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Malone: Senate File 16 is ill-conceived legislation

Malone: Senate File 16 is ill-conceived legislation



For the past few years, certain members of the legislature have been targeting net metering, alleging it "cost-shifts” a percentage of the fixed costs of a grid connection onto the backs of non-net metered ratepayers. Senate File 16, if passed into law, would repeal Wyoming’s net metering statute and have the Public Service Commission determine the terms, conditions, and rates.

SF16 barely passed the Senate by a vote of 16-13 and, due to overwhelming opposition by Wyoming citizens, won’t be considered again until legislators come back in March. Let’s keep up the momentum and defeat this ill-conceived piece of legislation.

A few facts to consider:

Non-solar owners, do not “subsidize" those of us who have invested in rooftop solar. A cost shift would only take place with a 5-10% level of integration — 80 times the current level of 0.06%! I say bring it on and we can take another look when we reach that threshold, but I suspect the benefits will far outweigh the costs.

Non-profits and government entities keep their energy costs down through net-metering, leaving more funds to provide essential services, especially during budget crunches like the one Wyoming is currently experiencing. We are shooting ourselves in the foot if we make net-metering less accessible to educational facilities, medical clinics and other important providers!

I have a net-metering system in my home, and during times of peak demand in the summer months I actually help to keep the grid resilient, because in the summer I produce more than I can use. With hundreds or thousands of other net-metered systems the benefits begin to add up.

I also like to think that in a small way we are helping forestall the need for more transmission lines, which present their own environmental and economic challenges.

Ultimately, the concept of solar panels on every roof, over every public parking lot, and even integrated into agricultural operations, is the smartest, most equitable, most secure and most environmentally responsible form of energy production available to us today, and we should be embracing it.



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