Article

Portsmouth wins wind turbine rate case

Eventually the system was simplified, in a manner approved by National Grid and the state, to have the town paid a monthly check for the power produced. The complaint argued that the arrangement actually made the town turbine a wholesale producer.

PORTSMOUTH - The town has not been charging too much for the wind turbine electricity it sells back to the grid after all, the state Division of Public Utilities and Carriers ruled this week.

"That's fabulous news," said Assistant Town Planner Gary Crosby, the man who does much of the turbine-related work for the town.

The state regulator's decision states that ... "the Town of Portsmouth has not, and is not currently, receiving an excessive rate for the output it sells back to National Grid."

Called for comment after the ruling, Mr. Crosby said it is a victory not only for Portsmouth but also for other communities that are considering building a turbine of their own. One indicator of its importance is that others signed on to ‘intervene' in support of the town's court case.

The case dates back to May 2010 when a Newport ratepayer filed a complaint stating that Portsmouth was receiving the more lucrative ‘net metering' rate for its power when in reality it should be getting the same ‘wholesale' rate that producers like Brayton Point get. The complaint asked that the practice be stopped and ratepayers reimbursed.

When Portsmouth put up its turbine, it was designed to be... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

PORTSMOUTH - The town has not been charging too much for the wind turbine electricity it sells back to the grid after all, the state Division of Public Utilities and Carriers ruled this week.

"That's fabulous news," said Assistant Town Planner Gary Crosby, the man who does much of the turbine-related work for the town.

The state regulator's decision states that ... "the Town of Portsmouth has not, and is not currently, receiving an excessive rate for the output it sells back to National Grid."

Called for comment after the ruling, Mr. Crosby said it is a victory not only for Portsmouth but also for other communities that are considering building a turbine of their own. One indicator of its importance is that others signed on to ‘intervene' in support of the town's court case.

The case dates back to May 2010 when a Newport ratepayer filed a complaint stating that Portsmouth was receiving the more lucrative ‘net metering' rate for its power when in reality it should be getting the same ‘wholesale' rate that producers like Brayton Point get. The complaint asked that the practice be stopped and ratepayers reimbursed.

When Portsmouth put up its turbine, it was designed to be a ‘behind the meter' electric supplier, Mr. Crosby said. The power it generated would go first to the high school with any excess sold back to the grid in a ‘net-metering' arrangement.

The agreement changed several times. At one point, the town was given credits for power it generated against power used at up to ten town sites, which proved to be an "accounting nightmare."

Eventually the system was simplified, in a manner approved by National Grid and the state, to have the town paid a monthly check for the power produced. The complaint argued that the arrangement actually made the town turbine a wholesale producer.

The town's case got a boost in June when state law was changed to clarify that energy produced at one site may be credited against consumption at other meters, not just those at the site.

Although the victory does mean that the town gets to keep the more favorable rate, "the difference isn't as great as you'd think any more," Mr. Crosby said.

When the turbine first went up, it was paid 11.5 cents per kilowatt but that rate has dropped to 6.5 cents per kilowatt, not much more than the wholesale rate.

It's all due to market forces, Mr. Crosby said, so might rise again at some point.

"We are still in the black though," he added.

Better breeze, new contract

In the meantime, the town turbine "has really been cranking lately, it's been working beautifully," he said.

The summer brought uncharacteristically light, fluky winds but the last few weeks have brought much better breezes.

Also, the town council recently approved a new one-year pact with turbine service provider Lumas Co. for the same $30,000 as this past year's pact.

The town had put out a request for bid, received three (including one from Lumas), but wound up rejecting all three bids. Lumas was then asked if it would keep the same agreement for another year and accepted.


Source: http://www.eastbayri.com/ne...

OCT 21 2011
http://www.windaction.org/posts/32267-portsmouth-wins-wind-turbine-rate-case
back to top