29 June 2017

A regulator attacks solar energy in Montana

"Montana’s new terms for small solar projects might have been knowingly set to discourage development, based on a conversation caught last week on a hot mic.
Speaking with staff during a mid-session break, Public Service Commissioner Bob Lake acknowledged that cuts made that morning to rates and contracts offered to small renewable energy projects are likely deep enough to kill future development. By federal law, the commission’s actions were supposed to promote renewable energy...

It’s the contract talk that piqued the interest of attorney Jenny Harbine, who represents Vote Solar and the Montana Environmental Information Center. Setting a contract that’s unworkable for the small renewable energy projects violates PURPA, Harbine said on Monday. Harbine plans to file a motion to get the PSC to reconsider."
Details at the Billings Gazette source.  In the discussion thread at the Futurology subreddit, this act is described as "corruption, pure and simple."


  1. Does this at all really surprise anyone? The solar industry immediately effects competing power industries like oil, coal, etc. These industries are cemented deep into the foundation of the United States, but that foundation is starting to crack and whither. And these industries will do everything within their power to fight the competition, at any cost. Anyone who's pockets are getting lighter as a result of solar expansion isn't going to take it sitting down. Remember people, the powers that be while they "pretend" to care about this planet, are only concerned with what keeps the money coming in...

  2. The well orchestrated attack may not be surprising but the inverse support for renewable's (among other energy variations) is heartening.

    Sarah Chayes is an expert on corruption. Her most recent work, in conjunction with Zephyr Teachout, is called "Corruption: The Operating System". In the event, aired on youtube she directly talks about energy & pricing schemes.


  3. This is just the latest of a long national string of actions, mostly funded by the Koch brothers and their ilk, to use regulation to make alternative energy non-competitive. The most common tactic, which happens all over the country, is to lower the rate at which people with surplus generating capacity of alternative energy can sell it to the power companies, until the financial basis for investing in alternative energy is destroyed.


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