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H.104

Introduced by   Representative Masland of Thetford

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Public service; portfolio standards; renewable energy

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to establish portfolio standards with regard to the amount of renewable energy to be sold by Vermont electricity providers.  These standards would require a retail electricity provider to maintain a certain amount of existing renewable resources in its portfolio and to provide a certain amount of new renewable resources.  In particular, by January 1, 2013, a retail provider shall supply an amount equal to its total incremental energy growth between January 1, 2004 and January 1, 2013.  The bill proposes to require the public service board to establish a system of tradeable credits, and it would allow the board to expand the definition of renewable energy.  It provides that if a renewable resource is to be subject to combustion, that combustion must result in significantly lower emissions than the production of a similar amount of energy from the combustion of fossil fuels.  The bill also would make it clear that energy efficiency and conservation programs include appropriate combined heat and power systems.

AN ACT RELATING TO ESTABLISHING RENEWABLE ENERGY PORTFOLIO STANDARDS TO APPLY TO PROVIDERS OF ELECTRIC ENERGY

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  30 V.S.A. § 8002 is amended to read:

§ 8002.  DEFINITIONS

For purposes of this chapter:

(1)(A)  “Renewable pricing” shall mean an optional service provided or contracted for by an electric company:

(i)  under which the company’s customers may voluntarily either:

(I)  purchase all or part of their electric energy from renewable sources as defined in this chapter; or

(II)  cause the purchase and retirement of tradeable renewable energy credits on the participating customer’s behalf; and

(ii)  which increases the company’s reliance on renewable sources of energy beyond those the electric company would otherwise be required to provide under section 218c of this title.

(B)  Renewable pricing programs may include, but are not limited to:

(i)  contribution-based programs in which participating customers can determine the amount of a contribution, monthly or otherwise, that will be deposited in a board-approved fund for new renewable energy project development;

(ii)  energy-based programs in which customers may choose all or a discrete portion of their electric energy use to be supplied from renewable resources;

(iii)  facility-based programs in which customers may subscribe to a share of the capacity or energy from specific new renewable energy resources.

(2)  “Renewable energy” means energy produced using a technology that relies on a resource that is being consumed at a harvest rate at or below its natural regeneration rate and if the production of energy involves combustion of the resource, the combustion results in significantly lower emissions than the production of a similar amount of energy from the combustion of fossil fuels.

(A)  For purposes of this subdivision (2), methane gas and other flammable gases produced by the decay of sewage treatment plant wastes or landfill wastes and anaerobic digestion of agricultural products, byproducts, or wastes shall be considered renewable energy resources, but no form of solid waste, other than agricultural or silvicultural waste, shall be considered renewable.

(B)  For purposes of this subdivision (2), no form of nuclear fuel shall be considered renewable.

(C)  For purposes of this chapter, the only energy produced by a hydroelectric facility to be considered renewable shall be from a hydroelectric facility with a generating capacity of 80 megawatts or less.

(D)  After conducting administrative proceedings, the board may add technologies or technology categories to the definition of “renewable energy,” provided that technologies using the following fuels shall not be considered renewable energy supplies:  coal, oil, and natural gas.

(3)  “Existing renewable energy” means all types of renewable energy sold from the supply portfolio of a Vermont electricity provider as provided for in subdivision 8004(b)(1) of this title.  For purposes of meeting the existing renewable energy requirements of this chapter, energy provided by the public service board rule 4.100 purchasing agent as the result of contracts entered into on or before January 1, 1995, shall be deemed “existing renewable energy.”

(4)  “New renewable energy” means renewable energy produced by a generating resource built after December 31, 2003.  This may include the additional energy from an existing renewable facility retrofitted with advanced technologies.  For the purposes of this chapter, renewable energy refers to either “existing renewable energy” or “new renewable energy.”

(5)  “Tradeable renewable energy credits” means all of the environmental attributes associated with a single unit of energy generated by a renewable energy source where:

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Sec. 2.  30 V.S.A. § 8004 is amended to read:

§ 8004.  RENEWABLE PORTFOLIO STANDARDS FOR SALES OF                                            ELECTRIC ENERGY

(a)  The public service board shall design a proposed renewable portfolio standard in the form of draft legislation.  The standard shall be developed with the aid of a renewable portfolio standard collaborative.  The renewable portfolio standard collaborative, composed of representatives from the electric utilities, industry, renewable energy industry, ratepayers, environmental and consumer groups, the department of public service, and other stakeholders identified by the board, shall aid in the development of a renewable portfolio standard for renewable energy resources, as well as requirements for implementation of and compliance with that standard.  The proposed renewable portfolio standard shall be applicable to all providers of electricity to retail consumers in this state.  The proposed renewable portfolio standard developed by the board will be presented to the house committee on commerce, the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy, and the senate committee on finance in the form of draft legislation for consideration in January 2004.

(b)  In developing the renewable portfolio standard, the board shall consider the following goals, which shall be afforded equal weight in formulating the standard:

(1)  increase the use of renewable energy in Vermont in order to capture the benefits of renewable energy generation for Vermont ratepayers and citizens.

(2)  maintain or reduce the rates of electricity being paid by Vermont ratepayers and lessen the price risk and volatility for future ratepayers.

(a)  In order for Vermont utilities to achieve the goals established in section 8001 of this title, no company shall sell or otherwise provide or offer to sell or provide electricity in the state of Vermont without ownership of sufficient energy produced by renewable resources as described in this chapter, or sufficient tradeable renewable energy credits that reflect the required renewable energy as provided for in subsection (b) of this section.

(b)  The standard shall include a two-part portfolio requirement that shall be applicable to all providers of electricity to retail consumers in this state, unless the electricity provider demonstrates in its integrated resource plan review under section 218c of this title, and the public service board determines that the electricity provider’s acquisition of efficiency or nonrenewable resources is a strategy that results in a more reliable and cost‑effective portfolio than would be the case if the electricity provider were required to meet the standard:

(1)  The first part of the standard requires that each retail electricity provider in Vermont maintain a certain amount of existing renewable resources in its portfolio.  Each electricity provider shall provide its retail customers in each calendar year the same annual amount of renewable energy as sold by that provider on average during calendar years 1995 through 1997.  No electricity provider during any calendar year shall be required to sell an amount of electricity generated from existing renewable resources exceeding 25 percent of the annual average as defined in this subsection.

(2)  The second part of the standard requires that each retail electricity provider in Vermont provide a certain amount of new renewable resources in its portfolio.  By January 1, 2013, each retail electricity provider in Vermont shall supply an amount equal to its total incremental energy growth between January 1, 2004 and January 1, 2013 through the use of electricity generated by new renewable resources.  No electricity provider shall be required to provide in excess of a total of 10 percent of its calendar year 2003 retail electric sales with electricity generated by new renewable resources.  The standard in this subsection shall not apply to an electricity provider that annually supplies over 50 percent of its sales as determined in subdivision (1) of this subsection with existing renewable resources.

(c)  The public service board shall provide, by order or rule, the regulations and procedures that are necessary to allow the public service board and the department of public service to implement and supervise further the implementation and maintenance of a renewables portfolio standard.

Sec. 3.  30 V.S.A. § 8005 is added to read:

§ 8005.  TRADEABLE CREDITS

(a)  The public service board shall establish or adopt a system of tradeable renewable energy credits for renewable resources that may be earned by electric generation qualifying for the two parts of the renewables portfolio standard.

(b)  The public service board shall ensure that all electricity provider and provider‑affiliate disclosures and representations made with regard to a provider’s portfolio are accurate and reasonably supported by objective data.  Further, the public service board shall ensure that providers disclose the types of generation used and whether the energy is Vermont‑based, and shall clearly distinguish between energy or tradeable energy credits provided from renewable and nonrenewable sources and existing and new sources.

Sec. 4.  30 V.S.A. § 209(d) is amended to read:

(d)(1)  The public service department, any entity appointed by the board under subdivision (2) of this subsection, all gas and electric utility companies, and the board upon its own motion, are encouraged to propose, develop, solicit, and monitor energy efficiency and conservation programs and measures, including appropriate combined heat and power systems that result in the conservation and efficient use of energy and meet the applicable agency of natural resources’ air quality standards.  Such programs and measures, and their implementation, may be approved by the board if it determines they will be beneficial to the ratepayers of the companies after such notice and hearings as the board may require by order or by rule.

(2)  In place of utility-specific programs developed pursuant to section 218c of this title, the board may, after notice and opportunity for hearing, provide for the development, implementation, and monitoring of gas and electric energy efficiency and conservation programs and measures, including appropriate combined heat and power systems that result in the conservation and efficient use of energy and meet the applicable agency of natural resources’ air quality standards, and including programs and measures delivered in multiple service territories, by one or more entities appointed by the board for these purposes.  The board may specify that the implementation of these programs and measures satisfies a utility’s corresponding obligations, in whole or in part, under section 218c of this title and under any prior orders of the board.

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Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us