PSC Decision on "Fairness" Has Consequences for the Rest of Us

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Check out this great editorial by MREA Executive Director Nick Hylla in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal:

As the year draws to a close, it is becoming more and more apparent that 2014 will be remembered as a landmark year for renewable energy in the United States.

The current narrative is quite captivating — the rise of community solar, the utility death spiral, the Tesla Gigafactory, renewable energy "fairness," the value of solar, the Clean Power Plan, the shale revolution, the U.S.-China climate agreement, the end of cheap coal, fossil fuel divestment and more.

Interestingly, the Midwest surely will be of significant note. The Minnesota Clean Energy Jobs Act, the Iowa Supreme Court ruling on third party ownership and the Wisconsin utility rate cases all have set precedents with trajectories that will define whether our energy markets become more opaque, centralized and monopolized or more open, distributed and shared.

These developments are occurring amid a backdrop of growing public frustrations with the coordinated, special interest efforts to slow public and private investments in clean energy. The rate cases in Wisconsin demonstrate an especially alarming trend: the alignment of the manufacturing lobby behind the monopoly utilities' rate "fairness" campaign.

The investors in these industries both stand to garner significant returns as "pay for use" electricity markets are transformed into "pay for access" (like paying more to park in front of the gas pump than for the fuel itself). With increasing meter fees and decreasing use rates, utilities fix their profits and build financial incentives for increased energy use. Large energy users benefit as costs shift to the many meters attached to homes, businesses and municipalities.

Read the rest on JSOnline.com at the link below:

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration.