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.
There has been continued year-on-year supply growth in the NEPOOL Class I REC market across all states and almost all technologies. The following report explores the resulting supply and demand fundamentals and analyzes the pricing trends and legislative impact on this particular market.
Over the past year, the Massachusetts SREC-II program has been facing significant programmatic risks as both the net metering and the solar carve-out caps were quickly reached. In April, Massachusetts lawmakers finally passed net metering reform that increased the private and the public caps by 3%, allowing the build of a large number of commercial solar projects that had accumulated on the waiting list for months. In the same month, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) filed an emergency regulation after receiving a quantity of SREC-II applications in-excess of the available remaining capacity under the SREC-II program cap. The emergency regulations contained several key provisions that aimed to address market uncertainty and establishing a smooth transition to the next incentive program beyond SREC-II.
While NEPOOL Class I REC pricing saw a retreat in 2015 compared to 2014, prices for the spot vintages in all markets (except Maine) remained robust near their newly established low-$50sresistance level. NEPOOL Class I REC pricing tracked within 95% of their respective ACPs in 2013 and most of 2014, bringing into focus assumptions of persistent undersupply. Nevertheless, as REC generation increased in 2015, the NEPOOL Class I REC market became adequately supplied and REC prices pulled back.
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.
NEPOOL Class I data showed continued generation growth across all states for almost all technologies. Generation in the most liquid markets of Massachusetts and Connecticut grew 12% and 19% in Q2 2015 over Q2 2014, respectively. New Hampshire saw the most quarter-on-quarter growth at 35%, while the less liquid Rhode Island grew 14% in Q2 ’15 against Q2’14.
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.