OPUC Adopted New Rules Related to Small-Scale Renewable Energy Mandate

On December 15, 2021, the Oregon Public Utility Commission (the Commission) adopted new rules outlining electric utilities’ compliance with the small-scale renewable energy mandate in Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 469A.210. Oregon House Bill 2021 increased the percentage of the utility’s aggregate electrical capacity that must come from eligible small-scale renewable projects from eight percent to ten percent. House Bill 2021 also expanded the compliance deadline from 2025 to 2030. 

The small-scale renewable mandate was originally adopted as a community renewable “goal” with the passage of Oregon’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in 2007, and was strengthened to became a mandate with the expansion of the RPS in 2016. The Commission initiated rulemaking for the mandate in 2018 with Docket No. AR 622. The Commission never issued a decision and the docket remained idle. Several parties including Community Renewable Energy Association (CREA), Renewable Energy Coalition (REC), Oregon Solar + Storage Industries Association (OSSIA), Renewable Northwest (RNW), Bonneville Environmental Foundation, Spark Northwest, Coalition for Community Solar Access, Northwest Energy Coalition (NWEC), Association of Oregon Counties, Feres Lumber Company, Biogreen Sustainable Energy Co. LLC, Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board, Portland General Electric Company (PGE), and PacifiCorp submitted comments in the docket since it was first initiated in 2018. The latest set of proposed rules were issued in September 2021, and the Commission issued Order No. 21-464 on December 15, 2021.

The Commission adopted rules to define “aggregate electrical capacity” to determine compliance by outlining how to calculate the numerator (the capacity of eligible small-scale projects) and the denominator (the electric utility’s aggregate electrical capacity). CREA, REC, and OSSIA requested an eligible small-scale renewable project must be located in Oregon to align with the intent of the RPS and House Bill 2021. However, the Commission declined to adopt a location requirement. The Commission also declined to adopt a requirement that the electric utility must hold or retire renewable energy certificates for compliance. The Commission agreed with CREA, REC, and OSSIA finding that net-metered projects would not count towards a utility’s compliance with the small-scale renewable mandate, and noting that the utilities’ compliance was a continuous requirement after 2030 not a one-time compliance requirement as PacifiCorp and PGE argued.

Sanger Law, PC represented REC and OSSIA in this proceeding.

REC advocates for reasonable PURPA and interconnection policies on behalf of renewable QFs located in in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

OSSIA advocates for clean, renewable, solar technologies. OSSIA members include businesses, non-profit groups, and other solar industry stakeholders.


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