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News Analysis

According to the solar industry, a U.S. appeals court decision—and a Southern California Edison petition pending at the FERC—might put them out of business.
Fortnightly Magazine - October 1 2000

in a reliable and cost-effective manner," the California Solar Energy Industries Association observes in its intervenor filing. Calling SCE's long-term contracts with qualifying facilities "one of the best hedges against price volatility and supply shortages that the utility has," it says that "[i]n the face of such problems, and the California Governor's personal appeal to regulators to look for ways to increase generation, SCE's efforts to reduce electric generation ... [seem], at best, irrational." The association points out further that SCE recently went to the state PUC requesting permission to buy even more power from the QFs to help it meet high summer demand.

Says association executive director Nelson, "At a time when we're desperately casting the vote for new capacity [in California], it's a hugely inopportune time for [SCE] to have done this from a public relations standpoint."

In a sense, though, the battle was lost a year ago, when first came out, according to solar advocates. In Wills' view, thanks to SCE's calculated efforts that began with initiating the case, the solar industry can only hope to maintain the ground it already owned, never mind working toward further expansion.

"Basically, has killed the solar industry [from] going forward. My hat's off to Edison for killing an industry."

The solar camp had until Sept. 12 to file a response to Edison's most recent filing.

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