Oregon OKs dual PGE approach to procure renewables for business customers
- The Oregon Public Utilities Commission has approved a Voluntary Renewable Energy Tariff (VRET) proposed by Portland General Electric, paving the way for large customers to purchase energy directly from solar, wind or other renewable generators.
- PGE will now propose a schedule for an upcoming second phase of the proceeding, where parties will consider issues including participation limitations of a "bring-your-own" (BYO) Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) program that could add up to 200 MW all together for the utility's largest customers.
- In total, the VRET will allow PGE to procure up to 300 MW of new nameplate resources, including 100 MW the utility will procure through a competitive request for proposals for PPAs.
There are still details to be worked out, but the Oregon PUC's approval will allow PGE to procure renewables for non-residential customers under two different methods.
For customers with an average load greater than 10 MW, PGE will use a BYO-PPA option separate from utility-procured capacity, and will retain final approval over any PPA conditions. For smaller non-residential customers, PGE will utilize a competitive procurement to obtain the VRET capacity.
The clean energy offerings are part of a wave of creative PPA tariffs utilities are offering to corporate and municipal customers. Through November 2018, almost 100 cities had 100% renewables commitments and the number of Fortune 500 companies with 100% renewables goals more than doubled last year.
In the next phase of PGE's tariff consideration, regulators will look at more technical issues like capacity and energy credit calculation and how the VRET will interact with Oregon's Direct Access Program. The second phase will also allow for a reassessment of previously-adopted conditions and will consider limitations of the BYO-PPA program.
The two-phased approach "will allow a more thorough review of policy questions while interim steps are taken to expand customer options," the commission said.
And while the green tariff is new, regulators added that "we do not consider it accurate to describe PGE's proposal as a 'pilot.'"
PGE will be able to procure up to 300 MW of new nameplate resources through PPAs under this program, the commission said. "Under our competitive bidding rules, for example, such a procurement would qualify as a major resource. Instead of a pilot, we recognize this program as the first phase of a VRET offering, which may be followed by a second phase following the continuation of this proceeding."
- Oregon Public Utilities Commission Order
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