September 2008 IREC “Connecting to the Grid” Newsletter

Vol. 11, No. 9

Editor: Laurel Varnado

N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University

HOW TO SUSCRIBE

IREC’s Connecting to the Grid newsletter is published electronically every month by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) and the North Carolina Solar Center at North Carolina State University. This is a free publication. Click here to subscribe. Send comments or relevant news to lavarnad@ncsu.edu.

FORMAT

While net metering and interconnection below the 20 MW level are primarily state issues, they are also becoming important on a regional basis. This newsletter has been designed to capture any subtle, emerging regional trends. The state news is presented in generic geographic categories, primarily because the standard NERC (ERO) and/or RTO/ISO regions do not always align with state boundaries.

Note: Scroll to the bottom of this page to download complete newsletter.

WHAT’S NEW AS OF SEPTEMBER 2008?

Region-by-Region Recap

Northeast States

Connecticut – Solar leasing program announced

Massachusetts – DPU orders rate decoupling

New York – Governor signs NM legislation
Mid-Atlantic States

District of Columbia – PSC posts 2nd IC NOPR

Pennsylvania – PUC finalizes NM payment rules

Pennsylvania – PUC proposes IC application fees

Virginia – Commission issues final NM order

Midwestern States

Illinois – ICC issues final interconnection order

Michigan – PSC adopts federal NM standard

South Dakota – PUC staff issues IC proposal

Southern States

Florida – PSC opens docket for RPS rulemaking

Florida – PSC staff posts strawman draft RPS

Western States

Idaho – Idaho Power wants to fully deploy AMI

Nevada – PUC to examine third-party issues

New Mexico – PRC finalizes IC/NM rules

Oregon – PUC grants NM rights to 3rd party owners

Utah – Renewable task force holds first meeting

Other States

Alaska – RCA holds public meeting on NM

Miscellaneous News

• Capstone to power microturbine with solar energy

• NERC notes progress of demand-side resources

• Vermont advancing toward the smart grid

• PG&E signs two utility-scale PV contracts

Conferences and Events

Region-by-Region Recap

In the Northeast, New York Governor David Paterson enacted legislation for solar and wind net metering. The solar law permits net metering as follows: residential systems up to 25 kW; non-residential systems up to the lesser of 2 MW or the customer’s peak load for the prior 12 months; and, farm systems (agricultural waste) up to the lesser of 1 MW or the customer’s peak load for the prior 12 months. The wind law permits net metering as follows: residential up to 25 kW; farms up to 500 kW; and, non-residential up to 2 MW. The wind net metering credits will be on a one-to-one retail rate ratio, and each utility will develop a PSC-approved schedule for solar net metering credits. Year-end excess credits for both wind and solar systems shall be paid out at each utility’s avoided cost of generation.

In Massachusetts, the Department of Public Utilities issued an order establishing a rate decoupling mechanism to facilitate the state’s desired aggressive expansion of demand-side resources (e.g., energy-efficiency, demand response, CHP, and renewables). This mechanism removes the disincentives utilities experience when participating in these activities.

In Connecticut, Governor Jodi Rell was pleased to announce a first-in-the-nation program where residents with a low-to-moderate income may lease a photovoltaic system for about $120 a month on a 15-year lease, with no downpayment. And, in Vermont, the start of a smart grid pilot program was announced jointly by the Department of Public Service (DPS) and the state’s largest investor-owned utility, Central Vermont Public Service. This pilot will likely be followed by full deployment beginning in 2011. Most importantly, the DPS recognizes that a unified, regional approach to the smart grid is critical and is working with other New England regulators to encourage similar initiatives.

In the Mid-Atlantic, the Pennsylvania PUC finalized its new net metering rules with a posting to the Pennsylvania Bulletin. The rule expands the eligible capacity of non-residential net metered systems from 1 MW to 3 MW, while maintaining the residential limit at 50 kW. In Virginia, the State Corporation Commission (VCC) issued a final order which permits net metering for renewable generators with a capacity no greater than 10 kW for residential systems and 500 kW for non-residential systems. Generators connected to an investor-owned utility will receive net metering credits based on average locational marginal prices for their PJM load zone. The VCC continues to work on its draft interconnection rules.

The District of Columbia PSC has posted its second set of proposed interconnection rules to the D.C. Register and is nearing finalization of those rules. And, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities continues to develop the rules necessary to comply with the state’s new net metering law, while also helping to draft the state’s Energy Master Plan. This Master Plan includes recommendations about solar and wind renewables, the state’s RPS, and the smart grid.

In the Midwest, the Michigan PSC issued an order which moves net metering from a voluntary utility offering to a mandated one. While the order did not provide any details as to the eligible size of the generator or the value of the net metering credit, each utility is required to file a tariff with those details by December 31, 2009 (one and one-half years from now.) In Illinois, the Commerce Commission has finalized its interconnection rules for generators sized 10 MVA or less. The Ohio PUC is contemplating commentary on the changes it proposes to its energy regulations, including net metering, to comply with the state’s new comprehensive energy legislation. And, in South Dakota, the PUC staff has posted its proposed interconnection rules for generators sized 10 MW or less, and has recommended that the PUC open a rulemaking docket.

In the South, the Florida PSC is continuing to develop a renewable portfolio standard and the PSC staff has just issued a strawman proposal for public commentary.

In the West, the Oregon PUC has granted net metering rights to third party owners of small distributed generators; and, the Nevada PUC is considering whether or not such third party owners should be considered public utilities. The New Mexico PRC has finalized two sets of interconnection rules for generators above and below 10 MW; while the Arizona commission continues to contemplate its proposed net metering rules. And, finally, Idaho Power, a subsidiary of IDACORP, has requested PUC permission to fully deploy AMI across its territory over the next three years.

 

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