Pennsylvania PUC Proposal Jeopardizes Farm Digester Use Of Net Metering — Comments due by 9/3/14

anaerobic digester, on farm, renewable energy, manure, food wasteA proposal by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PA PUC) — Docket L-2014-2404361 “Proposed Net Metering Changes” — would limit the amount of excess energy a farm can sell to utilities through net metering*. The purpose of the proposed changes, in a nutshell, is to the level the playing field among retail renewable energy sellers and payers. Farm-based anaerobic digesters are included in that category, along with solar and wind power distributed energy generators. Areas of significant concern to farm digester operators in Pennsylvania, and related stakeholders in the dairy and other livestock industries, are:

• Requirement that alternative energy system must be sized to generate no more than 110% of the customer-generator’s annual electric consumption at the interconnection meter location when combined with all qualifying virtual meter aggregation locations.

• An alternative energy system with a nameplate capacity of 500 kilowatts or greater must have Commission approval for net metering.

• For customer-generators involved in virtual meter aggregation programs, a credit shall be applied first to the meter through which the generating facility supplies electricity to the distribution system, then through the remaining meters for the customer-generator’s account equally at each meter’s designated rate.

Unlike solar and wind power generators, anaerobic digesters on farms are installed primarily for manure management and not solely to produce energy. However, sale of excess electricity to the utility is financially critical to many farms that have installed digesters.

The public comment period was extended until September 3, 2014.

Review comments already submitted

Submit comments, referencing Docket L-2014-2404361, to:
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
400 North Street
PO Box 3265
Harrisburg, PA 17105-3265

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