FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: John Hansen 402-476-8815 Office or 402-580-8815 Cell www.nebraskafarmersunion.org
July 22, 2020 LINCOLN, NE – Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) supports last Thursday’s decision of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to unanimously reject a New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) petition that declared all state solar net-metering policies illegal.
Matt Gregory, Nebraska Farmers Union’s Clean Energy Advocate, agreed with the ruling, saying “individual states, not FERC, should not have jurisdiction over net-metering policies. There should not be a one-size-fits-all approach to net-metering with the variation among states and utilities, particularly for Nebraska which is the only 100% public power state in the Union.”
The NERA petition submitted to FERC drew widespread opposition from solar and environmental groups as well as state regulators and lawmakers, who argued that it could undermine longstanding net metering regimes that are central to state-by-state energy and environmental goals. Net metering has provided an opportunity for the excess generation from small-scale solar to be placed back on the electric grid, serving nearby load while ensuring that clean electricity generated by these systems does not go to waste.
Nebraska Farmers Union worked for years to establish state net metering authority that was finally authorized by the Nebraska Legislature in 2009 with the passage of LB 436. NeFU strongly believes that net metering and solar energy development – whether it is utility-scale, community-driven or residential – are an important form of renewable energy-based economic development and that regulations and fees that hinder them should be removed, not added.
Net metering regulates the small wind or solar renewable energy projects developed by individual home owners, small business and farmers and ranchers that involve the connection protocol between them and their public power supplier.
NeFU President John Hansen, in NeFU’s letter to FERC, noted that “Removing authority from the states would also eliminate the ability of state legislators and regulators to work with local stakeholders to set policy that will support economic growth while producing a net benefit for ratepayers.”
Hansen concluded “For many states, this anti-net metering petition would have had a significant impact on net metered facilities, as it would set pricing for generation at avoided cost rather than the carefully tailored pricing set by state policymakers in collaboration with other stakeholders. This petition would have fundamentally altered net metering, threatening its efficacy in enabling consumers to reduce their energy bills through investments in small-scale renewable energy. We applaud FERC for their decision to deny this anti-net metering petition.”
Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 4,000 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities. Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.