, or in permit and/or licensing stages:
Calico Solar San Bernardino County, about 37 miles east of Barstow, 17 miles east of Newberry Springs, 57 miles northeast of Victorville, and about 115 miles east of Los Angeles. 850 MW (Mega Watts)
o Info Link: http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/calicosolar/index.html
Abengoa Near Harper Dry Lake in an unincorporated area of San Bernardino County, halfway between Barstow and Kramer Junction, and about 9 miles northwest of Hinkley. 250 MW
o Info Links: http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/abengoa/index.html
Palen/ (Solar Millennium) Palen Solar Power Project About 10 miles east of Desert Center, along Interstate 10 halfway between the cities of Indio and Blythe, in Riverside County. 484 MW
o Info Link: http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/solar_millennium_palen/index.html
Blythe About 2 miles north of Interstate 10 and 8 miles west of Blythe in an unincorporated area of Riverside County. 1,000 MW. *additional info re: all solar projects can be obtained via www.energy.ca.gov
Ridgecrest On BLM lands immediately south of U.S. 395, 5 miles southwest of Ridgecrest in Kern County. 250 MW
Imperial Valley About 100 miles east of San Diego, 14 miles west of El Centro, and about 4 miles east of Ocotillo Wells in Imperial County. 750
Ivanpah The Mojave Desert, near the Nevada border, to the west of Ivanpah Dry Lake in San Bernardino County. It is 4.5 miles southwest of Primm, Nev., 3.1 miles west of the California-Nevada border. 392 MW
Genesis 25 miles west of Blythe in an undeveloped area of the Sonoran Desert, surrounded by the McCoy Mountains to the east, the Palen Mountains (including the Palen/McCoy Wilderness Area) to the north, and Ford Dry Lake, a dry lakebed, to the south. I-10 is south of the project. 250 MW
Beacon Solar 9 In Eastern Kern County on the western edge of the Mojave Desert along the California State Route 14 corridor, about 4 miles from California City and 15 miles from the town of Mojave. 250 MW
Rice Solar On private property surrounded by federally managed lands in eastern Riverside County adjacent to State Route 62. The nearest occupied residence is 15 miles northeast of the plant. The nearest town is Parker, Ariz., 32 miles east. 150
San Joaquin In Fresno County in the southern San Joaquin Valley, 6 miles east of the city of Coalinga. The proposed site is about 3 miles west of the intersection of Interstate 5 and West Jayne Avenue. 107 MW
Rio Mesa Solar Electric Generating Facility (SEGF)
Coalinga Chevron/Brightsource Solar-to-Steam Demonstration Facility
Hidden Hills Solar Electric Generating System (SEGS)
Please do not try to add up all the monies invested in these megawatt projects – it will hurt your brain…
Here is my main point and why I’m presenting this information to you…
Well, as you have realized thus far… PV SOLAR FARMING INITIATIVE (PVSFI) does NOT exist at all, but I believe it most definitely should have. So, Why can’t we all use our own inner city commercial and residential production of power to provide more electric power back to the power companies through their own grid (power lines above and below), and get paid the same as the big boys out in the desert? We can, and it shouldn’t be or cost as much as what these Mega-watt projects are charging and costing… In other countries across the globe home owners, and small to large commercial companies are given tariff’s that are 3 to 4 times plus the amount of what AB 920 (net metering) offers to us in the United States. Why continue on with the giant costs of installing huge megawatt projects for godly amounts of money out in our beautiful high deserts that is pissing off the locals/Indians, when it could and still can be easily done on your roof or your neighbors etc. in high populated and industrial areas? How are these large companies/projects out in the high deserts and abroad SEEM TO BE allowed to be paid larger sums or kick-backs “tariff’s” or several times more than an inner city suburban resident or commercial solar producer? There are so many other facilities amongst all the dense cities that really could have used these kick-backs and all those mega dollars such as low income housing, schools, etc. (http://goo.gl/i2YoE). Well, this is the biggest question(s) and why I am contacting, informing, and bring this knowledge to you all. It just doesn’t seem at all right that these huge projects/facilities continue disturbing sacred lands, disturbing wildlife, and basically disturbing the pristine beauty of our high desert ecosystems and at the same time get paid large sums of money to do so, while this could have easily been done in the inner cities. Why does the government/CPUC/ National Fish and Wildlife Foundation continue that impalement and bombardments of metal, construction and industry when the inner city or industrial areas that are already abused have millions of square feet roof space available for PV Solar and/or other types of solar/power generation. Could you just imagine the huge turbo boosting of jobs, goods & services, and commerce almost overnight if people knew they would be paid more or the same as what these other DRCEP projects are being paid? Here’s an interesting facet of the German renewable energy saga: 51% of all renewable energy in Germany is owned by individual citizens or farms, totaling $100 billion worth of private investment in clean energy. Am I interjecting an assumption to indicate that the high desert projects were fund-raisers investments for some legislatively connected lobbyist venture that may have just been found out. I don’t believe it is or was in everyone’s (American citizen’s of the three states) best interest and that they should continue. Reason being is that the ability to create a simple electrical grid monitoring system in the inner city, suburban, and inner city commercial and residential could have been done for much less than what the cost is to install DRCEP site. Heck, right now they are installing what they call smart meters now that regulate that information of power flow via wireless connection – meaning the technology has always been there, but they chose to build high dollar megawatt projects in the high desert anyway. And, here’s that question once again… if those big guys can do it, why can’t the little guys/everyone else that builds renewable energy on their roofs or property and be able to receive the same kickback/tariff’s – regardless of affiliation or project size. Right now California and many states abroad could use the giant influx of new jobs – this could have been the way to create those millions of jobs, and a way to dig us and possibly our country out of its depression (not a recession).
Most of all… What is the fail safe or back up plan if cyber thugs hack into the power grids across the country and turn off my Play-Station for good? Can I run solo with my solar – answer, not really. A brilliant man by the name of Peter Asmus along with some brilliant kids up in the bay area put together a proposal or a solution called Safety Net Solar and/or Community solar for public schools etc., but I’m not sure if that actually took hold. It should have! Besides all the many reasons why solar needs to be re-configured, re-systemized, and hopefully unstiffened – soon… It’s the small business owner with the home, the single mom or dad with a home, and/or a small business that should be paid higher “tariff’s,” not these multi-million dollar contracted companies out in the desert destroying Indian lands and precious wildlife – it’s already destroyed in high populated cities with miles and miles of roof and property space that would not or could not harm a single soul.
BTW, I am not a bill writer, and editor or a legislative lobby-er as I’m sure you can tell, but I do know how to dig for information that MAY make a difference, and I believe that what I now know here is the kind of information that people across this country, small solar installer companies, or end users should be informed about. Yah-see, the smaller solar contractors, installers, suppliers and manufactures across this state and country will be losing a great selling option when all the REC’s and incentive rebates disappear next year. The solar industry for the small guy will take a huge hit. Not to mention the fact that the utility companies and these big projects will continue to corner and monopolize solar power as it appears they are now. I have contact information with many I have spoken to and a few voice recorded messages to further validate what I have found. However, a more independent and more thorough investigation should ensue, and all the facts need to be brought to the attention of the people.
Recently, Judy Muller from KCET (local public broadcasting station in Southern California) attempted to do a story about the DRCEP, but mist the up-rights by a mile. Here’s a link: http://goo.gl/9Ss48 or http://www.kcet.org/shows/socal_connected/content/environment/desert-tortoise.html The real story is why are those agreements, contracts, and paperwork tied up for 3 years? Is the devil in the details? Listen, my goal isn’t about blowing any whistles or calling fouls, because there may not be any real law(s) broken here as set forth by legislators. Our only true goal is to make sure that the public understands why they were not given the same or remotely close opportunity to receive tariffs or basically the larger kick-backs from power companies that these big companies were able to and are receiving.
What’s fair – should be fair for all…
So, I must ask… Am I way off here or do I actually have a purpose that needs support?
Thank you for your time,