ASSEMBLY, No. 3731

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JANUARY 11, 2011

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  ANNETTE QUIJANO

District 20 (Union)

Assemblyman  REED GUSCIORA

District 15 (Mercer)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires that contracts by non-utility load serving entities to purchase solar renewable energy certificates shall extend for a term of 15 years or longer.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning certain contracts for the purchase of solar renewable energy certificates and amending P.L.1999, c.23.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 38 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-87) is amended to read as follows:

     38.  a. The board shall require an electric power supplier or basic generation service provider to disclose on a customer's bill or on customer contracts or marketing materials, a uniform, common set of information about the environmental characteristics of the energy purchased by the customer, including, but not limited to:

     (1)   Its fuel mix, including categories for oil, gas, nuclear, coal, solar, hydroelectric, wind and biomass, or a regional average determined by the board;

     (2)   Its emissions, in pounds per megawatt hour, of sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, and any other pollutant that the board may determine to pose an environmental or health hazard, or an emissions default to be determined by the board; and

     (3)   Any discrete emission reduction retired pursuant to rules and regulations adopted pursuant to P.L.1995, c.188.

     b.    Notwithstanding any provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) to the contrary, the board shall initiate a proceeding and shall adopt, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, after notice and opportunity for public comment and public hearing, interim standards to implement this disclosure requirement, including, but not limited to:

     (1)   A methodology for disclosure of emissions based on output pounds per megawatt hour;

     (2)   Benchmarks for all suppliers and basic generation service providers to use in disclosing emissions that will enable consumers to perform a meaningful comparison with a supplier's or basic generation service provider's emission levels; and

     (3)   A uniform emissions disclosure format that is graphic in nature and easily understandable by consumers.  The board shall periodically review the disclosure requirements to determine if revisions to the environmental disclosure system as implemented are necessary.

     Such standards shall be effective as regulations immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law and shall be effective for a period not to exceed 18 months, and may, thereafter, be amended, adopted or readopted by the board in accordance with the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act."

     c.     (1) The board may adopt, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, after notice and opportunity for public comment, an emissions portfolio standard applicable to all electric power suppliers and basic generation service providers, upon a finding that:

     (a)   The standard is necessary as part of a plan to enable the State to meet federal Clean Air Act or State ambient air quality standards; and

     (b)   Actions at the regional or federal level cannot reasonably be expected to achieve the compliance with the federal standards.

     (2)   By July 1, 2009, the board shall adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), a greenhouse gas emissions portfolio standard to mitigate leakage or another regulatory mechanism to mitigate leakage applicable to all electric power suppliers and basic generation service providers that provide electricity to customers within the State.  The greenhouse gas emissions portfolio standard or any other regulatory mechanism to mitigate leakage shall:

     (a)   Allow a transition period, either before or after the effective date of the regulation to mitigate leakage, for a basic generation service provider or electric power supplier to either meet the emissions portfolio standard or other regulatory mechanism to mitigate leakage, or to transfer any customer to a basic generation service provider or electric power supplier that meets the emissions portfolio standard or other regulatory mechanism to mitigate leakage.  If the transition period allowed pursuant to this subparagraph occurs after the implementation of an emissions portfolio standard or other regulatory mechanism to mitigate leakage, the transition period shall be no longer than three years; and

     (b)   Exempt the provision of basic generation service pursuant to a basic generation service purchase and sale agreement effective prior to the date of the regulation.

     Unless the Attorney General or the Attorney General's designee determines that a greenhouse gas emissions portfolio standard would unconstitutionally burden interstate commerce or would be preempted by federal law, the adoption by the board of an electric energy efficiency portfolio standard pursuant to subsection g. of this section, a gas energy efficiency portfolio standard pursuant to subsection h. of this section, or any other enhanced energy efficiency policies to mitigate leakage shall not be considered sufficient to fulfill the requirement of this subsection for the adoption of a greenhouse gas emissions portfolio standard or any other regulatory mechanism to mitigate leakage.

     d.    Notwithstanding any provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) to the contrary, the board shall initiate a proceeding and shall adopt, after notice, provision of the opportunity for comment, and public hearing, renewable energy portfolio standards that shall require:

     (1)   that two and one-half percent of the kilowatt hours sold in this State by each electric power supplier and each basic generation service provider be from Class I or Class II renewable energy sources;

     (2)   beginning on January 1, 2001, that one-half of one percent of the kilowatt hours sold in this State by each electric power supplier and each basic generation service provider be from Class I renewable energy sources.  The board shall increase the required percentage for Class I renewable energy sources so that by January 1, 2006, one percent of the kilowatt hours sold in this State by each electric power supplier and each basic generation service provider shall be from Class I renewable energy sources and shall additionally increase the required percentage for Class I renewable energy sources by one-half of one percent each year until January 1, 2012, when four percent of the kilowatt hours sold in this State by each electric power supplier and each basic generation service provider shall be from Class I renewable energy sources.

     An electric power supplier or basic generation service provider may satisfy the requirements of this subsection by participating in a renewable energy trading program approved by the board in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection;

     (3)   that the board establish a multi-year schedule, applicable to each electric power supplier or basic generation service provider in this State, beginning with the one-year period commencing on June 1, 2010, and continuing for each subsequent one-year period up to and including, the one-year period commencing on June 1, 2025, that requires suppliers or providers to purchase at least the following number of kilowatt-hours from solar electric power generators in this State:

EY 2011             306 Gigawatthours (Gwhrs)

EY 2012             442 Gwhrs

EY 2013             596 Gwhrs

EY 2014             772 Gwhrs

EY 2015             965 Gwhrs

EY 2016          1,150 Gwhrs

EY 2017          1,357 Gwhrs

EY 2018          1,591 Gwhrs

EY 2019          1,858 Gwhrs

EY 2020          2,164 Gwhrs

EY 2021          2,518 Gwhrs

EY 2022          2,928 Gwhrs

EY 2023          3,433 Gwhrs

EY 2024          3,989 Gwhrs

EY 2025          4,610 Gwhrs

EY 2026          5,316 Gwhrs

EY 2027, and for every energy year thereafter, at least 5,316 Gwhrs per energy year to reflect an increasing number of kilowatt-hours to be purchased by suppliers or providers from solar electric power generators in this State, and to establish a framework within which suppliers and providers shall purchase at least 2,518 Gwhrs in the energy year 2021 and 5,316 Gwhrs in the energy year 2026 from solar electric power generators in this State, provided, however, that the number of solar kilowatt-hours required to be purchased by each supplier or provider, when expressed as a percentage of the total number of solar kilowatt-hours purchased in this State, shall be equivalent to each supplier's or provider's proportionate share of the total number of kilowatt-hours sold in this State by all suppliers and providers.

     The solar renewable portfolio standards requirements in paragraph (3) of this subsection shall automatically increase by 20% for the remainder of the schedule in the event that the following two conditions are met:  (a) the number of SRECs generated meets or exceeds the requirement for three consecutive reporting years, starting with energy year 2013; and (b) the average SREC price for all SRECs purchased by entities with renewable energy portfolio standards obligations has decreased in the same three consecutive reporting years.  The board shall exempt providers' existing supply contracts that are: (a) effective prior to the date of P.L.2009, c.289; or (b) effective prior to any future increase in the solar renewable portfolio standard beyond the multi-year schedule established in paragraph (3) of this subsection.  This exemption shall apply to the number of SRECs that exceeds the number mandated by the solar renewable portfolio standards requirements that were in effect on the date that the providers executed their existing supply contracts. This limited exemption for providers' existing supply contracts shall not be construed to lower the Statewide solar purchase requirements set forth in paragraph (3) of this subsection.  Such incremental new requirements shall be distributed over the electric power suppliers and providers not subject to the existing supply contract exemption until such time as existing supply contracts expire and all suppliers are subject to the new requirement.

     An electric power supplier or basic generation service provider may satisfy the requirements of this subsection by participating in a renewable energy trading program approved by the board in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, or compliance with the requirements of this subsection may be demonstrated to the board by suppliers or providers through the purchase of SRECs.

     The renewable energy portfolio standards adopted by the board pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection shall be effective as regulations immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law and shall be effective for a period not to exceed 18 months, and may, thereafter, be amended, adopted or readopted by the board in accordance with the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act."

     The renewable energy portfolio standards adopted by the board pursuant to paragraph (3) of this subsection shall be effective as regulations immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law and shall be effective for a period not to exceed 30 months after such filing, and shall, thereafter, be amended, adopted or readopted by the board in accordance with the "Administrative Procedure Act"; and

     (4)   within 180 days after the date of enactment of P.L.2010, c.57 (C.48:3-87.1 et al.), that the board establish an offshore wind renewable energy certificate program to require that a percentage of the kilowatt hours sold in this State by each electric power supplier and each basic generation service provider be from offshore wind energy in order to support at least 1,100 megawatts of generation from qualified offshore wind projects.

     The percentage established by the board pursuant to this paragraph shall serve as an offset to the renewable energy portfolio standard established pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection and shall reduce the corresponding Class I renewable energy requirement.

     The percentage established by the board pursuant to this paragraph shall reflect the projected OREC production of each qualified offshore wind project, approved by the board pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2010, c.57 (C.48:3-87.1), for twenty years from the commercial operation start date of the qualified offshore wind project which production projection and OREC purchase requirement, once approved by the board, shall not be subject to reduction.

     An electric power supplier or basic generation service provider shall comply with the OREC program established pursuant to this paragraph through the purchase of offshore wind renewable energy certificates at a price and for the time period required by the board. In the event there are insufficient offshore wind renewable energy certificates available, the electric power supplier or basic generation service provider shall pay an offshore wind alternative compliance payment established by the board.  Any offshore wind alternative compliance payments collected shall be refunded directly to the ratepayers by the electric public utilities.

     The rules established by the board pursuant to this paragraph shall be effective as regulations immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law and shall be effective for a period not to exceed 18 months, and may, thereafter, be amended, adopted or readopted by the board in accordance with the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).

     e.     Notwithstanding any provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) to the contrary, the board shall initiate a proceeding and shall adopt, after notice, provision of the opportunity for comment, and public hearing:

     (1)   net metering standards for electric power suppliers and basic generation service providers.  The standards shall require electric power suppliers and basic generation service providers to offer net metering at non-discriminatory rates to industrial, large commercial, residential and small commercial customers, as those customers are classified or defined by the board, that generate electricity, on the customer's side of the meter, using a Class I renewable energy source, for the net amount of electricity supplied by the electric power supplier or basic generation service provider over an annualized period.  Systems of any sized capacity, as measured in watts, are eligible for net metering.  If the amount of electricity generated by the customer-generator, plus any kilowatt hour credits held over from the previous billing periods, exceeds the electricity supplied by the electric power supplier or basic generation service provider, then the electric power supplier or basic generation service provider, as the case may be, shall credit the customer-generator for the excess kilowatt hours until the end of the annualized period at which point the customer-generator will be compensated for any remaining credits or, if the customer-generator chooses, credit the customer-generator on a real-time basis, at the electric power supplier's or basic generation service provider's avoided cost of wholesale power or the PJM electric power pool's real-time locational marginal pricing rate, adjusted for losses, for the respective zone in the PJM electric power pool.  Alternatively, the customer-generator may execute a bilateral agreement with an electric power supplier or basic generation service provider for the sale and purchase of the customer-generator's excess generation. The customer-generator may be credited on a real-time basis, so long as the customer-generator follows applicable rules prescribed by the PJM electric power pool for its capacity requirements for the net amount of electricity supplied by the electric power supplier or basic generation service provider.  The board may authorize an electric power supplier or basic generation service provider to cease offering net metering whenever the total rated generating capacity owned and operated by net metering customer-generators Statewide equals 2.5 percent of the State's peak electricity demand;

     (2)   safety and power quality interconnection standards for Class I renewable energy source systems used by a customer-generator that shall be eligible for net metering.

     Such standards or rules shall take into consideration the goals of the New Jersey Energy Master Plan, applicable industry standards, and the standards of other states and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.  The board shall allow electric public utilities to recover the costs of any new net meters, upgraded net meters, system reinforcements or upgrades, and interconnection costs through either their regulated rates or from the net metering customer-generator; and

     (3)   credit or other incentive rules for generators using Class I renewable energy generation systems that connect to New Jersey's electric public utilities' distribution system but who do not net meter.

     Such rules shall require the board or its designee to issue a credit or other incentive to those generators that do not use a net meter but otherwise generate electricity derived from a Class I renewable energy source and to issue an enhanced credit or other incentive, including, but not limited to, a solar renewable energy credit, to those generators that generate electricity derived from solar technologies.

     Such standards or rules shall be effective as regulations immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law and shall be effective for a period not to exceed 18 months, and may, thereafter, be amended, adopted or readopted by the board in accordance with the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act."

     f.     The board may assess, by written order and after notice and opportunity for comment, a separate fee to cover the cost of implementing and overseeing an emission disclosure system or emission portfolio standard, which fee shall be assessed based on an electric power supplier's or basic generation service provider's share of the retail electricity supply market.  The board shall not impose a fee for the cost of implementing and overseeing a greenhouse gas emissions portfolio standard adopted pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection c. of this section, the electric energy efficiency portfolio standard adopted pursuant to subsection g. of this section, or the gas energy efficiency portfolio standard adopted pursuant to subsection h. of this section.

     g.     The board may adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), an electric energy efficiency portfolio standard that may require each electric public utility to implement energy efficiency measures that reduce electricity usage in the State by 2020 to a level that is 20 percent below the usage projected by the board in the absence of such a standard.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent an electric public utility from meeting the requirements of this section by contracting with another entity for the performance of the requirements.

     h.     The board may adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), a gas energy efficiency portfolio standard that may require each gas public utility to implement energy efficiency measures that reduce natural gas usage for heating in the State by 2020 to a level that is 20 percent below the usage projected by the board in the absence of such a standard.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a gas public utility from meeting the requirements of this section by contracting with another entity for the performance of the requirements.

     i.      After the board establishes a schedule of solar kilowatt-hour sale or purchase requirements pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection d. of this section, the board may initiate subsequent proceedings and adopt, after appropriate notice and opportunity for public comment and public hearing, increased minimum solar kilowatt-hour sale or purchase requirements, provided that the board shall not reduce previously established minimum solar kilowatt-hour sale or purchase requirements, or otherwise impose constraints that reduce the requirements by any means.

     j.     The board shall determine an appropriate level of solar alternative compliance payment, and establish a 15-year solar alternative compliance payment schedule, that permits each supplier or provider to submit an SACP to comply with the solar electric generation requirements of paragraph (3) of subsection d. of this section.  The board may initiate subsequent proceedings and adopt, after appropriate notice and opportunity for public comment and public hearing, an increase in solar alternative compliance payments, provided that the board shall not reduce previously established levels of solar alternative compliance payments, nor shall the board provide relief from the obligation of payment of the SACP by the electric power suppliers or basic generation service providers in any form.  Any SACP payments collected shall be refunded directly to the ratepayers by the electric public utilities.

     k.    The board may allow electric public utilities to offer long-term contracts and other means of financing, including but not limited to loans, for the purchase of SRECs and the resale of SRECs to suppliers or providers or others, provided that after such contracts have been approved by the board, the board's approvals shall not be modified by subsequent board orders.

     l.      The board shall implement its responsibilities under the provisions of this section in such a manner as to:

     (1)   place greater reliance on competitive markets, with the explicit goal of encouraging and ensuring the emergence of new entrants that can foster innovations and price competition;

     (2)   maintain adequate regulatory authority over non-competitive public utility services;

     (3)   consider alternative forms of regulation in order to address changes in the technology and structure of electric public utilities;

     (4)   promote energy efficiency and Class I renewable energy market development, taking into consideration environmental benefits and market barriers;

     (5)   make energy services more affordable for low and moderate income customers;

     (6)   attempt to transform the renewable energy market into one that can move forward without subsidies from the State or public utilities;

     (7)   achieve the goals put forth under the renewable energy portfolio standards;

     (8)   promote the lowest cost to ratepayers; and

     (9)   allow all market segments to participate.

     m.    The board shall ensure the availability of financial incentives under its jurisdiction, including, but not limited to, long-term contracts, loans, SRECs, or other financial support, to ensure market diversity, competition, and appropriate coverage across all ratepayer segments, including, but not limited to, residential, commercial, industrial, non-profit, farms, schools, and public entity customers.

     n.     For projects which are owned, or directly invested in, by a public utility pursuant to section 13 of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.48:3-98.1), the board shall determine the number of SRECs with which such projects shall be credited; and in determining such number the board shall ensure that the market for SRECs does not detrimentally affect the development of non-utility solar projects and shall consider how its determination may impact the ratepayers.

     o.    The board, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, electric public utilities, the Division of Rate Counsel in, but not of, the Department of the Treasury, affected members of the solar energy industry, and relevant stakeholders, shall periodically consider increasing the renewable energy portfolio standards beyond the minimum amounts set forth in subsection d. of this section, taking into account the cost impacts and public benefits of such increases including, but not limited to:

     (1)   reductions in air pollution, water pollution, land disturbance, and greenhouse gas emissions;

     (2)   reductions in peak demand for electricity and natural gas, and the overall impact on the costs to customers of electricity and natural gas;

     (3)   increases in renewable energy development, manufacturing, investment, and job creation opportunities in this State; and

     (4)   reductions in State and national dependence on the use of fossil fuels.

     p.    Class I RECs shall be eligible for use in renewable energy portfolio standards compliance in the energy year in which they are generated, and for the following two energy years.  SRECs and ORECs shall be eligible for use in renewable energy portfolio standards compliance in the energy year in which they are generated, and for the following two energy years.

     q.    Notwithstanding any provisions of the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) to the contrary, the board shall adopt, after notice, provision of the opportunity for comment, and public hearing, regulations that require contracts entered into by non-utility load serving entities for the purchase of SRECs after the effective date of P.L.    , c.   (C.     ) (pending before the Legislature this bill) to be long-term contracts that extend for a term of 15 years or longer.

     As used in this subsection, a "non-utility load serving entity" means any entity, other than an electric public utility, or the duly designated agent of such an entity, that serves the electric power needs of end-users within the PJM region, and that has been granted the authority or has an obligation pursuant to State or local law, regulation, or franchise to sell electric power to end-users within the PJM electric power pool region.

(cf: P.L.2010, c.57, s.2)

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately and shall be applicable to contracts entered into after the effective date of P.L.    , c.   (C.     ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill directs the Board of Public Utilities (“the board”) to adopt regulations that require contracts by non-utility load serving entities for the purchase of solar renewable energy certificates ("SRECs") to be long-term contracts extending for a term of 15 years or longer.

     The bill defines non-utility load serving entities to mean any entity, other than a public utility, or the designated agent of such entity, that serves the electric power needs of end-users within the PJM region, and that has been granted the authority or has an obligation pursuant to State or local law, regulation, or franchise to sell electric power to end-users within the PJM region.

     The bill would apply only to contracts entered into by non-utility load serving entities for the purchase of SRECs after the effective date of the bill.