To Co-op Currents:
As a longtime WEC member, I was disappointed by the many negative and one-sided portrayals of solar net metering in the recent Coop Currents.
Meeting the challenge that global warming presents to our safety and security requires an increase in new supplies of renewable energy like solar. New solar energy displaces polluting fossil fuels and enables a speedier transition to clean, low-cost energy for home heating, cooling, and transportation. Our electric co-op should enthusiastically support these positive outcomes.
The renewable energy standard is a companion to net metering. WEC members have long enjoyed the financial benefit of selling the renewable energy credits for the power generated by the Coventry landfill gas facility and purchasing lower cost credits from existing renewable resources to continue to claim the power is 100% renewable. Co-op Currents’ negative portrayal of net-metering failed to acknowledge how the energy credit accounting provides windfall financial benefits to Co-op members from selling these credits without producing any new renewable energy to replace fossil fuels.
Financial impacts are not the only impacts of energy policies and decisions. WEC members have benefited from the relatively low-cost power and sales of renewable credits from the Coventry landfill gas facility. This has come at a high cost to the local communities that bear the burdens of pollution from hosting the landfill and disposing of the toxic sludge the landfill generates. These local burdens are far greater than the local impacts of net metered solar energy. I was disappointed that accounting for these impacts to others and benefits to WEC members was not also included in the portrayal of solar net metering.
I look forward to future Co-op Currents providing more accurate information about how WEC and its members support the needed transition to renewable energy.
To Co-op Currents:
I am dismayed by the repeated finger-pointing of net metering (see September’s newsletter) as the reason for WEC’s high utility charges. The October newsletter highlighted the contradiction in this approach.
WEC is requesting a 14% increase in rates because landfill gas production is down and expensive electricity must be purchased on the open market. At the same time each kWh generated by on-site solar reduces the amount of expensive power WEC must purchase. What will happen as more households increase their electrical consumption with heat pumps and electric vehicles? Will WEC need to purchase even more high-priced electricity? Will there be even more rate hikes?
I must ask what is WEC’s business model of the future? Will WEC continue to rely on larger and more frequent rate hikes? Alternatively, will WEC embrace on-site solar paired with battery storage? Batteries open up a way to reduce high-priced power purchases during peak demand periods.
With expanding electrification, the high and every-increasing cost of electricity and federal solar incentives, more and more members are bound to choose on-site solar. How is WEC positioned
Co-op Currents publishes letters from WEC members representing a variety of viewpoints. The Board of Directors encourages and appreciates comments from the membership on issues of importance to the Co-op.