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Net metering now in half of US

With Ohio passing net metering legislation in June as part of its utility restructuring and the Oregon legislature voting unanimously for net metering in July, 25 states, or half of America's 50 states, now have net metering rules or laws. Net metering is considered a fundamental prerequisite for small scale community based wind development. But only Iowa and Ohio allow wind turbines larger than 100 kW, though the generator must be sized to meet the owner's load. In Ohio, a proposed Renewables Portfolio Standard (Windpower Monthly, June 1999) failed to be included in the restructuring legislation. Meantime, net metering is also set to make ground at federal level. Three net metering proposals are floating around the halls of Congress. All include wind, but none allow turbines larger than 100 kW. They are: a net metering provision in the federal utility restructuring bill proposed by Senator Jim Jeffords, the "Clean Energy Act of 1999," which stipulates that excess generation be granted to the distribution utility; a proposal included in Representative Frank Pallone's expanded emissions reduction bill allowing residential customers up to 25 kW of wind or solar generation, and commercial customers up to 250 kW of wind, solar, biomass or fuel cell in net billing; a draft bill from Representative Jay Inslee to standardise net metering across the country with a generator size cap of 250 kW, expected to be lowered to 50 kW. Under the Inslee bill, customers would be able to sell net energy generated "to any electric supplier that agrees to purchase" it.

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