Friday, April 28, 2017

Another Crazy Idea From California

Another reverse-Robin Hood:
A bill that recently won state Senate committee approval would make California the first state to require utilities to dole out rebates to customers who install energy storage systems.

The Energy Storage Initiative (SB700) was approved last week by the state's Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee and is awaiting a full senate vote.

The bill, authored by State Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat, would require the electric utilities to provide rebates to their customers by Dec. 1, 2018 for the installation of energy storage systems meeting certain requirements.

SB700 would require utilities to collect up to $166 million annually from ratepayers from 2018 through 2027 to fund the Energy Storage Initiative, which would then use the funds to provide rebates to customers who install energy storage systems.
Let's put this in terms anyone can understand. California is going to mandate higher utility rates for everyone and give some of that excess money to people who can afford to install these no-doubt-expensive battery systems. 

Additionally, there are areas of the state--the coast (especially the North Coast), the Bay Area, the western Sierra--where people don't need (and might not even have) air conditioning, which is the biggest driver of electrical usage in the summer.  Those areas don't need storage, but people who live in those areas--especially the high-cost regions like the Bay Area--will be incentivized to install these systems they don't need, while people in the Central and Sacramento Valleys, which are not the richest areas of California, will foot the bill.  The people who need a/c the most will be the least likely to be able to afford these systems.

On a similar front, I've looked into solar for years.  The roof of my house gets unshaded sun, yet every calculator I've ever used--and I've had solar companies come out, too, and check my electric bill--tells me that it's a losing deal for me.  I just don't use enough electricity to justify a solar system.  Even with rebates--that my neighbors would be paying, if you think about it--the cost of solar system would just be pre-paying for my electricity for 20 years.  I don't see how that's a good deal for me.

This is why government should stay out such things.  What say, Sacramento, you just fix the roads right the first time, and maintain our dam spillways, eh?  When you can do that well, then come talk to me about saving the world. 

Conservatism makes a lot of sense in the real world, not just in the world of ideas.


Anna A said...

One group that is consistently damaged by this sort of thing are renters. As one, I have zero control over things like energy storage, recycling bins, etc.

Where I live, near Lake Erie, perhaps wind on the roof might help, but I've noticed that one of the three windmills near the lake has been taken out of service. So it might be more problematic than I realize.

LeftCoastRef said...

I live in an area that has over 300 days of sun each year. It is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. My wife and I are cheap, and didn't want to pay exorbitant rates to Edison for electricity so we installed a swamp cooler (desert climate - it works.) Thus, our average monthly electric bill is about $80/month. I still get calls and door-knocks from solar companies asking me to contract with them and install solar panels. I tell them it is not beneficial to me to do so and they don't understand. However, if this mess of a bill were to pass the senate, my rates will increase and I may want to install solar AND The storage device so that I can run my AC during the summer and not pay $300 for July and August.
I would like to link this blog entry on my Facebook page (personal). Would that be okay with you?

Darren said...

Sure, no problem.

Ellen K said...

In our previous house we had a solar water heater=which is the biggest consumer of energy in the winter. While it was nice in our all electric house, the savings we made never fully reimburses us for the initial outlay. And that was with an employee discount and some very high quality materials for the time. Right now wind and solar do not produce enough savings to make sense.