Report from DC: Capitol Hill, DOE, CAP & FERC; CAISO Update - Clean Coalition

Report from DC: Capitol Hill, DOE, CAP & FERC; CAISO Update

Highlights from a recent trip to Washington, D.C., by FIT Coalition team members.

Craig Lewis

The FIT Coalition has been steadfast in our efforts to bring Feed-In Tariff policy and the benefits of wholesale distributed generation to the forefront of the clean energy discussion.  FIT Coalition team members recently traveled to Washington, D.C.  Here are the highlights from that trip plus an update on our efforts regarding the California Independent System Operator’s (CAISO) proposal to eliminate the Small Generator Interconnection Procedure (SGIP).

Capitol Hill Briefing on FITs and National Legislation

The FIT Coalition hosted an educational briefing for Congressional staff on the economic benefits of Feed-In Tariffs.  The briefing focused on how a robust FIT would help grow the clean energy economy in the U.S.  In addition to our Executive Director, Craig Lewis presenting, speakers included Randy Hayes, U.S. Director of the World Future Council and Wilson Rickerson, CEO of Meister Consultants Group.  The briefing corresponded with Congressman Jay Inslee’s re-introduction of a national FIT bill.  You can download an official summary here.  To read more about our briefing, see our press release.

Department of Energy and Center for American Progress Briefings

While in DC, the FIT Coalition presented on the benefits of FITs to both the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Center for American Progress.  A senior staff member of the DOE invited the FIT Coalitionto further their staff and colleagues’ understanding of the policy mechanism.  About a dozen top-level staff attended the briefing.  The FIT Coalition will continue to be a resource for the contacts made at the briefing to answer any questions on FIT policy and the benefits of wholesale distributed generation.   The second briefing was hosted by the Center for American Progress.  In addition to CAP staff, other coalition partners in the environmental and clean energy community joined the briefing to learn more about FITs.  The FITCoalition is confident that we gained allies in the fight for Feed-In Tariff policy from these briefings.

Update on CAISO and Meetings with the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission

As we have reported previously, we are intimately involved in the CAISO proceedings to reform the interconnection processes, including their proposal to eliminate the Small Generator Interconnection Procedure (SGIP), which is the streamlined process for 20MW and below energy projects.  FERC has jurisdiction over the CAISO and will rule on their final proposal.  While in DC, the FIT Coalition met with multiple senior staffers (including two advisers to Commissioner Norris) and, most critically, with Commissioner Spitzer and two of his advisers to discuss the CAISO proceedings.  We were very encouraged by the meetings and believe that the FERC understands our position and the risks that the current CAISO proposal represents for wholesale distributed generation.

The FIT Coalition remains hopeful that our work within the CAISO proceeding may result in an end product that makes the interconnection process better for smaller developers, not worse.  On this front, we recently filed extensive comments with the CAISO, which can be downloaded here.  The next step in the proceeding comes on Thursday, September 2nd, when the CAISO posts its final proposal for presentation to the CAISO Board of Governors on Thursday, September 9th.  At that point, we should know if our extensive work within the process has been successful or not.  If necessary, the FIT Coalition will turn once again to your support to join a sign-on a letter as well as pursue other avenues outside of the official CAISO proceeding.  Our original sign-on letter, which many of you joined after our June call-to-action alert, can be downloaded here.  Please look for an update from us on or after September 2nd on this issue.

Craig Lewis

Founder and Executive Director

Craig has over 30 years of experience in the renewables, wireless, semiconductor, and banking industries. Previously VP of Government Relations at GreenVolts, he was the first to successfully navigate a solar project through California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard solicitation process. Craig was also the energy policy lead on Steve Westly’s 2006 California gubernatorial campaign, and his resume includes senior government relations, corporate development, and marketing positions at leading wireless, semiconductor, and banking companies such as Qualcomm, Ericsson, and Barclays Bank.