public utilities commission

Clean Energy

Property rights protected by Minnesota regulators

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Today, Minnesota regulators ruled in favor of consumers and their property rights when it comes to generating their own solar power. The issue at hand was a customer complaint brought to the Public Utilities Commission after the customer felt he was denied his rights to be compensated for generating his own energy under Minnesota law. The customer’s utility – Minnesota Valley Light and Power Association in Montevideo – had attempted to pay nothing for a significant amount of electricity and other system benefits his solar system would provide back to the grid.

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Energy Efficiency

Fresh Energy proposes decoupling, improved energy conservation for Otter Tail Power

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Today, Fresh Energy filed expert testimony in Otter Tail Power’s current rate case at the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), proposing a full revenue decoupling mechanism that could improve energy conservation investments for consumers. Otter Tail Power had proposed increasing the monthly customer charge from $8.50 to $13.30. Fresh Energy instead put forward a decoupling proposal that would help address Otter Tail Power’s concerns around stable revenue streams while allowing for substantial energy efficiency efforts and cost savings by the utility and its customers

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Energy Efficiency

Fresh Energy Welcomes Our Summer Fellows

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Fellows help power Fresh Energy programs – and provide professional experience to emerging clean energy leaders. This summer, Fresh Energy is excited to welcome our summer fellows Ana Diaz, Kate Strickland, and Saskia Zinn. We also recently said farewell to our spring fellow Dave Evans.

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Clean Energy

Regulators approve Minnesota Power’s utility controlled community solar program

solar home, family

Last week, Minnesota regulators approved a utility controlled community solar program for Minnesota Power, creating new options for utility customers and taking steps to grow the solar market in Northern Minnesota communities. While the program falls short of what Fresh Energy recommended, our coordinated efforts with other energy experts and local advocates improved upon the utility’s initial proposal.

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Global Warming

Public Utilities Commission protects customers from Minnesota Power’s aging coal plants

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On June 9, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted unanimously to approve Minnesota Power’s 15-year resource plan, requiring additional coal retirements and additional investments in wind, solar, and energy savings.

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Energy Efficiency

Fixed charged increase denied by Minnesota regulators

decoupling

Minnesota regulators have denied an increase to CenterPoint Energy’s monthly fixed charge, instead pointing to the company’s current decoupling policy as the best way to balance revenue requirements with energy savings.

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Global Warming

Nation-leading news: Judge recommends Minnesota use federal “social cost of carbon”

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A huge win for Minnesota on April 15 – a judge, after over a year of expert testimony, legal briefs, and public hearings, recommended to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that it adopt the federal “social cost of carbon” as the binding external cost of carbon dioxide emissions for all electric utility decision making. That means that the PUC (and the utilities that need the PUC to approve their spending plans) will have to include those very negative external costs in their calculations. As a result, fossil forms of electricity generation will be much more difficult to justify on economic terms.

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Energy Efficiency

Research shows utilities save even more with decoupling

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A recent article published in the Electricity Journal, co-authored by Fresh Energy and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), shows that utilities with decoupling policies are putting more money into energy efficiency and achieving greater energy savings.

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Clean Energy

Statement on Matt Schuerger’s appointment to the Public Utilities Commission

Schuerger

“Matt Schuerger is both an electrical engineer and a mechanical engineer, making him a clear-eyed practical realist who will prioritize keeping energy reliable and affordable as utilities continue on the well-trod path of driving fossil fuels out of the power sector, consistent with Governor Dayton’s vision and state statutory goals. All of the industry leaders, government employees and advocacy groups who have worked with Matt Schuerger have the highest respect for him.”

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