Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and members of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY) are calling for improvements to New York's regulatory mechanisms for on-site renewable energy generation, placing particular emphasis on the need to raise the limits on utilities' net-metering programs.
New York's net-metering law allows customers with an on-site renewable energy system to receive credits on their utility bills for any unused power supplied by the system to the electric grid. Without net metering, the financial attractiveness of investing in on-site clean energy generation is severely reduced, ACE NY says.
Each of the regulated utilities under the jurisdiction of the NYS Public Service Commission (PSC) has a cap on net-metered systems set by statute that the PSC can raise. In July, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. surpassed its 12 MW limit on net-metered systems and issued a brief moratorium on its net-metering program, which was lifted on Aug. 3 while awaiting formal rulemaking by the PSC.
"Successful policies like net metering have been a driving force for growth in the solar and small wind industries, and letting them become entangled in red tape threatens to undermine the opportunities for increased investment and new jobs," explains Carol E. Murphy, executive director of ACE NY.
"Considering that increasing the use of on-site renewable energy is necessary if we are to meet the state's clean energy goals, especially those of the customer-sited tier of the renewable portfolio standard and Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo's new NY-Sun program, crucial policies like net metering cannot have a start-and-stop nature. We need to anticipate growth and allow this industry to reach its full potential."
Net metering has also drawn attention in nearby states: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick recently signed into law a measure that raises the commonwealth's net-metering cap.