Nevada lawmakers consider bill to restore retail net metering
- A Democratic lawmaker from Las Vegas has introduced a bill that would restore net metering to all customers, sets a floor rate they would be paid for the energy they export, and also calls for a value to be placed on solar's environmental benefits.
- AB 270, introduced by Assemblyman Justin Watkins (D), will direct regulators to revisit the value of solar debate, but requires a base export rate of at least $0.09/kWh. According to the Las Vegas Sun, the measure also calls for a $0.02/kWh value on the environmental benefits.
- In 2015, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada eliminated net metering and replaced it with a lower rate, alongside fees; regulators subsequently grandfathered in existing customers, but the impacts on new customers have hurt solar businesses in the state.
Net metering has been a controversial topic in Nevada for the past couple of years, and Watkins told the Las Vegas Sun he is well aware passing the legislation will be difficult. But he also told the newspaper, "I think the policy here is one of the most important policy decisions we’ll be making in this session."
The law would help grow clean energy jobs and boost renewable energy, he said, adding he intends to meet with all stakeholders involved.
Following public outcry over the PUCN's 2015 net metering decision, NV Energy collaborated with solar interests, including SolarCity, to come up with a grandfathering proposal. Then, regulators voted to restore retail rate net metering to customers in Sierra Pacific Power's service territory.
The unpopular decision led two solar developers to exit the state and national wave of backlash slammed the decision, leading the governor to form an energy task force. Two commissioners were also not reappointed.
According to the Watkins' bill, utilities would be "required to offer net metering to customer-generators operating in the service territory of the utility under the tariffs, rates and charges in effect before the passage of S.B. 374," the law passed to direct the PUC to come up with a successor net metering tariff.
The Sun also reported Tesla plans to float an amendment addressing variable rates for energy storage, while NV Energy is expected to add an amendment detailing a competitive bidding process addressing private generation in some locations.
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