By Marc Campopiano and Tim Henderson

On March 11, 2013, the California Energy Commission (CEC) released a proposed Seventh Edition of the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) Eligibility Guidebook (proposed Guidebook).  As we discussed in a previous blog entry, on March 28, 2012, the CEC suspended the RPS eligibility of power plants generating electricity using biomethane. 

In response to the passage of AB 2196, which created a pathway for using biomethane to generate RPS-eligible electricity, the proposed Guidebook would lift the biomethane suspension and, among other changes, establish detailed procedures for certifying the RPS eligibility of electricity generated from biomethane.  The proposed changes would allow RPS-eligible electricity from both existing and new facilitates using biomethane provided the new requirements are met.  For example, for new facilities using biomethane delivered by a common-carrier pipeline, the facility must demonstrate that the biomethane flows from the injection point towards the facility and the biomethane capture and injection results in environmental benefits in California. 

In addition to the changes related to biomethane, the proposed Guidebook makes other notable changes to the RPS rules, including:

  •  Clarifying the RPS eligibility requirements for other renewable resources, including biomass and geothermal facilities.
  • Revising the conditions for facilities using nonrenewable fuel above the de minimis threshold to count the facility’s generation towards the RPS.
  • Establishing procedures for storing renewable electricity to produce future renewable energy credits (RECs).
  • Modifying the requirements for the types of facilities that may be RPS-certified, including adding limitations on facilities serving POUs.
  • Revising the process for tracking RPS compliance, including with respect to the retirement and reporting of the use of RECs.   
  • Clarifying the roles of the CEC and CPUC in implementing the RPS program, especially with respect to the portfolio content categories under SBX1-2.

The CEC held a public workshop on the proposed revisions on March 14, 2013, and is accepting comments until March 25, 2013.  A final draft Guidebook is expected in late April 2013.