Power Grid Opens Up More To Clean Energy

The folks at Vote Solar aren’t myopic. They acknowledge that “there are plenty of not-so-sunny renewable policy news headlines” these days. And yet they’re happy to report that the new, 2010 edition of their policy guide “Freeing the Grid” is not a compendium of doom and gloom.

In fact, the guide shows steady progress is being made by states on issues such as net metering rules, where 37 states now get A or B grades on their policies regarding letting electric meters – including large commercial and industrial customers’ – spin backward. Back in 2007, just 13 states did that well.

Freeing the Grid, solar policy guide, Vote Solar

image via Vote Solar

And when it comes to easing the process for connecting a renewable system to the grid, “Freeing the Grid” hands out A and B grades to 20 states. That means these states are doing things like setting fees that are proportional to the project, adopting plug-and-play rules for residential-scale systems and expedited procedures for other systems, and not requiring additional insurance. In 2007, just one state graded well on interconnection.

To see how your state did – and to see why Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles and Utah Clean Energy’s Sara Baldwin are “Freeing the Grid” heroes –  check out the PDF of the full report. The guide is produced by Vote Solar, Network for New Energy Choice, Interstate Renewable Energy Council and the North Carolina Solar Center.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.