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COMMENTARY, ALAMEDA SUN
April 13, 2017
AMP Supports Growth of Renewable Energy
by Nicolas Prokos, AMP general manager
On behalf of Alameda Municipal Power (AMP), I would like to respond to comments about AMP and renewable energy made by Tony Brasunas in his letter to the editor on March 30, 2017.
AMP’s renewable portfolio is among the strongest in California, if not the nation. In fact, our renewables mix was so high that AMP was able to monetize a portion of it to fund greenhouse-gas-reducing projects across the island. Once the short-term sale concludes in 2019, AMP will again have a strong renewable portfolio—and we’ll have lowered greenhouse gases by a significant factor.
AMP supports the use of solar and the right of Alamedans to generate power for their own on-site use. In fact, the utility has paid out more than $4 million in rebates to help Alamedans put solar on their rooftops and we’re currently evaluating a community solar project in which everyone can participate. And, as a point of clarification, I’d like to add that AMP has never produced or distributed any brochure that depicts solar in a negative fashion. If anyone has received such a publication, I ask that you share it with AMP.
Like all utilities in California, AMP provided additional support for solar through Net Energy Metering (NEM), a process in which solar customers essentially use AMP’s system as a virtual battery for times when they overgenerate and then draw down the credits when they undergenerate. In a few weeks, AMP will reach the limit of customers who can participate under the original NEM program. AMP worked on a successor plan to NEM for nearly two years. In that time, the utility listened to customers’ and solar industry advocates’ concerns through town hall meetings, Public Utilities Board meetings, letters, and phone calls, and significantly altered its original plan in response to those concerns.
Nearly all solar customers rely on AMP’s grid when their solar system is not generating, and AMP must ensure they help support the cost of keeping it running without unfairly shifting the cost burden to non-solar customers. As a not-for-profit public agency, we are obligated to ensure all Alamedans are treated equitably. Our Public Utilities Board decided last year that the successor to NEM—the Eligible Renewable Generation (ERG) plan—provided a fair and equitable way to pay rooftop solar customers for the excess energy they send to the grid.
Sustainability has been a core value of AMP's for years, and the utility continues to be strongly supportive of renewable energy. AMP also continues to be a strong supporter of customer choice, including solar, and is pleased to continue to participate in ongoing discussions regarding the role of rooftop solar in meeting local and state environmental objectives.