Improving On-Farm Clean Energy Rules
** NEW: Check out our renewable energy ‘Progress Report’ here. **
To find out how net metering can work to save you money and increase efficiency, view our Fact Sheet here.
In 2012, CalCAN supported passage of a bill (SB 594 – Wolk) to create the Net Energy Metering Aggregation (NEMA) program (see below for details). This new program allows renewable energy that is connected to the grid through one meter (the ‘Generating Account’) to be credited against electricity use on other meters.
Farmers and ranchers typically have multiple meters on their property. NEMA is a straightforward, cost-effective way to spread renewable energy production across those meters. CalCAN worked with partners at the Farm Bureau and the Agricultural Energy Consumers Association to ensure that the NEMA rules work for farmers who produce renewable electricity through a Net Energy Metering tariff.
NEMA is now available for customers in the PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E service areas. Other electric utilities may provide NEMA or a similar option—check with your utility representative and let us know what you find out!
In November 2016, CalCAN published a report and recommendations on the program — dig into the details by reading it here.
And for a quick primer on how NEMA works, we recommend CalCom Solar’s useful video explanation of NEMA.
Net Energy Metering Aggregation Resources
CalCAN Net Metering Aggregation Fact Sheet
Our two-page fact sheet covers the basics of this exciting new option and answers Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about on-farm clean energy production.
How Does Net Energy Metering Work?
An informative video presentation on the fundamentals of how Net Energy Metering can work for business and agricultural electricity customers.
PG&E NEM Aggregation Tariff Overview – Slide Presentation
This presentation from PG&E includes an overview of how NEMA works, including some useful diagrams and links.
PG&E Net Energy Metering (under 30 kW) Webpage
Links and information on PG&E’s Net Energy Metering program for systems under 30 kW in size.
PG&E Net Energy Metering (30 kW to 1 MW) Webpage
Links and information on PG&E’s Net Energy Metering program for systems between 30 kW and 1 MW in size.
PG&E NEM Aggregation Load Appendix Form
Fill out this form to apply for Net Energy Metering Aggregation through PG&E. For systems under 30 kW, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. For systems between 30 kW and 1 MW in size, submit the form via the online application portal.
Meter Aggregation (SB 594)
On September 27, 2012, Governor Brown signed a bill giving California farmers, school districts and commercial energy users a boost. CalCAN supported Senate Bill 594, which removes barriers to on-site renewable energy production.
Senate Bill 594, authored by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis), allows Net Energy Metering (NEM) customers to aggregate the electrical load of their meters. The new law eases the production of small-scale distributed renewable energy production in the state.
“California farmers produce more renewable energy on their farms and ranches than their counterparts in other states, but obstacles still exist,” said Jeanne Merrill Policy Director with CalCAN. “The Governor’s action today moves us closer to developing more on-farm renewable energy production throughout California.”
Farmers and ranchers typically have multiple meters on their property. Current California law prohibits the power generated from an on-site renewable facility to be counted against other meters. Consequently, farmers would have to install a separate facility for each meter, which is extremely inefficient and cost prohibitive; thus limiting their ability to cost-effectively generate renewable energy. Senate Bill 594 addresses this issue and eliminates the need for multiple facilities.
“The Governor just made it easier and more affordable for growers like me to produce renewable energy,” said Russ Lester, owner of Dixon Ridge Farms in Winters, CA. “California agriculture can help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions and produce clean energy. Senate Bill 594 is an important step forward.”
Senate Bill 594 moves California closer to meeting the Governor’s goal of 12,000 megawatts of distributed renewable energy generation in the state.
The full text of the bill can be found here.
Renewable Energy Equity Act (SB 489)
On October 8, 2011 SB 489 became law in California. This CalCAN-sponsored bill opened California’s Net Energy Metering Program to all eligible forms of renewable energy and makes it easier for farmers and ranchers to develop innovation renewable energy projects by allowing them to easily and effectively get those projects connect to the grid. The Renewable Energy Equity Act will help California produce homegrown clean, renewable energy and reduce our state’s greenhouse gas emissions.
We are deeply grateful for the leadership of the author, Senator Lois Wolk, and her very capable staff for understanding the importance of this bill for California farmers and for the state’s renewable energy goals. Two other leaders on the issue are Russ Lester and Jenny Lester-Moffitt at Dixon Ridge Farms who have led the field with innovations in producing heat and electricity by gasifying walnut shells. Justin Malan (Ecoconsult) and Karen Mills (California Farm Bureau) also made this victory possible.
Two examples of the type of agriculture renewable energy projects that have benefited from the Renewable Energy Equity Act:
1. Russ Lester at Dixon Ridge Farms, producer and processor of organic walnuts near Winters, uses walnut shells as the feedstock to produce electricity to power his freezers (used to keep the walnuts fresh and kill insect pests) and heat from the gasification process to dry the walnuts. Dixon Ridge has not been able to get their small-scale bioenergy project connected to the grid and credited for the energy they produce. Under SB 489, Dixon Ridge Farms can be credited on the farm’s utility bill for the renewable energy produced. See: http://www.californiareport.org/archive/R201108250850/a
2. Straus Family Dairy in Marin County installed a methane biodigester that produces electricity to power the dairy operation and their electric vehicles. SB 489 enables these kinds of small-scale biogas projects to tie into the grid. Here is a short video about Straus Dairy’s renewable energy project: http://vimeo.com/15641142