The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has issued a proposed decision to launch a feed-in-tariff (FIT) program designed to drive midsized renewable energy development. The FIT program would require investor-owned California utilities to purchase electricity from renewable energy systems that are between 1 MW and 20 MW in size.
The CPUC proposal establishes a 1 GW pilot program for power from eligible midsized renewable energy systems. The program requires California's three largest investor- owned utilities to hold biannual competitive auctions into which renewable energy developers can bid. Utilities must award contracts starting with the lowest-cost viable project, moving up in price until the megawatt requirement is reached for that round.
Vote Solar notes that this CPUC program would overcome the jurisdictional challenge presented by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's ruling last month that determined that states do not have the authority to establish wholesale electricity rates that exceed utility"avoided costs." Instead, this program would require utilities to purchase a certain type of energy (e.g., from renewable energy systems under 20 MW in size with particular power characteristics) and let market mechanisms determine the price.
SOURCE: Vote Solar