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Nev. governor's task force advises restoring net metering with minimum charge

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval's New Energy Industry Task Forcerecommended that full retail net metering be restored, providing a minimumcharge is assessed on solar customers.

Nevada Governor's Office of Energy Director Angela Dykema, whochaired the task force, will prepare a formal statement of recommendations fromthe task force to present to the governor, according to energy office spokesmanScott Kelly.

The task force considered the net metering restorationrecommendation among many issues at its final meeting on Sept. 27, Kelly saidin an interview.

Bring Back Solar Alliance Campaign Manager Erin McCannstated in a newsrelease, "We applaud Governor Sandoval's New Energy IndustryTask Force for passing strong proposals to bring solar back to Nevada. Theseproposals are an important first step towards restoring rooftop solar jobs,consumer choice, and Nevada's rightful place as a leader in clean energy."

Sandoval will decide whether to present some or all of thetask force's proposals to lawmakers who will convene the 79th legislativesession on Feb. 6, 2017, Kelly said. The governor will ask senators andassembly members to sponsor legislation he proposes.

In addition to the net metering recommendation, Bring BackSolar said the task force approved a number of other recommendations to supportrooftop solar, distributed energy resources and other clean energytechnologies. "We urge the Legislature to quickly pass these proposalsnext session to provide certainty to consumers, the utility, and the solarindustry," McCann said.

Such legislation would be directed at utilities ofBerkshire HathawayEnergy subsidiary NV EnergyInc., namely NevadaPower Co. and SierraPacific Power Co.

The task force called for the legislature to require thestate Public Utilities Commission to conduct a full and fair accounting of thecosts and benefits of rooftop solar, Bring Back Solar said. The task force alsoadvised that a measure be passed to encourage community solar adoption with afocus on expanding access to "solar gardens" configurations for minorityand low-income neighborhoods.

A working document for the task force meeting proposed the 2017Legislature consider a bill that would define energy storage technologies bystate law and require that energy storage be considered in utilities'generation, transmission, and distribution planning processes. The proposedlegislation would have energy storage procurement targets, including targetsfor customer-connected storage.

The task force in May called for rooftop solar customersand the PUC subsequently approved a plan to do so shortly after the FirstJudicial District Court of Nevada ruled the commission's earlier decision to phase out netmetering for existing customers was done without proper notice.

While the PUC's decision helps about 32,000 existing rooftopsolar customers, it has maintained its decision to phase out net metering forfuture solar customers. The task force recommendations would apply to those newcustomers.

The 12-member task force includes representatives ofindustry, utility, environmental interests, the legislature and otherstakeholders, according to a list of members in minutes of the task force'sinitial meeting for this year.