Nevada decision guts the state’s thriving solar industry

Electric utility pushed effort to sour economics of rooftop solar.

 

 Dale Matz and his wife skipped vacations and saved up to put solar panels on the roof of their Las Vegas home two years ago. They planned to retire in a few years and considered it an investment for their future, and the planet’s. They were motivated both by the promise of low electricity bills and a chance to reduce their greenhouse gas footprint and “make a better world for our kids and grandkids.”

Protest outside the Nevada Public Utilities Commission. By Dale Matz

Their good intentions were foiled late last month when the Nevada Public Utility Commission changed the deal that customers with solar panels have with the state’s big utility, NV Energy.  At the request of NV Energy, monthly fees paid by rooftop solar customers will increase from $13 to nearly $40 by 2020. And the utility will slash its reimbursement to customers for each unit of energy they feed to the grid, from about 11 cents to less than 3 cents by 2020, which could add up to hundreds of dollars per year for customers with solar panels.

It was the biggest rollback of rooftop solar incentives in the nation. Most notably, Nevada is the first state not to grandfather in people like Matz who've already invested in rooftop solar. Although an estimated 17,000 people have installed panels, the revised rules, which will be phased in, will apply to to them as well as new rooftop solar customers.

Under the old rules, Matz expected to recoup the $22,000 he spent over about 12 years. Under the new rules, he calculates that he’ll never recoup it.

It’s not that NV Energy is anti-solar. The company owns several utility-scale solar projects and has contracts to buy from others. But electric companies traditionally get revenue from selling electricity, and don’t earn profit on the power produced by their customers. “The utility can own and earn profits on utility-scale projects. Rooftop installations are more of a threat to their business model,” says Dan Bakal of Ceres, a nonprofit that promotes renewable energy.

In fact, the new rules make rooftop solar such a bad deal in Nevada that big solar panel installation companies, including SolarCity, last week announced major layoffs affecting several hundred workers.

SolarCity installation. By Tom Hart. CC/Flickr

One of the companies to pull out of Nevada and lay off hundreds was San Francisco-based Sunrun, the nation’s largest residential solar company. Bryan Miller, Sunrun’s senior vice president of public policy and power markets, is also the president of the Alliance for Solar Choice, a group of rooftop solar companies that has been fighting efforts by utilities to increase costs for solar customers.

“We’ve never seen anything as extreme as what the Nevada Public Utility Commission decided," Miller says. "It’s the first state to eliminate an active solar market.”

A similar effort by the largest utility in Arizona in 2013, which HCN analyzed, was rebuffed and solar customers only saw modest increases to the fixed charges on their bills.

The electric companies argue that solar customers, because their bills are so low, don’t pay their fair share of the costs of running the power grid. What the companies don’t explain is that there are also benefits to having home solar producers scattered around on their grids, such as alleviating the surge of demand for electricity on hot summer days that can require companies to build more power plants. When independent experts analyze the costs and benefits of home solar, they find that non-solar customers at most pay only a little bit extra to make up for costs that solar customers don’t pay. In fact, an independent study done for the Nevada Public Utilities Commission found no substantial cost shift from solar to non-solar customers.

But that could change if solar installations continue to rise at a rapid clip, as they have in recent years as costs dropped and companies started renting the panels to homeowners and businesses, eliminating the need for big upfront investments. Studies, including a 2014 analysis by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, suggest that utilities and their shareholders will start to feel a financial squeeze once the percentage of households with solar grows significantly.

Electric companies are taking preemptive action to prevent solar from becoming so popular that it would hurt their bottom lines and share prices, says Francisco Flores-Espino, an analyst for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, whose recent report summaries dozens of efforts by utilities to increase costs and deter customers from installing rooftop solar.

Miller traces the rash of utility efforts against rooftop solar to the “Disruptive Challenges” report published by the Edison Electric Institute, the main trade group, three years ago. The report warns that rooftop solar, batteries and other technologies could “directly threaten the centralized utility model.”

At the time, Miller directed renewable energy policy for a Exelon  Corp., a massive utility. He saw from the inside how “Disruptive Challenges” inspired a coordinated campaign by utilities to take on rooftop solar. He decided to quit, join the solar industry and fight back.

Before the Nevada decision, the only state to approve a major rollback was Wisconsin, where solar is much less popular. But solar companies challenged that ruling and won.

If the Nevada Public Utilities Commission fails to reverse its decision, as the state’s solar companies have requested, they plan to sue. The commission held a public meeting Wednesday, and Matz was one of many rooftop solar owners and renters voicing his outrage.

“The most heartbreaking thing is that no one is going to ever buy solar again,” says Matz, 59. “I’ve got kids and grandkids growing up on this planet. Global warming is a real thing.”

 Matz plans to do more than protest. He’s eyeing the home batteries that Elon Musk of Tesla Motors says he’ll soon start mass producing, as HCN reported. “I’m going to put them in my garage and cut my cord to the grid,” Matz says. 

Elizabeth Shogren is HCN's DC Correspondent.

Thumbnail image by CoCreatr. CC/Flickr

Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 01:31 PM
"fair share"?

Last I checked most people pay by the kwh. Where does "fair share" come into it?
Elizabeth Shogren
Elizabeth Shogren Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 01:51 PM
Hi Andy, Yes, people pay by the kWh, as you say. But the utilities claim that people with solar panels use the grid too but they don't pay very much because they're reimbursed for electricity that they add to the grid. That's why utilities want to charge them higher set fees and decrease how much they reimburse solar customers for the kWh they put back on the grid. Elizabeth
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 03:17 PM
Hmm. Well, if the utility doesn't want to pay them for grid electric returned, that's the util's prerogative. But one could hardly say they aren't paying their "fair share" considering that they do contribute back to the utility and help buffer it, as the article stated, in return for monetary reimbursement. That's a seller/buyer contract, "fair share" has nothing to do with it. If the utility's base rates aren't high enough, that's not the solar people's fault.

 "Fair share" are words you use when someone is cheating or refusing to pay, not when you are reimbursing someone for return services and you decide you are reimbursing them too much. (that's called a buyer/seller contract, violation of) More of that political BS language one hears nowadays, to my POV.
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 06:14 PM
They want to pay rooftop solar users 3 cents (less than they pay for wholesale power on the open market) and sell it back to all of us for 14cents or more!
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 06:20 PM
Yeah it makes their shareholders happy ;)

I'm wondering how they convinced the state to screw over 17000 (fairly wealthy) homeowners who were trying to do the right thing (and uncounted tens of thousands more who might have, if the incentive would have raised it from No to Yes in their budgets)

 I haven't read enough yet to have all the details. Long week :(

  
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 12:20 PM
There is also the fact that the nascent rooftop solar industry was already employing more people in Nevada than Nevada Power...these were mostly young people in need of good paying jobs...gone!
Andy, check out the report on this fiasco in the Guardian US a few days ago...and the withering comment from around the Country....there are some oblivions in there too, of course!
PS, by the way, Andy.., (and I will probably get busted by Kate for this..not on topic!) I wanted to say that the denouement of that thread with Brandon on the Sagebrush Rebels the other night got pretty spooky when I read it the next day!,,,I think he was self-medicating!
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 12:20 PM
There is also the fact that the nascent rooftop solar industry was already employing more people in Nevada than Nevada Power...these were mostly young people in need of good paying jobs...gone!
Andy, check out the report on this fiasco in the Guardian US a few days ago...and the withering comment from around the Country....there are some oblivions in there too, of course!
PS, by the way, Andy.., (and I will probably get busted by Kate for this..not on topic!) I wanted to say that the denouement of that thread with Brandon on the Sagebrush Rebels the other night got pretty spooky when I read it the next day!,,,I think he was self-medicating!
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 06:25 PM
Unfortunately, This is not one of Elizabeth Shogren's best efforts. Slapdash, shallow and woefully incomplete....The Guardian Us treatment a couple of days ago was considerably better researched and more even-handed....this is corporate monopoly newspeak!....right out of Orwell;s 1984!
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 06:31 PM
Independent research that all grid users benefit from rooftop solar on the grid whether they have it or not themselves. It reduces peak power usage during the day and it does not us the regional backbone grid that Big Power is always whining about....unless they choose to sell it elsewhere in which case they will make money on it. The issue here is control of the monopoly!...and Elizabeth should have said so if she new her stuff in this instance...she normally does a good job, but this one is a hatchet job for sure!...nothing to learn here! Shame on her for being lazy!
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 10:58 AM
"It's not that NV Energy is anti-solar " ....opines Elizabeth Shogren...but at 1.84% of its fuel mix, it comes prety damn close, I would suggest!
James P McMahon
James P McMahon Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 03:19 PM
I think the language of this article is a little extreme. If the utility commission raised the utility's monthly fee from $8 to $40 that is high, but does it kill solar? Solar companies moving out may kill solar but the utility has the right to some income for maintaining what is a huge infrastructure, even for those of us with solar panels. I also object to a fee of $40 but I would focus on some kind of analysis that show what the value of the utility infrastructure is. More extreme is a devaluing of the amount paid by utilities to customers with solar. Both industries are going to have to learn to live side by side and an equitable solution should be the goal of solar advocates.
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 03:35 PM
yup they will. In this case I think the utility has gone way too far, even for their own future health. There's a lot of wealthy people in NV, and if they can afford solar, they can afford off grid. What is the utility co going to do when they've driven away so many of their customers into offgrid and don't have enough to sustain ops anymore? Woo 'em back? Fat chance by that point.

 Whether they like it or not, the technology is here, and there don't have to be locals selling it. LIke you said they have to learn to work together. This ain't it.

(I'd bet there's banks in NV angry because homes they hold mortgage to just devalued. )
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 06:19 PM
James....no Nevada Power won't! It is a total monopoly in Nevada that controls the stathouse...which has washed its hands of all this....as well as the governor and the PUC! The PUC has told rooftop solar companys, their employees and the public to pound sand on two occasions now!...and they are going to take no further public comment on the issue....Elizabeth didn't mention that either!
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 06:23 PM
Sounds like class action lawsuit time to me.

Good opportunity for outside the state contractors to come in and fill bids, too. Offgrid bids :D
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 06:36 PM
The Supreme Court doesn't like class action suits, you know! This is a monopoly!....off grid is the only option,,,,you know that several casinos in Las Vegas have installed their own rooftop solar....and the PUC has ruled that they are going to have tp pay NV Energy millions of dollars in order to go off grid! In Arizona, the power monopoly has gotten the state of Arizona a law making it illegal to go off grid...so we had better move fast!
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 06:42 PM
Not sure the SC would be relevant in this case. Probably get sorted out at district level. Shrug, not a judge.

 Good, maybe the casinos will get after the state, although I would bet they are still net users and not contributors given the energy demands. Good bet there's pissed off real estate investors watching values go down however. Question is are there enough?
  I would think so, NV is a great state for solar. Climate wise anyway... lol
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 06:49 PM
The casinos were pissed off because they were being hosed by NV Energy and when they told NV Energy they were going to install their own system, NV Energy sued them saying that they were too important to leave the grid!...They did eventually win which is why NV Energy went to the PUC for revenge!
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 06:51 PM
This is a huge mega-corporation owned by Warren Buffet.....you bet they would go to the Supremes!
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 06:11 PM
What Nevada Power is maintaining is their huge profits...which are up hugely since they were bought by Warren Buffet. They are going to pay 3 cents and sell it back to all of us for 14 cents or more. I we had a public power utility in Nevada....it would operate in the interest of its customers rather than its shareholders....and it would recognize the rooftop solar was a good way to go in the desert SW. Really, Elizabeth, you are being disingenuous I think ....Check out the essay on Guardian US....which points out, as you don't, that aaaaathe NV Energy monopoly owns the statehouse, the governor and the PUC....two of Sandoval's staffers are NV Energy lobbyists for example and he has stacked the PUC with NV Power shills!
If we had a public power utility all those profits would go back to ratepayers.
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 06:30 PM
Yeah same old story, happened hundreds of times around the country in the last century or so since the big utilities really took off. Energy companies have always been attractive to the high dollar people, and still are. We try to regulate them to curb their excesses - pretty sure that the NV company is violating energy market manipulation law, but the feds would have to call them on it.

 Don't be too sure where a ppu profit will go, either. States have records of diverting funds to all kinds of purposes and not enough citizens call them on it (that scales up, look at the feds ;) where it's worse ) It's tougher to do that in cities where the voters are closer and more often personally know the politicisos.

 It's up to the people of Nevada to do something about it. I doubt the feds will unless one of the burned companies files federal lawsuits, or a large enough class action gets going. This smells like a decision at the bureaucratic level and not the political level, so political pressure may not do anything.

Meanwhile that decision just cost state of NV a lot of future tax revenue. Lots ;***)))


great discussion thanks :)
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 06:45 PM
Yes!....Remember ENRON? Sierra Pacific, NV Energy's parent company at the time, was in cahoots with ENRON on power manipulation...and it i.s my understanding that we are still paying off the loses and fines in our power bills.
You are absolutely correct that it is up to us!...but the Nevada populace is not very involved with the world around them and are easily flimflammed by Big Money interests..so who knows.
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 07:00 PM
We're all going to be paying for that and more, in bills and taxes and repair/restoration costs, in perpetua ;( and our kids and gk's and ggk's etc... never in the history of the world, has it been possible to visit so much sin on our children in so short a time, to paraphrase an old phrase.
 
 NV same problem as most places. Cities and counties seem to be doing a lot more than state and feds, closer to the individuals. Maybe it's time we became a few thousand nation states again. Hah.
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 12:23 PM
Not really... States are even easier and less expensive to buy than the Feds....the monopolists in the 19th century knew that! ...and much easier to keep in line and on message...too!
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 12:27 PM
That was part of the problem with the Articles of Confederation subsequent to the War for Independence...which eventually required replacement by the Constitution. I do foresee an eventual breakup into regional nation states of some sort as the dislocations of Global Warming kick in!.
Francis Smith
Francis Smith
Jan 22, 2016 02:55 AM
Right!
Kate Schimel
Kate Schimel Subscriber
Jan 15, 2016 10:58 PM
Hey folks, thanks for your comment and feedback. David, as you'll note in the story above, Elizabeth did explore the ways rooftop solar benefits the entire grid. As for the political considerations, I will let her know your feedback. She may be interested in doing a followup. You might also be interested in senior editor Jonathan Thompson's investigation of a similar kerfuffle in Arizona: http://www.hcn.org/[…]/a-war-for-a-dollar. You might also explore our renewables story list, where we have several decades of articles and investigative reporting on the state of renewables and renewable energy development in the West: http://www.hcn.org/topics/renewable-energy Thanks, as always, for reading and commenting. Kate Schimel, assistant editor
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 07:47 AM
Don't lecture, Kate, I have been a serious reader,,,,,and subscriber....of HCN over many decades ...as well as a charer member of the Sustainer's Circle of the Research Fund ...if you check your records.. I have also been seriously involved in environmental issues since the 70's and am a lifetime member of the Sierra Club and Amicus of Earthjustice....I am not a novice at this...and a political activist since the 60s and I know a hack piece of journalism when I see it know it,,,and this piece is neither up to HCN's standards...nor what I am used to seeing from Elizabeth Shogren...it is lightweight!...and I don't want to see it letting down its standards like the rest of our print media!
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 07:55 AM
Kate....You might want to ask her if she is angling for a lobbying position in DC with Big Power monopolies!!
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 06:26 PM
@ David WH:

Please be nice to Kate. She's in a hard spot doing a difficult job under strict limitations. I've been there and done that and it's hard enough when even the best people on your forums support you, which I don't see happening here as much as I'd like. Lay off, eh? She has limits imposed by the rules she works under and she is doing a great job under those limits.

 Be proactive :)


 
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 12:21 AM
Kate, the kerfuffle link seems to no texist :(
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 08:03 AM
Andy,,,,There are apparently kerfuffles going on all over the Country now as power monopolies move to get action out of all those statehouses they have been buying up! I have seen mention of Hawaii, Arizona among others....and even California! for Pete's sake! They know that they will get no relieve from the Obama administration.....and statehouses and governorships are cheaper to buy and easier to control, anyway!
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 06:27 PM
@David WH re: kerfuffles: yup and that's capitalism for ya :( ... busy thoroughly discrediting itself.
Rod Farlee
Rod Farlee Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 01:33 AM
Critics are wrong to demonize Nevada Public Utility Commission for this change. The Nevada State Legislature passed Senate Bill 374, directing the PUC to eliminate the subsidy paid to net-metered distributed solar customers, and paid by the rest of us customers. If the majority of the voters wish to subsidize distributed solar, this can be reversed, by the legislature or by voter initiative. Voters in CA, OR and WA have supported such subsidies (although it is not clear whether voters realized the magnitude of the subsidy they would pay to meet the renewable energy mandates, they did vote for them). NV voters may choose to do the same... or they may not... That is democracy. It might be more accurate if complaints here were directed not at PUC but at NV voters.... and recognized the real problem: the marginal economics of distributed vs large-scale centralized solar.
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 01:46 AM
Are you a bot?
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 07:53 AM
@ Rod: Did the voters support Bill 374, or did the legislature pass it on their own? Was it actually a voted upon issue?
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 08:47 AM
Andy...what really happened with out the newspeak!...is this ...The Democrats in the Nevada legislature ( after the August PUC meeting impasse) introduced legislation to expand the rooftop solar incentive program in Nevada....the legislature. which had been captured by the Republicants in the 2013 midterm elections debacle...who are mostly totally batshit crazy!) defeated the move. The legislature then came to the agreement that utility policy should be the sole province of the PUC as a suppposedly impartial body in this matters....and washed their hand of the whole thing !! There was no mandate from the legislature...and thw governor also walked away from the situation as well...and it was left to NV Energy and the PUC to settle the issue between them. All of this should have been iparted to us ,but wasn't , by Elizabeth Shogren!
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 09:42 AM
Rod,,, Don't forget that we are...and never were a democracy...we were a republic, more or less, for some time...but we are now a Plutocracy operated at the behest of the moneyed interests of the corporate Deep State. Even after Picketty, people fail to make the connection between our huge class discrepancies and the inevitable consequences for our society and governance! Moneyed interest invariably dictate election results in Nevada...we are a small, not very well educated or enlightened populace that subject to corporate flimflammery of all sorts!!,,
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 01:37 AM
How publicized was that bill?
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 08:51 AM
The whole process, including the bill, was not publicize until people starting asking what the Hell happened after the infamous December PUC Meeting...at which point, legislators starting talking about the logjam...and the Pontius PiIate resolution they arrived at!
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 06:28 PM
@ DavidWH re: puc - so it sounds like the puc either decided to, or was ordered to, keep the thing secret from the public, yes?

 
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 09:20 AM
But, Andy....and my fellow readers, it gets better! Elizabeth Shogren also failed to tell us yet more of the backstory here....which is pretty cynical on her part or..if she didn't it...that is even more damning for a journalist!
Here is the backstory we didn't get...and is very germane to subsequent events! To wit
A number of years ago, as the Obama administration was ramping up its advocacy of alternative energy,
it did an evaluation of NV Energy's (among other Big Power companies) fuel mix and found it to be so badly weighted toward fossils that it put pressure on it to improve its footprint through programs to increase alternatives in the mix.
In response to this. NV Energy proposed, among other moves, an incentive and reverse metering program to encourage its customers to install rooftop solar. It figured that this would be good PR and would help ease those peky Feds that corporations hate (unless it is sening them money and tax breaks!).
The problem was that lots of small rooftop solar companies took took up the opportunity and the program became far too popular for the comfort of the monopoly and it could see a potential problem with its obscene profit picture.
So, last August, NV Energy went to the PUC and requested....demanded,actually...not merely revision to the program...but its immediate termination! Well...even thesympathetic PUC opined that this was a tiny bit draconian...especially since NV Energy, in its arrogance ...had not even bother to bring along an alternative proposal! The PUC refused the demand and said that the program, as then would be extended to the end of the year... by which it wanted to see a justification for a change and a revised proposal from NV Energy that would not terminate the program completely. The result is the outrage upon the public that we have just seen transpire!
"Fair Share", indeed!
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 06:37 PM
@ DavidWH re"But, Andy...

re:Elizab, there's ALWAYS more backstory. ;)

 Yup that history sounds about right from what I've read, and hardly uncommon.

 "requested, demanded"... you mean, the share/stockholders did ;) "ensure our profits or we'll pull out". Go ahead, prick.

 Yup. Offsides, I've been called a communist/socialist enough for my decades long stance against corporate welfare and policy buying that seeing it blatantly happening so much that even the consumer public gets involved is satisfying, if still infuriating.

 ah, the modern US, where rationalists get marginalized and marginalists get rationalized.

Damn, I've been waiting about twenty years to really use that line. lol


 
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 09:31 AM
Oh, by the way!....here is the current majority fuels mix from NV Energy (Note: Elizabeth Shogren didn't offer up this info either!...readers have to do their own research these days, I guess!)
Here we go::
Coal 10.71%
Natural Gas 75.70%
Oil 0.01%
Hydroelectric 3.39% ( this always surprises everybody!)
Geothermal 5.45%
Solar 1.84%
Nuclear 0.72%
Wind 1.74%
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 10:20 AM
Over 85% fossil fuels even now!! ... If Elizabeth Shogren isn't a Climate Chane denier, even she should find these numbers pretty scandalous !
And she she also read "Unlocking the Methane Mystery" .by Jonathan Thompson..(another excellent HCn Journalist!) in the August 31, 2015 HCN!
Methane leaks in Natual Gas wells due to por or neglected maintenance...can copletely obviate the environments benefit of Natural Gas and render it no better than KIng Coal!
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 10:22 AM
 And...How uninformed is this , Kate!
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 10:31 AM
I must apologize for these typing errors!...They are the fault of my fucked up new keyboard at work...tech alert!.. don't fall for the wireless keyboard ..it really sucks!!
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 06:51 PM
@David WH: re: wireless keyboards: I could make a few suggestions there. I use the Logitech K800 and a paired Logitech mouse and have near zero problems. They are a bit spendy but work great :)
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 17, 2016 09:50 AM
Than you...Andy!...I will check it our and see whether it is compatible with my nifty new teensie computer from Kangaroo...supposedly, only the wireless keyboard from Tinysofteg (nod,nod..wink,wink!) is compatible..we shall see...this one is driving me crazy...which is really only a putt!
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 11:01 AM
...and...at 1.84% solar in the fuel...not all that supportive of the concept!
Francis Smith
Francis Smith
Jan 22, 2016 03:00 AM
Right again. Oklahoma, with all its leaky fracking wells, has a continuous cloud of methane above it. It also had 865 or so earthquakes, up from about 2 prior to 2008.
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 06:42 PM
@ DavidWH "readers have to do their own research these days, I guess!)
Here we go::"

Good, keeps them from becoming lazy ;) What's the point of doing your own work if others will feed you?

 Sick number for NV, NV has abundant sunshine, and wind, and money to invest, if the people hogging it would let some of it go.

David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 10:06 AM
Rootop solar is actually much more efficient and cost effective that big solar arrays...and not environmentally damaging ( see....Clean Energy' Dirty Secret by Judith Lewis Mernit...now, there is a stellar journalist of parts!!,,, in the October 26th, 2015 HCN!). Big Utility monopolies like those huge distributed arrays that Rod Farlee favours for various financial and control reasons. Think on this...how can they be a better strategy than localized solar that does not reguire the huge investment and a complex regional backbone grid. Why is rooftop solar seen as the solution to bringing electricity to the Navajo res...and places elsewhere around the world that lack
s a very expensive power grid and can't afford to build one!? Come on...let's cut the the industry claptrap here!
Elizabeth Shogren needs to hook up with the Grand Canyon Trust and allow it to show her just what is being accomplished on reservations around the desert SW!).
If Big Power really cared about its customers best interest...it would be subsidizing rooftop solar on its own volition...or installing them themselves!...it is clearly the way to go in the desert SW...and we do not need to further trash the wild areas of our desert like they love to do...or kill our wildlife in the process! Note to Elizanbeth Shogren...have a sit down with Judith Lewis Menit and then talk to groups like WildEarth Guardians, the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and all the other people hjow have been doing the research and thinking "out of the box" for a more sustainable and enlightened future!
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 06:46 PM
" Why is rooftop solar seen as the solution to bringing electricity to the Navajo res...and places elsewhere around the world that lacks a very expensive power grid and can't afford to build one!? "

It is, just rarely by politicians or big money investors.

Sometimes one just needs to do it oneself.
Kate Schimel
Kate Schimel Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 10:24 AM
Hi Andy, does this link work? http://www.hcn.org/[…]/a-war-for-a-dollar David, if you ever have serious concerns about our reporting you are welcome to contact us directly too: 970 527 4898 or editor@hcn.org.
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 06:55 PM
@ Kate wardollar link: yes :)

Looking for commentary?
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 10:36 AM
Kate...It isn't about what I think!!... you guys should have serious concerns about her reporting in this piece! Why is it so seriously inconsistent with her other work? I would think that you would want to know!...Have Jonathan and Jodi take a look!
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 10:39 AM
...and my comments, please !
Andy Grosland
Andy Grosland Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 06:57 PM
@DavidWH: Chill out, dude ;)
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 09:23 PM
With all due respect...I think my objections to the objectivity and honesty of the piece are legitimate!...Can you not honestly say, Andy, that the points that I have made should not have been made by the author rather than myself! And should have Kate essentially told me to pound sand in response to my observations? I stand by my complaints in the interest of the standards of journalism...perhaps this should have been an opinion piece!
Kate Schimel
Kate Schimel Subscriber
Jan 16, 2016 11:01 PM
Hi David, we do take the concerns of our readers very seriously; I am a lifelong reader and, as comment moderator, place a lot value in HCN's reader community. I am not being insincere when I say we will take your comments into consideration in future coverage. However as an editor, I do not expect all pieces to be comprehensive. In this case, Elizabeth was bringing our readers up to date on a crucial issue. It is not intended to be the final word. We cover issues on the order or years and decades, not days. As such, I directed you to other coverage we've done. Again, if you have serious concerns about our coverage or would like an explanation, the most effective way to have a conversation with our editing team is by calling us directly or emailing editor@Hcn.org. We do actually read every one of those emails and answer all reader calls. Kate Schimel, assistant editor
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 17, 2016 10:02 AM
Kate,,,,I know you do!...and your chastisements are probably justified! I apologize for annoying you! My friends all say that I am wasting my time in this effort...and, perhaps they are right about that! I cannot change the course of Empire and really don't want to end up like Socrates, Cicero, Hypatia etc. It might be time for me to end this experiment and go back to my Epicurean lifestyle....less disapprobation!
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 17, 2016 11:17 AM
I have been reading HCN for at least 30 years...and, I guess I hadn't noticed that HCN covers issues on the order of years and decades!....I will make the effort to be more observant in the future!...Thanks for the heads up!
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 17, 2016 12:19 PM
The thought has occurred to me, Kate, that , if this piece had been posted as an Opinion piece, a lot of confusion and misunderstanding its nature could have been avoided! If, in fact, Elizabeth Shogren was actually endeavoring to illustrate how, just as in the case of of imperial capitals of the ancient world...such as Persepolis, Xian, Alexandria, Rome and Constantinople, people coming to Washington DC from towns and villages of the hinterlands are very often amazed and overwhelmed at the awesome power and splendour of our own imperial capital ...and, all too often , drink the coolaid and begin to see the Country and the world through the prism of the "combination of big business interests and crony-capitalist Washington Consensus lobbyists, and corporate mass media newspeak (the Deep State..as I would describe this!)...that comprise the biggest challenges facing this Country!" ....as David Atkins describes it! She did ab excellent job of portraying that disconnect between the view from the capital...and the real world!
Robert Jacobson
Robert Jacobson Subscriber
Jan 17, 2016 09:07 AM
The same and perhaps worse is about to happen in Arizona this month. The Arizona Corporations Commission, all Republicans, is chomping at the bit to levy charges on personal solar. Just to submit comments requires a citizen to send multiple copies of one's comments to every other participant, already in the double digits. This game is rigged.
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 17, 2016 09:54 AM
Robert....The Nevada PUC dealt with that by saying that there would be no further public comment allowed after the December meeting!
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 17, 2016 11:13 AM
...and, before making this announcement, the members of the PUC allowed has how they were outraged and angered at the lack of respect and deference for their expertise and their august positions on the part of the hoi poloi!....one might have expected something like the Winter Palace Massacres to ensue!
Kate Schimel
Kate Schimel Subscriber
Jan 17, 2016 11:41 AM
Hey David,

I suppose I meant to say, we often cover an issue repeatedly over the course of a long period of time, which means any one story may not tell the full story. And of course, we might miss something. One thing to note: the stories you cited were feature stories from our magazine, which is where we put our most intensive reporting, writing and editing efforts. Reporters often have months to report and then write the story; editors typically spend weeks editing. We also run a faster paced web machine, which typically gives reporters just a few days to report and edit a story. We think it's important to keep our readers up to date, while also putting effort into the kind of deep dives you mention. I don't expect the compromises inherent in that will please all readers all the time. But we do listen very carefully to critiques when they are leveled.

Also, you are certainly not an annoyance. I appreciate your concerns. That said, I have full faith in Elizabeth Shogren's integrity. As for your classical references, did you see this on recovering ancient scrolls in the New Yorker? http://www.newyorker.com/[…]/the-invisible-library Perhaps we shall one day have more of Epicurus to read, should you choose to take that tack!

Best,
Kate
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 17, 2016 12:22 PM
Kate...Please see my post above from a few minutes ago...I think we were writing at the same time!
David W Hamilton
David W Hamilton Subscriber
Jan 17, 2016 12:27 PM
Yes! from an Epicurean's library in Pompeii or Herculaneum...archaeologists have come up with a means to read through charred papyrus and parchment scrolls.!..very exciting!
Francis Smith
Francis Smith
Jan 22, 2016 03:09 AM
The elephant in the room is the Koch brothers. They want to maintain their non-renewable energy profits, so they fight wind and solar energy. The Nevada situation is a direct result of their initiative, as was Arizona's.

One of their instruments of control is the American Legislative Council, where damaging legislation like this is passed. Another is their State Policy Network, which produces reams of bullcrap "studies" backing their anti-scientific viewpoint. Elizabeth did miss the boat (or the flotilla) on this one.

http://www.nytimes.com/[…]/the-koch-attack-on-solar-energy.html

(One of many stories on the situation.)
Paul V. Battaglia
Paul V. Battaglia
Jan 22, 2016 12:38 PM
Back in NH my wife and I never had children, but half our tax bill is for education. We fought it tooth and nail with a fine attorney and won, but at a heavy cost out-of-pocket plus having ourselves written up in all the papers.

We got over the so-called "forced public humiliation" part of it. The fact that we won demonstrates that it was not a hard and fast law, readers. WE KNEW THAT GOING IN.

Hopefully, you citizens can battle the PU and win or at least be grandfathered.