Tag: "feed-in tariff"

04/17/12

  04:27:00 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 729 words  
Categories: LADWP, Feed-in Tariff

LADWP Board Approves FiT Demo

LADWP’s Board of Commissioners voted today to approve the Solar Feed-in Tariff (FiT) Demonstration program. The vote clears the way for the program to begin immediately and workshops explaining the application process are taking place this week and next.

Here is the full text of LADWP’s press release issued today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    DATE: April 17, 2012 3:38:42 PM PDT

Board of Water and Power Commissioners Approve LADWP Solar Feed-in-Tariff Demonstration Program

New Program Expands Ability to Tap into City’s Abundant Sunshine

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Board of Water and Power Commissioners today approved the creation of a Solar Feed-in Tariff (FiT) Demonstration Program for 10 megawatts (MW) of solar power, further opening up solar power generation to a broad array of customers and solar developers in Los Angeles.

A workshop is scheduled tonight at LADWP’s downtown headquarters to ensure that interested participants understand how the new program will work. Additional workshops are slated for Thursday afternoon at the Century Plaza Towers and April 24 in Bishop for those interested in developing solar in LADWP’s Owens Valley service area.

The FiT Demonstration Program will allow solar power to be developed by third-parties and then sold to LADWP for distribution on the city’s power grid. Once the initial 10 MW of solar has been deployed, LADWP will roll out a program of between 75 MW and 150 MW based on information learned from the demonstration phase, rate support and stakeholder input.

“We are blessed with sunshine nearly year-round here in Los Angeles so starting this program has been a priority for this Board and the Department,” said Board President Thomas S. Sayles. “Tapping into local solar power is the right approach for Los Angeles as we increase green energy in our power mix and work to comply with state mandates that set renewable energy levels.”

The Los Angeles City Council previously gave its blessing of LADWP’s FiT Demonstration Program by adopting an ordinance that gives LADWP’s Board of Water and Power Commissioners administrative discretion to enter into the many long-term standard contracts that previously required a more lengthy process of Council approval. The action also permits the Board to delegate that authority to LADWP General Manager Ronald O. Nichols. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed the ordinance last Thursday.

The LADWP Board today approved the FiT Demonstration Program Guidelines, along with the standard purchase agreement and interconnection agreement that will be required of FiT projects. The Board’s action also delegated authority for General Manager Nichols to approve the FiT contracts.

The FiT Demonstration Program will allow third-parties to generate solar from small and medium-scale projects, and sell the power to LADWP for distribution on the electric grid. Projects will be selected based on competitive bids, which will determine a set contract price per kilowatt-hour, for up to 20 years. The program will set aside a prescribed amount of smaller and larger solar generation projects.

The new program will complement LADWP’s existing Solar Incentive Program, an incentive-based, net-meter program. Through the net-meter program, customers displace energy that would otherwise be supplied by LADWP and receive a credit on their bill for solar generation that exceeds the amount of energy they consume.

“In addition to residential customers, the FiT program will open up local solar development to rooftop real estate, such as warehouses, multi-family developments and other large rooftop structures beyond those that currently benefit from our Solar Incentive Program,” said Aram Benyamin, Senior Assistant General Manager, LADWP Power System.

“The fact that we’ve received a tremendous amount of interest from folks wanting to attend the workshops confirms just how vital this program is for Los Angeles,” Mr. Benyamin added.

In developing the FiT Demonstration Program, LADWP incorporated key feedback received during a series of public workshops over the past year. LADWP also took from lessons learned by other national and international FiT programs.

The FiT workshops are designed for interested persons and prospective bidders to explain the bidding and contracting process prior to accepting project proposals/bids in May. Dates and locations of the workshops are as follows:


Downtown Los Angeles
Tuesday, April 17 – 6:30 p.m.
LADWP Headquarters
111 North Hope Street
A-Level Auditorium
Los Angeles, CA 90012


West Los Angeles
Thursday, April 19 – 2:00 p.m.
Century Plaza Towers
2049 Century Park East
Concourse Level, Conference Room A/B
Los Angeles, CA 90067
RSVP closed - meeting at capacity


Owens Valley
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - 6:30 p.m.
First United Methodist Church
205 North Fowler Street
Bishop, CA 93514
RSVP Owens Valley Workshop


For additional information on solar power in the City of Los Angeles, please click the following links:

The Department’s solar webpage, www.LADWP.com/solar
More about the FiT program, www.LADWP.com/FiT


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04/11/12

  03:12:00 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 205 words  
Categories: LADWP, Feed-in Tariff

LADWP Launches FiT Demo - UPDATED

UPDATE - LADWP has made available a webinar hook-up for this meeting so you can participate without the hassle of driving into downtown LA.

To access the webinar, click here: LADWP FiT Workshop Webinar.


It is official - LADWP is formally launching its Feed-in Tariff Demo Program with a series of workshops to be held over the next two weeks.

We have written at length about the work that has been done to develop a feed-in tariff program at LADWP.  Last week the Los Angeles City Council approved the demonstration phase of the program and the workshops next week are designed to give potential participants the information that they will need to submit program applications.  We will be attending the first of these meetings and we will report back afterwards.

Here’s the schedule and contact information:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012
 6:30 p.m.

LADWP Headquarters
111 North Hope Street
A-Level Auditorium
Los Angeles, CA 90012

RSVP Downtown LA Area Workshop
(200 guests maximum)
 
 
Thursday, April 19, 2012
 2:00 p.m.
Century Plaza Towers
2049 Century Park East
Concourse Level
Conference Room A/B
Los Angeles, CA  90067

RSVP Century City Workshop
(100 guests maximum)
 
 
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
 6:30 p.m.
United Methodist Church
205 North Fowler Street
Bishop, CA 93514

RSVP Owens Valley Area Workshop
 

Will you be attending?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

12/04/11

  12:10:00 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 325 words  
Categories: LADWP Rebates, LADWP, Feed-in Tariff

LADWP Commissioners Revisit RPS and with it the FiT?

Next Tuesday, December 6th at 11:30 a.m., the LADWP Board of Commissioners will host a special meeting to discuss the LADWP’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) Policy and Enforcement. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at LADWP Headquarters in downtown LA (111 N Hill Street) in Room 1555-H.

Some in the renewable energy community are viewing this meeting as one of the last, best chances to modify the proposed LADWP Feed-in Tariff program that has been under consideration now for months.  As Michelle Garakian of the LA Business Council put it in an email to FiT supporters, “This is another crucial opportunity to make sure we have a real meaningful Solar feed-in tariff here in Los Angeles.”

The meeting comes after LADWP received substantial criticism of its proposed FiT demonstration program as being too timid and inconsistent with the state’s legal mandates, as well as the release of a major study from UCLA and USC that found that a greatly expanded FiT would find a ready workforce in the area.  State Senator Gloria McLeod (D-32SD), author of SB 32 which creates the statewide FiT mandate, has also been critical of the LADWP approach, noting that it “ignores the intent behind the legislation and diminishes its potential."  (The lawyer in me cannot fail to note that when a legislator says an action “ignores the intent” of the law, they are effectively conceding that the proposed action is legal.)

We have noted previously that LADWP staff appears completely committed to pursuing its demonstration phase as proposed regardless of the pushback from the community.  Armed with a legal opinion that says that their “price exploration process” is consistent with SB 32, it is hard to imagine them changing course at this point.  It will be interesting to see if Tuesday’s meeting shows any softening in that position.

We will report back after the meeting.  If you are attending, please take a moment to come up and say hello.

11/21/11

  07:49:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 588 words  
Categories: PWP, SCE, LADWP, Feed-in Tariff

Solar in LA - Leader or Laggard?

Everyone knows that the Los Angeles Basis is blessed with a near year-round abundance of sunshine. Everyone also knows that LA is a power-hungry region demanding between 4,000 to 5,000 megawatts peak power depending on the season (and anticipated to increase to 6,500 megawatts by 2020). Given that, the marriage of solar power to meet LA’s needs should be a no-brainer. So what’s the hold-up? Why are we so far behind?

A new joint study out from UCLA and USC titled “Empowering LA’s Solar Workforce” places the blame on a failure of policy leadership:

Unless civic leaders ramp up efforts to expand solar programs, the city and region face the prospect of being left behind, as other municipalities and other regions move forward on solar power and clean energy programs. In fact, while a recent study showed that one-quarter of all solar energy jobs in the nation are in California, there is a very real risk of those jobs (and others yet to be created) fleeing to other places. This report is, above all, a wake-up call to policymakers to make certain they are utilizing an important workforce segment – and creating policies that will put qualified people to work. In Los Angeles, the policy mandate is clear: the LA DWP must move forward swiftly on a comprehensive FiT [Feed-in Tariff] program.

By any measure, the region’s utilities are just not getting the job done.  This table shows the status of statewide solar program targets and progress toward completion for the seven utilities in the area:

Progress on Solar goals by utility LA County

SCE and our own Pasadena Water & Power lead the way at 20% and 16% of SB1’s targets being achieved, with the rest falling far behind.  But given its enormous size compared to all of the other munis, LADWP’s failure to lead at only 6% achieved is beyond disappointing.

Clearly the failing here is not for a lack of available human resources.  The report correctly notes that Los Angeles has a substantial population of workers who have been trained - thanks to innovative programs from organizations like Homeboy Industries, LA IBEW11/NECA and community colleges - but not fully employed in the solar industry due to a lack of proper policies to spur the growth of local solar installations.  While LADWP has focused on utility scale installations in remote areas, it has lagged behind on installations that could be done right now in communities all across the city.  A greatly expanded FiT would allow solar developers to match up high solar potential project areas with high employment need areas.

Here’s another way to gauge progress - how much solar power per customer has each utility installed?  Again, LADWP is lagging far behind:

Installed solar per customer by utility

Again, SCE leads the way with 119 Watts per customer installed.  PWP is in the middle of the pack at 36.8 whereas LADWP has less than half that much (and not even a sixth of SCE’s total) at a measly 18.25 Watts per customer.

Faced with such dismal statistics, this is no time for short-sighted measures, but the timid, 6 MW demonstration program being presently contemplated by LADWP is far too meager to make a dent in this need.  To the contrary, the report argues that a 600 MW FiT program should be implemented over the next ten years.  According to the report, such a FiT must: “1) have a fixed price; 2) offer the program to participants on a first come, first serve basis; 3) have a simple application process; and 4) incur minimal administrative costs."  Such a program would create good-paying local jobs and help the region meet its energy needs while protecting the environment.

We couldn’t agree more.

11/03/11

  05:38:00 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 549 words  
Categories: LADWP, Feed-in Tariff

LADWP FiT Hearing Follow-up

On Wednesday, November 2, 2011, the Los Angeles City Council debated the merits of LADWP’s so-called Feed-in Tariff program, specifically whether the demonstration program met SB 32 requirements.  We attended and spoke (sorta) at the hearing and here is our report.

The FiT hearing was item 32 on the Council’s agenda which meant that an hour elapsed before the item was called.  By that time, 21 people had submitted cards indicating that they wanted to be heard on the item.  The Council’s response to this concrete demonstration of public interest in the topic was to cut the time for each commenter in half - to just one minute apiece.  (Strangely, none of the Council members who spoke so limited their time - yet they are the ones being paid to attend the meeting.  For all of the rest of us, this was time taken away from earning a living.  But I digress.)

First up, however, LADWP spoke about the state of the program with brief presentations by Ron Nichols (DWP Head) and Mike Webster (Head of the FiT program).  Priscila Castillo spoke on behalf of the City Attorney’s office to explain why she believed that LADWP had the discretion to use the proposed bidding scheme to set the price to be paid for energy produced instead of offering a fixed set price at the outset.

The speakers, including myself, were generally supportive of the FiT concept, but critical of the demonstration approach.  (You can see my prepared comments - only half of which I had time to deliver - here. Note to self: must talk faster!)

The Council debate, such as it was, was largely muted and at times incoherent.  (One Councilmember, particularly well known for being both ill-informed and arrogant at the same time, rambled at some length prompting the lady next to me to exclaim: “He really doesn’t know what he’s talking about, does he?")

Three members of the Council, however, really did seem to get it and pushed hard on the DWP representatives to move this process forward: Eric Garcetti, Tony Cardenas and Jan Perry.  Garcetti cautioned DWP against letting the “perfect be the enemy of the good” and encouraged them to accelerate the process of getting the full-scale FiT program in place.  Cardenas reminded relative newcomer Nichols of the problems the Council has had in the past in getting results out of DWP.  (To which Nichols responded, “That was then and this is now.")  It was also Cardenas who extracted from DWP a promise to come forward with their plan for full FiT implementation within the next 30 days.

Jan Perry wrapped up the debate by promising to take the matter back to the Energy & Environment Committee (which she Chairs) and will convene another meeting between DWP and interested Stakeholders (possibly to include those of us who were trying to make nuanced points in sixty seconds) most likely after Thanksgiving.   (To her credit, Ms. Perry had her Aide, Mike Hernandez, come up to me after I spoke and encouraged me to forward my full comments to him so that he could provide them to the Councilmember - much appreciated.)

If and when that meeting is held, we will post again about any changes that might be put in place.  A vote on the overall program is likely between now and the end of the year.

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Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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