Court blocks solar cutback by We Energies, Wisconsin PSC

Dive Brief:

  • We Energies, Wisconsin’s biggest utility, and renewables advocate Renew Wisconsin got a split legal decision when a County Judge ruled it acceptable for the state Public Service Commission to lower the size of solar systems that can earn the net energy metering benefit but said the decision had been made on insufficient evidence.
  • This court fight is the latest in a series of contentions between the utility and environmentalists over solar, including the question of whether solar owners should pay an extra fixed infrastructure fee and the question of whether the utility should provide incentive support for larger solar systems on buildings occupied by schools, churches, and non-profit organizations.
  • We Energies is concerned with the extra costs to its system imposed by solar but Renew Wisconsin argues that solar and other distributed generation add benefits that outweigh costs.

Dive Insight:

In the last rate case, the PSC approved a doubling to all We Energies customers of the on-bill charge commonly used to cover utility infrastructure costs.

The PSC has tended to favor We Energies requests to limit the growth of renewables and it is anticipated the commission will revisit the decision and provide the requisite evidence to keep the limit on net metered systems in place.

The utility and renewables advocates remain at odds over the whether the PSC should approve third party funded solar and, in other states where regulators could not resolve similar contentions, they went to legislators.

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Filed Under: Generation Regulation & Policy
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