California Energy Regulatory Update


The following is a summary of recent California energy regulatory news and new programs in store for 2011.

Renewable Portfolio Standard Rules Approved

After years of debate and numerous draft decisions, on January 13, 2011, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved the use of Tradable Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs or TRECs) for compliance with California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) (see D.11-01-025). The longawaited and controversial decision lifts the stay on the TRECs decision issued by the CPUC in March of 2010 (D.10-03-021) and ends the moratorium on the approval of power purchase agreements under the RPS classified as “REC-only.” .......

Renewable Auction Mechanism

On December 16, 2010, the CPUC approved a new renewable energy procurement process called the “Renewable Auction Mechanism” (RAM). The decision approving the program (D.10-12-048) requires the IOUs to purchase a total of 1 gigawatt (1,000 MW) of electricity from eligible renewable generation projects up to 20 MW in size during four auctions over a two-year period, allocated among the three IOUs based on retail sales. Bids are to be selected based on price, with the lowest price first, until the utility’s minimum is reached for each auction.....

Pacific Gas & Electric Solar Photovoltaic Program

On December 16, 2010, the CPUC approved a resolution implementing a five-year program under which PG&E may procure up to 250 MW from ground-mounted solar PV facilities in the 1-20 MW range, as well as own and operate an additional 250 MW of such facilities. The resolution approved a solicitation process, eligibility criteria, processes for interconnection, application and prioritizing locations, and standard contracts for the independent power producer portion of the program. The resolution follows the approval of similar utility-owned PV generation programs in California (e.g., SCE’s 500 MW program, focused on 1-2 MW rooftop-mounted projects, and SDG&E’s 100 MW program, focused on 1-5 MW groundmounted projects).....

CPUC Storage Proceeding and CAISO Regulation Energy Management Rules

On December 21, 2010, the CPUC opened a proceeding (R.10-12-007) pursuant to A.B. 2514, to determine appropriate targets, if any, for each load serving as defined by Public Utilities Code Section 380(j) to procure energy storage systems. Our previous WSGR Alert on A.B. 2514 is available at (see alert for link).......

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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