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CPUC Decision Allows Renewable Energy Credits For RPS Compliance

Posted On:
November 3, 2015
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United States
» Colorado

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has ruled that the state's investor-owned utilities can use tradable renewable energy credits (RECs) to comply with California's renewable portfolio standard (RPS).The decision changes how California utilities can meet RPS requirements. Previously, utilities needed to purchase renewable energy and RECs together on a bundled basis. The CPUC decision allows companies to purchase or trade renewable energy and the respective credits separately."Tradable renewable energy credits can play an important role in increasing the liquidity of the renewable market," says Michael R. Peevey, president of the CPUC.

"However, this needs to be balanced with a deliberate approach to ensure that the use of renewable energy credits is not at odds with the intended goals of the RPS program."The commission notes that the ability to resell RECs apart from the associated energy provides flexibility in the renewable energy market. This flexibility can "reduce stranded-cost risk and create new revenue streams for customer-side renewable facilities," the CPUC says.The commission's first formal decision related to tradable RECs was delivered in March 2010 - and was subsequently stayed when the state's largest investor-owned utilities asked the CPUC to revisit the issue.The decision affirms the CPUC's original position. Until Dec. 31, 2013, a temporary limit on the use of tradable RECs will be in play. During this time, investor-owned utilities can use tradable RECs to meet no more than 25% of their annual RPS targets.

SoloPower Inc., a California-based manufacturer of flexible copper indium gallium diselenide thin-film solar cells and modules, will locate a new high-volume manufacturing facility in Wilsonville, Ore. The initial phase of this expansion will be the construction of a 75 MW manufacturing line, which is expected to create 170 new jobs.Upon completion, the facility is projected to have a nameplate capacity of 300 MW, employ approximately 500 people, and have a total investment of approximately $340 million. The state's Small Scale Energy Loan Program advisory committee has recommended approval to the Oregon Department of Energy for a $20 million loan to SoloPower. The company has also applied for a Business Energy Tax Credit of $20 million from the state of Oregon. Simultaneously, SoloPower is in discussions with the U.S. Department of Energy to obtain a loan guarantee under Section 1703 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to support the construction of the additional production lines.  
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