On Friday, December 16, 2010, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a decision ("Final Decision") ordering a new tariff for a procurement protocol called the Renewable Auction Mechanism, or RAM. RAM applies to California’s three largest investor-owned utilities ("IOUs"). All renewable energy projects up to 20 MW that are located in the service territory of one of the IOUs are eligible for RAM. The program authorizes the IOUs, on an interim basis, to acquire up to 1,000 MW of renewable generation, with each IOU allocated a portion of the 1,000 MW cap.
RAM will consist of two auctions per year. Twenty-five percent of the total program allocation will be offered in each auction; unsubscribed capacity and drop-out capacity is added to the next auction. Auctions for all three IOUs will be conducted simultaneously, and a project may bid into all three auctions. If a project is selected in more than one auction, however, it must notify all affected IOUs which one shortlist it will accept within 10 days of its notice that it was selected in multiple auctions.
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