On June 30, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 205 (“AB 205”), which, among various other things, expands the siting jurisdiction of the California Energy Commission (“CEC”) to include non-thermal generating facilities, such as solar and wind projects, with a capacity of 50 megawatts (MW) or more. The CEC’s siting jurisdiction was previously
Commission Ruling Reopens the NEM 3.0 Record to Invite Comment on and Consider Limited Issues
In its first move since hitting “pause” on the California Public Utilities Commission’s (Commission) consideration of a controversial December 2021 proposed decision (Proposed Decision or PD) that would have overhauled the existing net energy metering (NEM) tariff for California’s solar customers, the presiding administrative law judge (ALJ) issued a ruling on May 9 to reopen the record and invite party comments on a limited scope of issues.
The Commission adopted California’s existing solar tariff, known as NEM 2.0, on January 28, 2016 in Decision (D.) 16-01-044. Customers opting into this tariff pay a one-time interconnection fee (less than $150 for systems under 1 MW and $800 for systems over 1 MW). Customers taking service on the NEM tariff are automatically opted into a time-of-use rate plan and are subject to select non-bypassable charges (NBCs) that are used to fund general customer programs such as contributions to the wildfire fund, nuclear decommissioning, and the public purpose program, among others. NEM customers receive a bill credit for any excess generation produced by their system and exported to the electric grid, which credits may be used to offset customer energy costs. Under NEM 2.0, any excess generation credits are applied to the customer’s bill at the same retail rate (including generation, distribution and transmission charges) the customer would have paid for the energy consumption.
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California Makes Progress Towards Ensuring Electric Reliability for Summer 2022
On January 11, 2022, the California Energy Commission (CEC) issued an update to its Summer 2022 Stack Analysis. Previously, on September 8, 2021, the CEC issued a revised Summer 2022 Stack Analysis that showed potential energy shortfalls ranging from 200 MW to 4,350 MW during the months of July through September 2022, in the evening…
California Public Utilities Commission Ruling Seeks Comments on Preferred System Plan for 2022-2032
In docket R.20-05-003, its Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) proceeding, the California Public Utilities Commission is considering its preferred portfolio of new resources for the next ten years. A lengthy administrative law judge ruling issued August 17, 2021 set out a suggested Preferred System Plan (PSP) for the proceeding, including a suggested resource portfolio through 2032,…
CAISO Clarifies Generator Deliverability Assessment Proposal
In a stakeholder call yesterday, the CAISO discussed the Revised Draft Final Proposal in the Generator Deliverability Assessment stakeholder initiative. During the call, the CAISO addressed outstanding stakeholder questions, including confirming key upcoming dates for project developers.
Background on the Proposal
The CAISO is proposing revisions to its deliverability assessment methodology in response to the rapid increase in the amount of solar resources and the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) resulting transition to an Effective Load Carrying Capability (ELCC) approach to calculating qualifying capacity (QC). The CAISO’s revisions are intended to more closely align the capacity studied in the deliverability assessment with the generator’s anticipated QC under the CPUC’s new ELCC methodology. Under the current deliverability assessment methodology, generators are studied at a higher capacity than the projects can qualify for under the ELCC methodology. Under the revised deliverability methodology, projects are expected to retain their full capacity deliverability status (FCDS) and their NQC value will not be reduced, but the proposed change should be beneficial to future interconnection customers because it will free up some unused deliverability and likely result in fewer required network upgrades to receive FCDS.
As part of the proposal the CAISO is also creating a new sub-status for solar and wind projects: Off-Peak Deliverability Status (OPDS). New solar and wind OPDS resources will receive market scheduling priority by continuing to be allowed to self-schedule as an incentive for resources to develop in locations that do not trigger upgrades or trigger only low-cost localized transmission upgrades.
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Ninth Circuit Strikes Down California ReMAT in Winding Creek Solar Case
On July 29, 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision in Winding Creek Solar LLC v. Peterman et al., ruling that California’s feed-in tariff for small qualifying facilities (QFs), the Renewable Market Adjusting Tariff (ReMAT), violates the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) (Ninth Circuit Case No. 17-17531). ReMAT provides small QFs of three megawatts (MW) or less with a standard contract for energy offtake, on a first-come, first-served basis. Under ReMAT, rates available to any given generator fluctuate based on the price the developers ahead in the contract queue will accept. The California investor-owned utilities must offer ReMAT contracts up to a program cap of 750 MW, which is proportionately split among the utilities, and then further divided across different types of generation, including baseload and peak/non-peak resources.
The Ninth Circuit ruled that ReMAT violated two tenets of PURPA. Under PURPA, subject to certain exemptions, utilities are required to buy at the avoided cost rate all the power produced by a QF. First, contrary to PURPA’s requirement that a utility buy all of a QF’s output, the Ninth Circuit found that ReMAT limits the amount of energy that utilities are required to purchase from QFs by placing caps on procurement. Second, ReMAT sets a market-based rate for energy from participating QFs, rather than a price based on the utilities’ avoided cost as required under PURPA.
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Oregon’s DLCD Finalizes Solar Siting Rules
This post was co-authored by Stoel Rives summer associate Ken Pearson.
On May 23, the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development made permanent the Temporary Amendments to OAR 660-033-0130, promulgated on January 29, 2019, which restrict the extent to which counties may approve construction of new commercial solar facilities on high-value farm land. You…
Key Energy Related Bills Introduced in the 2019-2020 Legislative Session
The 2019-2020 California Legislative Session has reached its first deadline. February 22, 2019 marked the deadline by which bills could be introduced for the first half of the Legislative Session. Lawmakers will begin Spring Recess April 12 and reconvene April 22. The last day for bills to be passed out of the house of origin is May 31, 2019.
Below is a list of some of the key bills Stoel Rives’ Energy Team will be monitoring throughout the Legislative Session. We note that some bills do not contain language beyond the “intent of the Legislature.” However, we will continue to monitor these bills in case of substantive amendments. These bills are set forth separately below under the heading “Legislative Intent.”
The majority of the bills introduced this Legislative Session relate in some way to California’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and move to cleaner sources of generation, including legislation governing electric vehicles, energy storage, and renewable energy. A number of bills introduced in February also attempt to address the impacts of wildfires, or to reduce wildfire risk.
AB 40 (Ting, D) Zero-emission vehicles: comprehensive strategy.
Status: Introduced December 3, 2018; referred to Committees on Transportation and Natural Resources January 24, 2019.
AB 40 would require by no later than January 1, 2021, the State Air Resources Board to develop a comprehensive strategy to ensure that the sales of new motor vehicles and new light-duty trucks in the state have transitioned fully to zero-emission vehicles, as defined, by 2040, as specified.
Continue Reading Key Energy Related Bills Introduced in the 2019-2020 Legislative Session
Oregon Adopts Temporary Rules Limiting Solar Siting on Certain High-Value Farmlands
On January 29, 2019, the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, the state’s land use agency, filed temporary rules amending the standards for siting solar PV facilities on agricultural lands. Although the Land Conservation and Development Commission stopped short of making the changes permanent in order to further consider stakeholder interests at its May…
Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development Issues Staff Report/Clarifications Regarding Proposed Solar PV Rules
As a follow up to last week’s post about the proposed rules that would limit the development of solar PV on certain high-value farmland in Oregon, the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development issued its staff report on the proposed rules. The staff report provides an overview of the rationale for the proposed changes…