Idaho Power argues that solar power owners through net metering don’t pay their fair share of grid costs. However, Idaho Power doesn’t credit solar owners for expanding power generation capacity. We expanded the system by 3,000 kilowatts at our cost. Idaho Power’s peak demand record occurred between 4 and 5 p.m. this past July 7. At that time we were sending electricity into the grid helping meet that demand. We did this all summer with the exception of six days.
When we send electricity into the grid it can go to our next door neighbor with negligible grid loss compared to losses that occur when electricity is transported miles from a dam or power plant. Multiple studies performed by public utility commissions and others found that net metering is a benefit to all users. Google “Bookings Institute net metering” for a summary article with links to the studies.
It is up to the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to sort through Idaho Power’s claims about their proposed rate changes. Pricing and managing a smart grid incorporating renewable energy is complex and will benefit us all. Counting all costs and benefits will be critical to getting it right.
Rob Hanson, Boise