Wednesday, November 2, 2016

PA Farm Bureau Claims Victory In Long Battle Over Net Metering For Methane Digesters

PA Farm Bureau Wednesday said it is claiming victory after a battle with the Public Utility Commission over the scope of net metering as part of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act of 2014.  
Several issues have been have been dealt with over the past two years, with the latest issue dealing with the PUC’s deletion of language that specifically exempted customer generators from being classified as a utility.
“We were concerned that the revised definition from the PUC would have eliminated all farmers utilizing methane digesters, wind and solar power systems from being eligible for net metering,” said PFB President Rick Ebert.  “Fortunately, the Office of the State Attorney General agreed with our assessment and encouraged the PUC to modify its regulations in order to meet the eligibility concern.”
Earlier this year, Farm Bureau expressed its disapproval of a PUC proposal that would have imposed a 200 percent cap on net metering.  Ultimately, the PUC changed its position and decided not to require the restrictive cap.
“Often farmers, who have alternative energy projects on their land, are able to generate extra energy that is available to sell back to utilities.  The cap, however, would have made the projects less economically viable,” added Ebert.  “The additional revenue farmers receive from uncapped net metering helps them pay down the expense of installing and maintaining the alternative system, and hopefully, even make a profit down the road.”
PFB added that some of the energy projects, such as methane digesters, have multiple benefits.
“Not only do the digesters use manure to produce electricity to help power the home farm through an environmental friendly process, they also provide electricity for local residents and help reduce odors coming from the farm,” concluded Ebert.
(Photo: BioCycle Magazine, August 25, 2014)

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