Improvements to Net Metering in Maryland

Attempts are being made to change  current “use it or lose it” net metering to benefit our wind producers.

Due to certain State of Maryland Net Metering Laws, an owner of a small-wind energy system is allowed only to offset the electrical demand at their own meter.  The electricity provider may not deny anyone this right, and the electricity provider must install, at no extra charge, a device called a “net meter” that effectively “runs backward” when the renewable energy device’s electricity production exceeds the demand at the metered location.

There is a 12-month accounting cycle on this new meter.  After 12 months of “crediting” the owner’s  account with the value of their clean, renewable energy production value, if the historical DEMAND exceed the CREDITS  for clean production, the owner must settle-up and pay whatever is the NET cost.

However, in Maryland, any excess electricity produced is not currently “sold”.  Therefore, if at the end of the 12-month accounting period there is a “credit” on the user’s bill, the credit simply is zero’d-out in favor of the electric company.  This is considered “use it or lose it” by the Public Service Commission and no electrical power service provider in Maryland  is obliged to pay for excess electricity produced.

So today, there is no incentive to design a wind energy system larger than the load/demand for any customer. .

In other states, there are opportunities for excess-electricity produced to be sold back to the power companies, or aggregated and shared among a number of user’s meters.  These are models we are watching closely and would like to introduce to Maryland.

*** Legislation may be introduced in the 2010 Maryland Assembly to enable farmers and other private owners of wind energy systems to sell excess power produced at retail back to the electric power company.   This legislation may provide an opportunity for certain optimal wind sites on farm lands to become small “wind farmettes tm” and enable the farmer to become a net-seller of electricity.