For all the strong words and hard feelings over the proposed Madaket wind turbine, whether the project goes forward or not might hinge on state rules regarding Nantucket’s eligibility for National Grid’s net-metering program.
Town officials, as well as state senator Dan Wolf and state representative Tim Madden, met with the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) last week to hash out how to deal with a restrictive cap on Nantucket’s eligibility for the net-metering program – in which customers with solar or wind-energy projects receive credits if they generate enough power to become net exporters – that puts it at a distinct disadvantage in pursuing renewable-energy projects compared to other cities and towns in Massachusetts.
Under existing state rules, Nantucket’s cap was determined by the historic peak electric load of the old Nantucket Electric Company, while many other cities and towns in the state are capped by the historic peak of an entity known as the Massachusetts Electric Company, a far larger number.
The good news, according to officials and project consultants who attended the meeting, is that the DPU indicated a willingness to allow Nantucket to be consolidated with other the other Massachusetts cities and towns under the higher eligibility cap.
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