The Community Farm Alliance is upset with the legislature for not passing legislation that would allow farmers and other citizens and business owners to reap the economic benefit of alternative energy they produce. Adam Barr describes net-metering in his op-ed in today’s Herald:
[A higher n]et-metering [rate would] allow Kentuckians to connect renewable energy systems like biomass, solar, wind or hydroelectric to the electric grid. When a system generates power, some or all of it is used on-site. Any excess flows back to the grid and is credited to the customer’s account.
I, and the other members of Community Farm Alliance, endorsed House Bill 167 and House Bill 187, as a reasonable way to create new jobs in our rural communities and put Kentucky on track for a secure energy future.
HB 167 would have set modest goals for renewable energy use and energy efficiency in Kentucky similar to what 29 other states have already done. It also would have provided market incentives that help farmers like me become energy producers, making my family farm more profitable and Kentucky more energy secure.
HB 187 would have expanded Kentucky’s net metering law from its 30-kilowatt limit to increase the ability of businesses, schools, local governments and farmers like me to produce their own power.
There’s a fun chart on Wikipedia comparing the net-metering kilowatt rates of different states. Even Alabama allows up to 100 kw. The proposed changes in the stalled HB 187 would’ve bumped us up to 2000kw, on par with Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts. The energy companies hate it of course, because it cuts into their revenues.
The bill makes sense. We need to encourage clean energy investment because we’re running out of coal. Additionally, there’s a fairness factor. If my home, small business, or farm is pumping energy into the grid, I ought to reap some benefit from that from the utility company. It’s also nice that it won’t cost the taxpayers anything extra.