Op-ed: Solar adoption in Utah

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  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    Aug. 11, 2017 1:23 p.m.

    To "MikRo" actually no if something is profitable, a company will invest in it. Especially where this is a power company that wants to stay in the good graces of the environmentalist movement.

  • MikRo Draper, UT
    Aug. 10, 2017 4:56 p.m.

    RedShirt asked, "...if solar power is such a great idea, why isn't RMP looking to finance it themselves?" Because Berkshire-Hathaway owns the entire power infrastructure: distribution, production, coal mines, and the railroads that haul the coal. They make far more profit from that than they ever could from solar. Making money from an existing infrastructure is far more profitable than investing in new technology.

    Lagomoprh mentions: "...RMP has to recoup the costs of buying excess production from solar customers at retail rates." Here's an interesting note: Except in areas where private solar investment is quite high, any excess electricity goes out to the corner of the solar home owner's lot, across a couple of bolts owned by RMP, and into the non-solar neighbor's house. It costs RMP literally nothing for that electricity but they charge the neighbor full price (likely at the highest rate). Later, when demand has gone down and solar production has eased off, the solar customer consumes electricity that is much cheaper for RMP to produce but for which they still charge the highest rate (because they do not have a time-of-day rate schedule). So RMP makes even more profit.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 9, 2017 4:44 p.m.

    To "Lagomorph" actually it isn't unprecedented. There are multiple times throughout the Earth's geological history that we have evidence of faster changes to temperature.

    Think about this, if solar power is such a great idea, why isn't RMP looking to finance it themselves? Why do they get private people to buy them and install them, rather than doing it themselves?

  • 112358 Alpine, UT
    Aug. 9, 2017 2:53 p.m.

    Remember when Al Gore told us that the Kilimanjaro would be snow free by 2015? Wrong. Remember what ABC News told us about global warming: "New York City underwater? Gas over $9 a gallon? A carton of milk costs almost $13? Welcome to June 12, 2015." All wrong. Yet the sneering condescension towards any who don't believe these apocalyptic predictions continues.

    True science embraces dissent. Left wing politics suppresses dissent. Those predictions were all wildly wrong because they were driven by left wing politics, and not open scientific dialog.

    With that in mind, the idea that the snowpack three years hence will be affected in any meaningful way by RMP's metering policy is absurd.

    If you truly want to reduce emissions, adopt nuclear power. It's the one proven method that will dramatically reduce emissions. But energy policy is more about politics than anything else, so the political left refuses to seriously look at the most effective solution to lowering emissions.

  • Kralon HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA
    Aug. 9, 2017 1:28 p.m.

    Nuclear energy is a better option than solar because it would have a larger impact. And, the U.S. could us CANDU reactors which could use the U.S.'s existing nuclear waste as fuel. CANDU reactors could also be built near existing nuclear waste so it wouldn't have to be transported very far. People forget that solar energy installations also requires mining, manufacturing and disposal.

    Because of idiotic fear of nuclear power the U.S. is 30 years behind in nuclear plant design. There are currently many safe and tested nuclear plant designs that would have a much larger impact on global warming than solar energy installations.

    As an example of hysteria about nuclear power you should bear in mind that the 3-mile island nuclear "disaster" was of so little consequence, that if you had stood at the inner fence of 3-mile island and let the released, radioactive steam envelope you, you would have received less radiation exposure than from taking one plane trip from L.A. to New York.

  • Red Smith American Fork, UT
    Aug. 9, 2017 1:13 p.m.

    Time to break up the Power Monopolies. Too many power companies owned by Warren Buffett's Birkshire Hathaway.

    He buy's power companies, lowers wages, increases power rates and complains he does not pay enough taxes.

    Time to have a choice in power providers.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2017 12:57 p.m.

    RedShirt: “Yes the climate is changing, just as it always has and always will.”

    The rate of change is the significant factor today. The dT/dt is unprecedented in human history.

    Now, as RMP is presenting its solar fees to the PSC, can someone give an honest accounting of what additional costs consumer rooftop solar imposes on the utility?

    A new meter is required, but I paid for mine as part of the rooftop installation. RMP sent an inspector to approve the installation and had to tweak its billing software to handle two numbers (solar production and grid consumption); that is OK with me to include in RMP’s proposed $65 one-time conversion charge. But what else is there? Does RMP need to install new transmission lines, substations, or other hardware to handle the extra electrons solar pumps into the grid lines? I already pay $6/month for the grid connection.

    All I have heard is that RMP has to recoup the costs of buying excess production from solar customers at retail rates. This is a variable entity, varying from customer to customer (depending on the size of their systems) and seasonally. So how does a flat monthly fee address this fairly?

  • MikRo Draper, UT
    Aug. 9, 2017 12:53 p.m.

    Unfortunately, just being a Clean Energy Utah will not really help much at all. So much of our air pollution comes in from the West Coast and beyond and then gets caught up along the Wasatch Range. Anyone who, during the winter, has driven along I-80 between Toelle and Wendover and been buried in smog so dense that driving 30 MPH is scary has to wonder where all that dirty air was born. Wendover, Elko, Winnemucca, etc. don't produce that stuff. And our winds are always coming from the west so it's not Salt Lake's bad air. Tests have even shown pollution from China stops by for a visit frequently!

    If we're going to clean up our air, we're going to have to get the cooperation of, literally, the rest of the world. Good luck! That'll be like spittin' in the wind!

    p.s. We've had nice solar panel production at our home since 2010 so we're trying to do our part.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 9, 2017 7:49 a.m.

    Yes the climate is changing, just as it always has and always will.

    Also, if Climate Change really was caused by man, don't you think that its leading advocates would be examples in their lifestyles? Don't you think that Al Gore would be living in a modest home instead of owning a large mansion that uses more power than multiple homes do per year? Liberals always say follow the money, well, when you follow the alarmist money it seems a lot ends up in Al Gore's pockets.

    Also, if we were really serious about reducing emissions, why is it that Nuclear Power is not put into the mix? There are small nuclear power plants that have been designed for small utility scale generation. They don't use much water, and they produce power 24/7. The great thing is that the fuel is recyclable, giving us power for centuries to come.

  • SMcloud Sandy, UT
    Aug. 9, 2017 1:37 a.m.

    Supporting solar is a good idea - it's good for the environment and paves the way for this technology to get cheaper and more accessible.

    We need to start thinking about the future - not doubling down on fossil fuels but developing new forms of energy that have less of a footprint on the planet. Not only will it be better for our planet, but it reduces the power of oil producing nations, like Russia and Saudi Arabia.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Aug. 8, 2017 7:49 p.m.

    Once ya learn the score. Then ya try to find out what ya can control. When ya shut off some stuff an ya see the bill start to go down to find out your power company is raising the rate. Then your water cost is going to go up. No coincidence there.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Aug. 8, 2017 3:38 p.m.

    RMP is a monopoly that doesn't want to give up market share and profits. Execs are paid off of revenue. They don't have the best interests of Utahn's or the planet at heart. It's all about the bucks.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2017 2:33 p.m.

    Why does Rocky Mtn Power spend big bucks on TV advertisements encouraging energy conservation when the other side of their mouth wants to make it difficult for a citizen to help contribute to the energy supply? Is Rocky Mtn Power a public utility or not?