The following report provides a monthly summary of proposed and recently enacted legislative and regulatory policy affecting the renewable energy markets in the United States. It also serves as the first iteration of a Karbone renewable energy policy commentary series. The series will be updated regularly on a monthly basis.
Last week, the Senate introduced a revised version of HB114, maintaining the RPS mandate but reducing the non-solar requirement to 8.5% and solar requirement to 0.34% by 2022, and keeping it as such before ending the program entirely in 2027. HB114 also loosens the siting requirements for wind projects, seeking to invite investors back to developing in OH.
Low year-on-year SREC-I generation figures in 2017 prompted an uptick in front-of-the-curve pricing through April. As the table below shows, the per MWh productivity of all systems installed was depressed in each quarter in 2017 compared to 2016.
The completion of the initial RFP on January 11, 2018 has set discrete base compensation rates for each service area in Massachusetts. But the program still needs to clear many hurdles before it is fully implemented. In the following update, Karbone details the problems raised in the ongoing regulatory proceeding.
On August 11, 2017, Massachusetts regulators filed the proposed final version of CMR 7.75, the Clean Energy Standard (CES), a plan to cut state GHG emissions by 80% of their 1990 levels by 2050. To achieve this aggressive target, the state is going to rely on the procurement of long-term contracts to import hydropower from Canada, as well as the development of more renewable resources, such as wind and solar. Ultimately, however, whether this new mandate can achieve its compliance targets is going to require not only committed project development capital, but also large investments in new transmission lines.
On August 11, 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) filed a much anticipated final version of the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program regulation. This revised SMART framework proposition includes several components that market participants heavily discussed during three public hearings as critical to the success of this program and its objectives.
On January 31, 2017, Massachusetts policy makers unveiled a much anticipated, revised solar program that radically transitions solar incentives away from the SREC market and towards a structure akin to a feed-in-tariff regime. Nevertheless under the new program, facilities will still generate Class I RECs that could be used to meet MA Class I compliance obligations.
After the recent failure of the Massachusetts legislature to pass a compromise bill to raise the net metering cap before winter recess, many projects are at risk of heading off a cliff. Coupled with the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) step-down from 30% to 10% for commercial projects, the delay in raising the net metering cap may jeopardize the installations of over 115 MW in 2016. In this Report, the Karbone Research Desk addresses the impact of these recent developments on the SREC-II market and discusses forward build rates scenarios, historical pricing trends, and the impact of legislative uncertainty on market fundamentals.
The third Massachusetts SREC I Auction cleared in the first round for the first time amid overwhelming demand. Preliminary results of the Auction indicated mixed implications for forward supply and demand scenarios. Can the SRECs sold in the Auction help satisfy the projected shortage in 2015 Compliance Obligation? Will enough of the reserve of re-minted SRECs be held out for future usage to relieve the perceived tightness in 2016 supply? The Karbone Research Desk addresses forward supply & demand dynamics, pricing, and market balance concerns in this report.
Massachusetts solar saw a number of important developments in Q3: SREC I finalized its Program Cap, held the first successful Solar Credit Clearinghouse Auction, and experienced dramatic price appreciation for forward vintage SRECs. SREC II nearly avoided major legislative changes, received an incremental increase in net metering caps, and had DOER growth projections suggest a re-orientation of the market away from Managed Growth-type projects.