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Expert Insight

Getting the Price Right for Local Wind and Solar

Author(s): John Farrell
Director, Energy Democracy Initiative
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Date: September 25, 2017 at 10:00 AM

A federal policy enacted nearly 40 years ago has breathed life into an ongoing argument at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission over utility opposition to a wind and solar hybrid project proposed in the rural city of Red Lake Falls. The law, known as PURPA, was designed to promote local renewable generation by requiring utilities — even monopolies — to buy their electricity from qualified distributed and renewable facilities that can provide power at prices that roughly match the utilities’ “avoided cost” for electricity. But even after all this time, questions loom over exactly how to calculate that value. Utilities… [more]

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