By Marc T. Campopiano and Tim B. Henderson

On August 9, 2012, the California Energy Commission (CEC) adopted a revised Sixth Edition of the Renewables Portfolio Standard Eligibility Guidebook (RPS Guidebook) to clarify changes to the RPS Guidebook Fifth Edition, which was recently adopted on May 9, 2012, as described in our prior blog discussion.  Highlights of the changes include the following:

  • The CEC clarified additional RPS requirements for generating facilities with a first point of interconnection to the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) electrical grid outside of California to a non-California Balancing Authority.  Most notably, these “out-of-state” facilities must demonstrate that they will not cause or contribute to a violation of California’s environmental laws or regulations.  In addition, generating facilities located outside of the United States must demonstrate that the facility’s development and operation will be “as protective of the environment as a similar facility in California.”  Local publicly owned electric utilities (POUs) and multi-jurisdictional utilities can be exempted from the additional rules if they meet certain criteria.
  • The CEC changed certain requirements for “aggregated” facilities such as small-scale, distributed generation photovoltaic (PV) solar facilities that are grouped together for purposes of RPS eligibility.  In particular, if a sub-facility within the aggregated facility becomes ineligible for the RPS, the aggregated facility may be able to maintain its RPS certification by submitting an amended application to remove the ineligible sub-facility. 
  • The CEC refined several rules regarding the date on which a generating facility is deemed to begin operations, which can affect what RPS eligibility criteria apply.  The RPS Guidebook now requires repowered facilities seeking to change their start date to apply for RPS certification as a repowered facility.  Additionally, certification applications must be submitted within 90 days of the start of operations at the repowered facility in order to secure eligibility for resources generated in the month the facility applied for certification. 
  • The update now provides that utility-certified facilities must apply for certification within 90 days of termination of a utility contract.