The Illinois Power Agency is seeking comments from stakeholders on the newly released draft of its Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan. Comments are due Nov. 13.
The plan implements measures in the Future Energy Jobs Act that was passed by the state legislature in December.
The IPA is seeking comments on how the agency will run programs and procurements to obtain renewable energy credits (RECs) in order for Illinois utilities to meet their RPS obligations, as well as how to run the low-income focused Illinois Solar for All program.
Much of the focus on Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) has been on the provisions that instituted subsidies for two of Exelon’s ailing nuclear power plants. However, FEJA also included measures to fix deficiencies in the state’s renewable portfolio standard.
FEJA did not change the RPS itself. It still requires investor-owned utilities and alternative retail electric suppliers (ARES) to source 25% of retail electricity sales from renewable energy by 2025, although the law did change the RPS compliance obligations placed on ARES. They now phase out after the 2018-2019 delivery year.
In terms of the RPS itself, the legislation provides a fix for funding mechanisms that had brought the RPS program to a standstill. In short, the state’s municipal aggregation program, which allowed electric customers to switch service, undercut the financial basis for renewable energy credits. Funds for RPS compliance ended up in three buckets, but FEJA consolidates those funding buckets into a single fund that comes from a charge on electric customers’ bills.
Three public hearings will seek comments on the content of the IPA’s draft plan, which also includes new pricing for the Adjustable Block Program that applies to community solar and distributed generation solar facilities up to 2,000 kW. Pricing for that program will be administratively determined, instead of being set by competitive bidding.
The comments will be used to revise the plan, which would then be filed for approval by the Illinois Commerce Commission. The IPA expects to file the plan in early December for a 120-day approval docket.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Illinois Power Agency is seeking comments on revisions to net metering policies, rebates for smart inverters for photovoltaic projects, and new compliance obligations for Alternative Retail Electric Suppliers (ARES). Those programs are outside the scope of the plan and the comments. The article also failed to note that under the new law, ARES’ RPS obligations will be phased out after the 2018-2019 delivery year.