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.
On May 8th, the Connecticut Senate approved SB 9, seeking to restructure the state’s renewable energy program. The bill includes a boost to the RPS market, an extension of the ZREC program and changes to the net-metering policy in the state. Karbone will further detail the impact of this bill on the broader NEPOOL Class I REC market in an upcoming research report.
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.