An alert written by Stoel Rives partners Seth Hilton and John McKinsey:

The California Energy Commission RPS staff has proposed some significant and potentially important revisions to the RPS Eligibility Guidebook and the Overall Program Guidebook.  Written comments on the proposed revisions are due September 10, 2010, by 5:00 p.m.  The CEC will consider approval of the revisions at the November 17, 2010 CEC Business Meeting.  The revisions would become effective immediately upon adoption. 

Some of the most significant changes proposed to the RPS Eligibility Guidebook include:


  • Facility operators and fuel suppliers would now be required to verify that fuel meets RPS eligibility requirements.


  • Biogas use would now be allowed to generate electricity at the fuel processing site.  If not, the biogas must be transported by one of three methods to the electric generating facility.
  • The eligibility of biogas would now be expanded to include electric generating facilities located outside of California (but within the WECC – must deliver to pipeline that is directly linked to California).


  • Biomass facilities could now use up to 5% nonrenewable fuel if the facility participates in the Existing Renewable Facilities Program and up to 2% if the facility participates only in the RPS program.
  • Facility operators would now be required to provide verifications that fuel meets RPS eligibility requirements.

Fuel Cells:

  • Fuel cells would now be allowed to use the following renewable fuels in electrochemical reaction to generate electricity:  landfill gas, digester gas, other RPS-eligible gases, and Hydrogent or hydrogen-RCI gases derived from a non-fossil fuel or feedstock through the use of power generated by an RPS-eligible resource.

Out-of-State Facilities:

  • The proposed changes would require submission of environmental documentation to support the analysis submitted on Laws, Ordinances, Regulations and Standards requirements.

Multiple Fuel Facilities – Measurement Methods:

  • The proposed changes would require all facilities using multiple energy inputs to select and submit an appropriate measurement method, or submit an alternative, that will be used to measure the contribution of each resource.  Such measurements would apply to three categories: combustion and fuel cell, non-combustion thermal, and non-thermal electric generating technologies (excluding fuel cells).

CEC staff also proposes changes to the Overall Program Guidebook, including changes to the definitions of biogas, biomass, central station and distributed generation, commercial operation and hydroelectric. 


Perhaps equally important, CEC staff will consider further changes immediately after the November 17 CEC Business Meeting, including for example, limitations on biogas delivery via injection into natural gas pipelines.  CEC staff has asked for stakeholder input on additional areas, which can be found at

If these changes are important to you, comments will be accepted up to September 10 and again at the CEC Business Meeting on November 17.

If you have any questions about the issues of this update, please contact:

Seth Hilton at (916) 319-4749 or
John McKinsey at (916) 319-4746 or