AAEA among several entities seeking to intervene

Steve Patterson, (501) 537-0190, steve@arkansasadvancedenergy.com
Mollie Merry Campbell, (501) 537-0190, mollie@arkansasadvancedenergy.com

LITTLE ROCK, June 17, 2016: The Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA) is one of 14 groups and individuals to file petitions to intervene in each of two dockets opened on April 29 by the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) to make changes to the state’s net metering rules for renewable energy generation. Deadline for filing petitions was Wednesday, June 15.

The APSC opened dockets 16-027-R and 16-028-U to determine cost and benefits along with the ultimate impact on utilities and their customers if rules were adopted to make it easier for consumers to generate their own energy in the state.

“The outcome of these dockets could unleash a vibrant renewable energy economy in Arkansas that features consumer choice and job creation or on the other hand, the Commission’s decisions could discourage future growth in the individual consumer market for renewable energy,” said Steve Patterson, Executive Director of AAEA.

Arkansas Act 827 of 2015 (an amendment to the Arkansas Renewable Energy Act of 2001) set the stage for the AEPC’s orders in docket 16-027-R by directing the APSC to “establish appropriate rates, terms and conditions for net-metering contracts.” The Commission also opened the second docket, 16-028-U, which represents an historic attempt by the APSC to more broadly consider the full range of issues in order to “consider whether any change is warranted in the Commission’s policies related to renewable distributed generation (DG), beyond those policy changes contemplated in Docket 16-027-R.

In urging the Commission to approve its petitions to intervene, AAEA stated that the APSC rulings in both dockets “will directly affect the AAEA and its member’s interests, and will influence the ongoing transition from coal generation toward cleaner, renewable advanced energy resources. Because job creation and expansion of the advanced energy economy are at the heart of AAEA’s mission, the Association needs to be heard in this important matter in order to assure that its members and others involved in advanced energy have an opportunity to present their energy market experience, technological capabilities and job creation capacity before the Commission.”

The Commission has 20 days after the date of filing to rule on all petitions to intervene. In addition to AAEA, here is a list of other intervenors who are seeking to join the state’s electric utilities, including all 17 rural cooperatives, and the Attorney General as parties on each docket:

Arkansas Electric Energy Consumers (AEEC) – AEEC’s members are large industrial and agricultural organizations operating in Arkansas that purchase electricity from various public utilities in Arkansas.

Alliance for Solar Choice – A national advocacy group that represents some of the largest solar installers in the country, including Geostellar, Inc.; LGCY Power; REPOWER by Solar Universe; SunTime Energy; Sunrun; Lightwave Solar; Palmetto Solar and Demeter Power.

National Audubon Society – With 8,000 members in Arkansas, Audubon seeks to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.

Energy Freedom Coalition – A national advocacy group that seeks to promote public awareness of the benefits of solar and alternative energy through public advocacy. Its members provide products and services for backup battery storage, demand management, solar electric and thermal generation, and solar lighting systems.

Scenic Hill Solar, LLC – An Arkansas-based solar developer that states it has in development solar projects ranging in size from 1 megawatt to 20 megawatts in various locations around Arkansas.

Sierra Club – With 2,500 members in Arkansas, it’s the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization that has worked to protect and improve air and water quality in Arkansas and throughout the country.

Solar Energy Arkansas – Another Arkansas-based solar developer engaged solely in the development of solar power facilities in the State of Arkansas. Solar Energy states that it has in development solar projects around Arkansas with varying business models and contexts.

WalMart – The state’s largest employer with an international goal of being supplied 100 percent by renewable energy. Walmart’s website states that “we know that renewables combined with energy efficiency is especially powerful: for our customers, for our shareholders, and for the future of generations to come.”

William Ball – Owner of Stellar Sun, Ball is a long-time installer and solar advocate in Arkansas.

Francis Kelly – Owner of Bearskin Solar Center, Kelly is a community solar developer in Arkansas.

Jerry Landrum – Chairman of the Eureka Springs Climate Action Progress Committee which functions under the non-profit Community Development Partnership.

Luis Contreras – Homeowner with solar panels on his roof and experience with existing net metering rules.

Pat Costner – Founder and Director of “Save the Ozarks,” a non-profit organization based in Eureka Springs.