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ISETA Statement on DOE Study

August 25, 2017

Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association Statement on DOE Grid Study


Des Moines, IA – Following is a statement from Tim Dwight, President of the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association, regarding the newly-released “Staff Report on Electric Markets and Reliability” from the U.S. Department of Energy.


“We agree with several findings in the report, including that ‘a diverse portfolio of generation resources and well-planned transmission investments are critical to meeting regional reliability objectives.’ Solar energy has proven it can be effectively and reliability integrated into the grid in Iowa without sacrificing reliability.


Even small utilities like Farmers Electric Coop in Kalona have proven it’s reliable and beneficial to consumers to add solar energy to the energy portfolio. With the most solar of any utility in Iowa, Farmers has the best reliability indices among all Iowa utilities and the System Average Interrupting Duration Index (SAIDI) reduced systematically as solar was added.


We appreciate the DOE’s focus on grid resiliency. Solar energy has proven it can benefit consumers during abnormal service conditions such as extreme heat events, low water conditions and fluctuating fuel costs. Advances in technology like power electronics help solar energy meet or exceed the level of reliability provided by conventional plants.


We also agree that easing regulatory barriers will help modernize the energy grid and transmission infrastructure. States and utilities need the ability to innovate and manage their unique energy needs.


On the net metering topic, we are thankful the report mentioned that ‘studies have quantified the retail rate impacts of net metering to all residential customers (i.e., participants and non-participants) and found that current and projected levels of net metering have very little impact, especially compared to broader drivers of retail rate increases in the electric industry.’


Iowa now generates more solar than ever before, and generates a third of its electricity from wind alone without sacrificing reliability and maintaining the sixth lowest electricity costs in the county. Iowa can serve as a model for other states to follow as they diversify their energy portfolios for increased grid security and reliability.


ISETA is committed to continuing to grow solar energy in Iowa, which will create jobs, bolster supply and manufacturing industries, provide benefits to energy consumers, and strengthen rural communities while also maintaining grid reliability.”

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