In a proposed decision issued yesterday from the California Public Utilities Commission, an administrative law judge (ALJ) determined that energy storage devices (i) that are paired with net energy metering- (NEM) eligible generation facilities, and (ii) that meet the Renewables Portfolio Standard Eligibility Guidebook requirements to be considered an "addition or enhancement" to NEM-eligible systems are "exempt from interconnection application
Ameren is dusting off a discriminatory method for interconnection customers to fund network upgrades in the Midcontinent ISO region, using two past victories in support of its campaign. But there are key differences between this dispute and those before it, and FERC should deny Ameren’s latest attempt to breathe life into the Option 1 funding that met its fate years ago.
Continue Reading Ameren Should LOSE the Latest Battle Over Option 1 Network Upgrade Funding in the Midcontinent ISO Region
On Thursday, March 27, 2014, the California Public Utilities Commission established rules for transitioning distributed generation renewable energy systems from the current net energy metering (NEM) arrangement to the successor tariff which will be adopted by the CPUC in 2015.
The decision, D.14-03-041, was mandated by last year’s passage of AB 327, requiring implementation of changes to California’s NEM program by 2017. AB 327 specifically directed the CPUC to establish a transition period for “pre-existing” systems based on a “reasonable expected payback period” and other factors consistent with California’s policy to promote the use of renewable energy. Under the legislation, systems installed prior to the earlier of July 1, 2017, or the date upon which the customer’s utility reaches the 5% cap on its capacity subject to the net metering tariff, would be eligible for the transition period.
The CPUC decided that 20 years from the date of installation (interconnection) would be the transition period for pre-existing systems. The adopted period is longer than advocated by the utilities and certain ratepayer organizations and shorter than urged by some members of the solar industry and local governments. The Commission also rejected arguments that customers installing systems after adoption of the transition rule should have shorter transition periods on the theory that they had notice of the coming change in tariffs and therefore could not have had reasonable expectations of more lengthy “payback” periods. Continue Reading CPUC Adopts Transitional Net Metering Rules for Pre-Existing Distributed Generation Systems
In a follow up to our prior post, we now report that the Minnesota Commission subsequently modified its initial decision to clarify that Xcel Energy is directed to negotiate a power purchase agreement with the solar bidder, which will be reviewed by the Commission to ensure the terms are consistent with the public interest.…
After the years of inconclusive resource planning, months of contested case proceedings, and days of oral argument, discussion and review that led to today’s deliberations, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (“Commission”) unanimously decided not to decide. The ultimate question before the Commission was what capacity needs had been determined in the record and what should…
If you are drafting a liquidated damages clause that applies Texas law, a decision today by the Supreme Court of Texas might encourage you to hire an oracle. Because if you negotiate a liquidated damages provision in a “second-look” state without using the power of divination, you may be surprised when a once-reasonable estimate of damages becomes unenforceable because of subsequent changes in the market.
Continue Reading Negotiating a Liquidated Damages Clause in Texas? Get Out Your Crystal Ball.
Yesterday afternoon, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved the methodology for calculating value of solar (VOS) tariffs in Minnesota as developed by the Department of Commerce. In doing so, Minnesota became the first in the nation to adopt a VOS tariff methodology.
The Commission was required by statute to take action on the VOS calculation methodology by the end of the month. It had three options: to approve it as proposed, reject it, or approve it with modifications and with the consent of the Department. For background on the Department’s January 31st recommendation, see our blog posts here and here. The Department subsequently included several modifications affecting the fuel price escalation factor, the avoided distribution capacity cost, and the environmental cost categories.
In its ruling, the Commission approved the Department’s methodology, as amended, by a 3-2 vote.Continue Reading Value of Solar Achieves a New Dawn in Minnesota
After a full day of hearing arguments on Xcel’s proposed Community Solar Garden (CSG) program (see more on that here), the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission deliberated in public on the issue yesterday and made some important modifications to Xcel’s proposal. The program would allow Xcel customers to invest in off-site solar facilities and receive…
Qualifying facility interconnection conversions can be an effective way to bypass the interconnection queue, even during a repower. But there are groundrules to a conversion, and today FERC applied those rules and determined that qualifying facility owners may not be entitled to as much converted capacity as they might think.
Continue Reading Qualifying Facility Conversions – It’s What All the Kids Are Talking About
In May 2013, the Minnesota Legislature passed legislation that, among other things, set a solar standard, directed Xcel Energy to develop a community solar garden program, and provided for the development of an alternative tariff mechanism to net metering that would also serve as the rate for community solar garden programs. Under this new scenario and instead of traditional net-metering arrangements, customers would potentially buy all of their electricity from their local distribution utility and then sell all of their PV generation under that utility’s Value of Solar (VOS) tariff which would be designed to capture the societal value of PV-generated electricity.
The legislation directed the Department of Commerce to work with stakeholders to develop a VOS methodology and to deliver its recommendations to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (Commission) on Friday, January 31, 2014. The Department’s filing today includes its recommendation, with a more in-depth document addressing the methodology. The Department’s recommendations do not set a rate, but rather propose the methodology for calculating a utility-specific rate for distributed PV solar (1 MW and smaller). If the Department’s sample calculation is any indicator of what’s to come, however, the value went from $0.126/kWh in its initial draft to $0.135/kWh in the documents filed this morning.Continue Reading What is the Value of Solar? Minnesota Agency Starts to Answer. . .