A few weeks ago solar lost a big battle to old power in one of the sunniest states in the nation. Warren Buffett’s NV Energy had proposed, and won, new net metering policies in Nevada which essentially disincentivize homeowners from going solar. In fact, those who had elected to put solar on their homes are now paying more than had they never installed panels. Seems a bit unfair. Worse yet, it seems contrary to fighting climate change through renewable technologies.
Truth be told, NV Energy’s bottom line was being pinched by a growing base of solar-generated electricity feeding the grid, particularly during peak use times. As solar generated electricity increases, NV Energy revenues decrease-a phenomena taking place across the country. And selling less fossil fuel-generated power cuts into a utility’s profits, which is unacceptable to an industry accustomed to being your sole electricity provider.
There have been other renewable energy battles waged by old utility companies around the country in recent months. Just this past week the California Public Utilities Commission upheld net metering policies for four more years by a narrow 3-2 vote. Narrow, because this is the state of California. And last week the Supreme Court upheld Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) jurisdiction over demand response, ensuring large consumers of energy are compensated for cutting back energy usage during peak times.
What’s happening in Nevada and across the globe is a significant disruption of the status quo by a new energy model, one driven by advancements in technology and a planet growing hotter and more inhospitable by the minute. The time is upon us where the old models of electrical energy generation are being shattered as new technologies and an awakened climate change sensitive global community say enough is enough. In the words of David Bowie, “Ch-ch-ch-ch changes, Turn and face the strange”.