The Texas PUC denied a petition Friday from the Sierra Club and other environmental and renewable groups to grow the non-wind renewable portfolio standard. The groups wanted the PUC to initiate and conduct a rulemaking proceeding relating to the implementation of the 500-MW target for non-wind resources and to expand it to 3,000 MWs by 2025.
The petitioners wanted to include language that would set up separate tiers of renewable energy credits (RECs) for wind and non-wind resources, letting retailers alternative compliance payments and giving storage RECs when they were filed with renewable energy. Many of the comments that the PUC reviewed were in favor of the petition, arguing it was needed to make sure the legislature’s intent that 500-MWs of non-wind renewables be online by 2015. Others opposed the petition, arguing that the 500-MW target was “aspirational” and very distinct from the overall 5,000-MW target which has long since been met.
The expanded 3,000-MW target could cost $450 million to $2 billion when it was fully implemented, the Alliance for Retail Markets argued. The PUC found that it does not need to act to meet the existing 500-MW, non-wind renewable target, noting that as of 2011 some 270 MWs of non-wind resources had been added since 2005. ERCOT has another 615 MWs of solar under study for interconnection, which means that the 500 MW goal should be met.
Making the goal mandatory would lead to substantially higher costs, with staff estimating a 500-MW mandate could cost $200 million/year. Providing subsidies to particular resources could distort ERCOT’s energy market due to a boost in federally subsidized generation when the PUC is trying to ensure the market sends the right signals to get generation built.
The commission has already rejected similar proposals to those in the petition twice before and it said that the document does not present any explanation as to why a different course should be taken now.
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Tags: Green Mountain Energy, Public Utility Commission, Renewable Energy, Restructuring Today, Sierra Club, Texas