Rooftop Solar Brings Much Needed Competition into Maine’s Electric Grid
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In a recent opinion article in the Bangor Daily News, ReVision Energy Co-founder Bill Behrens penned a response to the idea that Maine should be looking to utility-scale projects as our most effective way to bring solar into the state and to drive down solar costs. Read the excerpt below and then follow the link at then end to read the whole article.
Maine has an opportunity to evolve its old monopoly electric grid into a new competitive smart grid made up of an interactive, bidirectional network of energy producers and consumers.
Instead of being just energy takers — at rates we cannot control — Maine ratepayers under this new grid paradigm will use their own energy assets of distributed generation, storage, efficient appliances, software controls and backup power, according to price signals enabled by real-time communication and data transfer. Maine ratepayers have already paid for the state’s utilities to install much of the necessary smart grid hardware to allow customers to participate in the energy marketplace, but allowing customers to use this infrastructure is critical to our energy future. When we open the grid to customer participation, we create a competitive marketplace, organizing new ideas and technologies that bring efficiency to a system that has become outdated, overbuilt and far too costly.
The decision to adopt a modern and open electric grid or keep it closed to true competition is being made right now, and it’s critically important that Maine’s leadership gets it right. Now is the time to adapt our grid into a platform that delivers value to ratepayers rather than allowing it to remain little more than a vehicle to deliver guaranteed returns to corporate utility shareholders. Locking in the old grid model resigns Maine to a last place position on energy independence and security.
Comprehensive grid modernization that encourages consumer-owned solar generation, as well as many other new distributed energy technologies, is an opportunity to unleash thousands of new jobs, reduce costs for ratepayers and keep our energy dollars in the local economy.