Oregon Passes Renewable Portfolio Standard Changes

On April 1, 2014, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed HB 4126, which makes changes to Oregon’s renewable portfolio standard.  A renewable portfolio standard is a law that requires a utility to purchase a specific amount from renewable resources.  HB 4126 is a compromise that will make it easier for electric cooperatives to meet their renewable portfolio standard requirements as they increase their electric load.  The law may also allow Oregon utilities to offer separate “green tariffs” to non-residential customers.  [Read more…]

FERC Requires Utilities to Pay QFs for Capacity

On March 20, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a declaratory order concluding that utilities must pay qualifying facilities (QF) for capacity as well as energy in sales pursuant to a legally enforceable obligation.  A legally enforceable obligation is when a QF has the right to sell power to a utility at specific prices.  FERC found that the Montana Public Service Commission’s (Montana Commission) rule requiring QFs to participate in a competitive bidding process to be paid for capacity failed to adequately compensate QFs.  As it typically does, FERC declined to initiate an enforcement action against the Montana Commission, but the declaratory order allows a number of QFs to sue the commission in court.  [Read more…]

Oregon Commission Reaffirms Many of Its PURPA Policies

On February 24, 2014, the Oregon Public Utility Commission (Oregon Commission) issued an order in the first part of its investigation into its policies related to contracting and pricing under the Oregon and federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA).  The Oregon Commission maintained most of its existing policies; however, it made a number of modifications that could impact the development of small power production facilities.  The order completes the first phase of its comprehensive investigation, and the Commission will consider a number of other critical PURPA-related issues in a second phase in 2015.  [Read more…]

FERC Rejects Proposal to Eliminate Small QF PURPA Purchase Obligation

On October 17, 2013, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied PPL Electric Utilities Corporation’s (PPL Electric) request to terminate its mandatory purchase obligation for a qualifying facility (QF) under 20 megawatts (MW).  [Read more…]

OPUC Declines to Investigate PGE’s Competitive Bidding Process

On September 20, 2013, the Oregon Public Utility Commission (Oregon Commission) declined to open a declaratory ruling proceeding or other investigation into Portland General Electric Company’s (PGE) competitive bidding processes.  PGE conducted a controversial request for proposals (RFP) process in which PGE selected its own resources as the winning bids over the bids by independent third party power producers.  PGE selected three of its own plants: 1) the Tucannon wind project with a 267 maximum megawatt (MW) capacity located in Columbia County, Washington; 2) the 440 MW capacity Carty natural gas generation facility near the company’s existing Boardman plant; and 3) the 220 MW capacity Port Westward II natural gas plant that will be adjacent to PGE’s existing Port Westward I natural gas plant.

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