The 2018 Program will consist of nine tiers, five (5) for new systems and four (4) for existing systems. The nine tiers are as follows:
(systems with final interconnection approval after June 10th, 2016)
|Tier||Nameplate Rating – (DC at STC)||SRECs in Tier|
|N-1||Less than or equal to 50 kW (Customer-Owned)||4,400|
|N-2||Greater than 50 kW but less than or equal to 500 kW||2,300|
|N-3||In-state systems greater than 500 kW but less than or equal to 2 MW||3,300|
|N-4||In-state systems greater than 2 MW and out-of-state systems greater than 500 kW||0-5,000|
|N-5||Less than or equal to 50 kW (Not Customer-Owned)||5,000*|
(systems with final interconnection approval before June 10th, 2016)
|Tier||Nameplate Rating – (DC at STC)||SRECs in Tier|
|E-1||Less than or equal to 50 kW (Customer-Owned)||5,000*|
|E-2||Greater than 50 kW but less than or equal to 2 MW||5,000*|
|E-3||Greater than 2 MW (in-state systems) and all out-of-state systems regardless of nameplate capacity||0-5,000|
|E-4||Less than or equal to 50 kW (Not Customer-Owned)||5,000*|
*indicates a pooled tier
Delmarva Power will procure a minimum of 15,000 SRECs and a maximum of 20,000 SRECs through the auction process. The first 10,000 SRECs will come from the N-1, N-2, and N-3 tiers. 5,000 SRECs will come from a pool of Tier N-5, E-1, E-2, and E-4. Once those 15,000 SRECs have been secured Delmarva may choose to procure an additional 5,000 SRECs with the lowest bids from any tier, at their discretion.
The 2018 program has the following substantive changes from the 2017 program:
- An increase in the maximum breakpoints for size (kW) in the N-1 and E-1 Tiers from 25 kW to 50 kW and for Tier N-2 from 200 kW to 500 kW.
- The addition of the N-5 and E-4 Tiers for systems that are not customer-owned. An owner must own both the solar array and the property where the system is located to qualify as customer-owned.
- The inclusion of a new requirement that all systems in the N-3 Tier must be sited in-state.
- The reduction of the SREC price for the last 10 years of the contract from $35 to $20 or the bid price if the bid price is below $20.
- The imposition of a bidding limitation for Tier N-2. The SEU will not award more than 50% of SRECs in Tier N-2 to a single Owner unless Tier N-2 is undersubscribed due to that limitation.
- An increase in the minimum number of SRECs Delmarva power will buy from 10,000 SRECs to 15,000 SRECs.
- If Tiers N-1, N-2 or N-3 are undersubscribed because of insufficient bids than banked SRECs held by the Delaware SEU can be used to fill these undersubscribed tiers at the lowest winning bid price.
BEFORE THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE
IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF DELMARVA POWER AND LIGHT COMPANY FOR APPROVAL OF THE 2018 PROGRAM FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF SOLAR RENEWABLE ENERGY CREDITS )
PSC DOCKET NO. 18-0224
DELMARVA POWER AND LIGHT COMPANY’S AMENDED APPLICATION FOR
APPROVAL OF THE 2018 PROGRAM FOR THE PROCUREMENT
OF SOLAR RENEWABLE ENERGY CREDITS
Lindsay B. Orr
Assistant General Counsel
Delmarva Power & Light Company
500 North Wakefield Drive
Newark, DE 19702
(302) 429-3801 (fax)
Dated: June 14, 2018
Delmarva Power & Light Company (“Delmarva Power” or “Delmarva”), through its undersigned counsel, hereby submits this application (the “Application”) pursuant to 26 Del. C. § 351 et seq. for approval by the Delaware Public Service Commission (the “Commission”) of the attached 2018 Program for the Procurement of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (the “2018 Program”). The 2018 Program was developed by the Renewable Energy Taskforce, of which Delmarva Power is a member. In support of this Application, Delmarva Power states as follows:
I. Legislative Background
1. In 2007, the Governor approved and signed into law the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Act, 26 Del. C. §§ 351-364, (“REPSA”), the purpose of which was to “establish a market for electricity from [renewable energy resources] in Delaware, and to lower the cost to consumers of electricity from these resources.” 26 Del. C. §351(c). REPSA also recognized that having a market for renewable energy resources in Delaware would benefit the State through “improved regional and local air quality, improved public health, increased electric supply diversity, increased protection against price volatility and supply disruption, improved transmission and distribution performance, and new economic development opportunities.” 26 Del. C. §351(b).
2. In furtherance of these goals, REPSA requires retail electricity suppliers, such as Delmarva Power, to purchase energy from Eligible Energy Resources (as that term is defined in REPSA) to meet a portion of their annual retail load. Beginning with compliance year 2010, REPSA sets forth the minimum percentage of retail energy sales to end-users that must come from Eligible Energy Resources, including a “carve-out” for a certain percentage that must be met by solar photovoltaics. 26 Del. C. §354(a). The percentage of retail energy to be supplied from Eligible Energy Resources increases over time to 25% in 2025, with the solar carve-out increasing to 3.5%. Id. Beginning with compliance year 2012, Commission-regulated electric companies are responsible for procuring RECs, SRECs and any other attribute needed to comply with Section 354(a) of REPSA with respect to “all energy delivered to such companies’ end use customers.” 26 Del. C. §354(e). Delmarva Power is the only Commission-regulated electric supplier responsible for REPSA compliance for its entire distribution load.
3. REPSA was amended in 2010 to require the formation of the Renewable Energy Taskforce (the “Taskforce”) for the purpose of “making recommendations about the establishment of trading mechanisms and other structures to support the growth of renewable energy markets in Delaware.” 26 Del. C. §360(d). The Taskforce was required to include the following members: (i) four appointments by the Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (“DNREC”); (ii) one appointment by the Public Service Commission; (iii) one appointment by Delmarva Power & Light; (iv) one appointment by the Delaware Electric Cooperative; (v) one appointment by municipal electric companies; (vi) one appointment by the Sustainable Energy Utility (“SEU”); (vii) one appointment by the Delaware Public Advocate; and (viii) one appointment by the Delaware Solar Energy Coalition. 26 Del. C. §360(d)(1).
4. The Taskforce was charged with making recommendations about and reporting on, inter alia, the following:
a. Establishing a balanced market mechanism for Renewable Energy Credit (“REC”) and Solar Renewable Energy Credit (“SREC”) trading;
b. Establishing REC and SREC aggregation mechanisms and other devices to encourage the deployment of solar energy technologies in Delaware with the least impact on retail electricity suppliers, municipal electric companies and rural electric cooperatives;
c. Minimizing the cost for complying with REPSA;
d. Establishing revenue certainty for appropriate investment in solar renewable energy technologies, including consideration of long-term contracts and auction mechanisms;
e. Establishing mechanisms to maximize in-state solar renewable energy generation and local manufacturing; and
f. Ensuring that residential, commercial, and utility scale photovoltaic and solar thermal systems of various sizes are financially viable and cost-effective instruments in Delaware.
II. The Pilot Program and Evaluation of the Pilot Program
5. Following its formation and after meeting for almost a year, the Taskforce developed a Pilot Program for the Procurement of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (the “Pilot Program”) to implement the solar carve-out under REPSA through a competitive bidding process. The Pilot Program was designed as a one-year program to be re-evaluated each year to determine whether it was effectively meeting the goals of REPSA. In order to increase the likelihood that a variety of residential and commercial projects would participate in the competitive auction, the Pilot Program established distinct tiers of solar generation units based on the nameplate capacity of the system and whether a bidder offered SRECs from a new or existing system.
6. The application for the Pilot Program was filed with the Commission on September 11, 2011, and approved, with modifications, by Order No. 8075, dated November 8, 2011. On December 20, 2011, the Commission issued its Final Findings, Opinion and Order No. 8093 (the “2011 Commission Order”), setting forth the reasons for its approval of the Pilot Program with modifications.
7. In accordance with the 2011 Commission Order, the Commission retained Meister Consultants Group (“Meister”) to evaluate the Pilot Program. Meister produced a report on August 3, 2012 (the “Meister Report”) whereby Meister concluded that the solicitation under the Pilot Program was well subscribed, with each of the program tiers being oversubscribed by at least 200%. Based upon feedback from subscribers as well as its own analysis, Meister identified potential modifications to the Pilot Program to reduce costs to customers and create a more competitive solicitation. The Taskforce considered the findings in the Meister Report in developing the 2013 SREC Procurement Program (the “2013 Program”).
III. The 2013 SREC Procurement Program and Evaluation of the 2013 Program
8. On November 20, 2012, Delmarva filed an application with the Commission seeking approval of the 2013 Program. The Commission held an evidentiary hearing on January 22, 2013, and approved the 2013 Program with certain modifications (Order No. 8281). On September 10, 2013, the Commission issued its Final Findings, Opinion and Order No. 8450 (the “2013 Commission Order”) setting forth the reasons for its approval of the 2013 Program with modifications.
9. The 2013 Commission Order provided for the Commission to retain a consultant to review the 2013 Program (Order No. 8450, ¶33). The Commission retained New Energy Opportunities, Inc. and LaCapra Associates, Inc. (the “Consultants”) to evaluate the 2013 Program.
10. The Consultants produced a report on August 7, 2013, which was revised on September 20, 2013 (“Consultants’ Report”). The Consultants’ Report found that: (a) Delmarva should continue to make long-term purchases of SRECs from existing projects but should consider removing tiers based on project size for the next solicitation; (b) Delmarva should continue to purchase some amount of SRECs on the spot market; (c) Delmarva should maintain the competitive bidding process for all tiers but improve outreach to and education of prospective participants, especially homeowners and non-industry participants; and (d) consideration should be given to making changes to the SREC Transfer Agreement to avoid a large amount of tie bids and to reduce or eliminate any incentive for bidders to bid $0 for the first seven (7) years of the contract. Overall, the Consultants concluded that the 2013 Program was conducted fairly and in a professional manner, and that the redesign of the Program to include competitive bidding and permit owners of existing projects to be eligible bidders resulted in lower costs which ultimately benefitted customers.
IV. The 2014 SREC Procurement Program
11. On January 27, 2014, Delmarva filed an application with the Commission seeking approval of the 2014 SREC Procurement Program (“2014 Program”). The 2014 Program differed from the 2013 Program in two principal respects. First, Tiers N-1, E-1, and E-2 were combined for purposes of soliciting a targeted allocation of 3,400 SRECs. Second, the administrative price to be paid for the last thirteen (13) years of the long-term agreement for the purchase and transfer of SRECs (“Transfer Agreement”) was reduced from $50 per SREC to $35 per SREC. The Commission held an evidentiary hearing on April 15, 2014 and approved the 2014 Program as submitted (Order No. 8551). On September 9, 2014, the Commission issued its Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Final Opinion in Order No. 8629 (“2014 Commission Order”) setting forth the reasons for its approval of the 2014 Program.
V. The 2015 SREC Procurement Program
12. On December 9, 2014, Delmarva filed an application with the Commission seeking approval of the 2015 SREC Procurement Program (“2015 Program”). The 2015 Program differed from the 2014 Program in several ways. First, to address the surplus of SRECs in the market and increasing REPSA obligations, the total number of solicitation SRECs to be acquired through the auction from existing and new projects was increased by 3,000. Second, the 2015 Program allowed the SEU the right to reject any bids above the alternative compliance payment of $400 under RESPA and, similarly, provided Delmarva the option of rejecting bids that exceed a threshold price determined by Delmarva. In addition, bids from a single project in multiple tiers were not permitted, but if a tier was undersubscribed (due to insufficient bids or rejected bids), bids from other tiers that were oversubscribed could be selected to fill the tier. Finally, while the twenty-year term for contracts was retained, bidders were required to bid a price for the first 10 years and a fixed price of $35 per SREC for the last ten years. The Commission held an evidentiary hearing on March 3, 2015 and approved the 2015 Program as submitted (Order No. 8717). On July 21, 2015, the Commission issued its Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Final Opinion in Order No. 8764 (“2015 Commission Order”) setting forth the reasons for its approval of the 2015 Program.
VI. The 2016 SREC Procurement Program
13. Based upon the Taskforce’s review of the results of the 2015 Program and recommendations, Delmarva submitted an application for approval of the 2016 SREC Procurement Program (“2016 Program”). The 2016 Program reflected the goals and structure of the Pilot Program, the 2013 Program, the 2014 Program, and the 2015 Program, with some modifications. The 2016 Program continued to be based on five tiers of SRECs, all competitively bid, but with the intent of obtaining a minimum of 9,000 SRECs and a maximum of 15,000 SRECs through the auction process. The 2016 Program included a change to Tiers N-1, N-2, E-1, and E-2 to reduce the upper size limit for eligible bidders from 30 kW to 25 kW to align with the interconnection limits established for smaller (Level 1) solar projects through Delmarva’s interconnection process. The Commission approved the 2016 Program on May 3, 2016 pursuant to Order No. 8884. Thereafter, by Order No. 8890, dated September 6, 2016, the Commission issued its Findings of Facts, Conclusions of Law and Opinion in Support of Order No. 8884.
VII. The 2017 SREC Procurement Program
14. On March 24, 2017, Delmarva filed an application with the Commission seeking approval of the 2017 SREC Procurement Program (“2017 Program”). The 2017 Program continued the structure of the 2016 Program, with two modifications. First, the 2017 Program increased the authorized number of SRECs to be purchased through the long-term auction from 15,000 to 20,000 SRECs. Second, the 2017 Program added Tiers N-4 and E-3 to allow utility scale systems with nameplate capacity greater than 2 megawatts (“MW”) to participate in the competitive auction. The Commission held an evidentiary hearing on April 20, 2017, and approved the 2017 Program as submitted (Order No. 9050). On September 14, 2017, the Commission issued its Findings, Opinion and Order No. 9116 (“2017 Commission Order”) setting forth the reasons for its approval of the 2017 Program.
VIII. The 2018 SREC Procurement Program
15. Since the approval of the Pilot Program, the 2013 Program, the 2014 Program, the 2015 Program, the 2016 Program, and the 2017 Program (collectively, the “SREC Programs”), the Taskforce has continued to meet to evaluate the results of the SREC Programs and to develop plans for procurement of SRECs in subsequent years. In developing the 2018 SREC Procurement Program (“2018 Program”) presented to the Commission in this Application, the Taskforce considered a wide range of data and stakeholder feedback, including the guidance set forth in the 2017 Commission Order and additional discussions that took place during the Taskforce’s meetings.
16. The purpose of the 2018 Program is to continue the established goals of creating a market for SRECs in Delaware and providing a mechanism for the procurement of SRECs to ensure that retail electricity suppliers meet the requirements set forth in REPSA. The key aspects of the 2018 Program and the ways in which it differs from the 2017 Program are highlighted below. The 2018 Program, including attachments, is attached hereto as Exhibit “A”. A blackline showing changes made to the 2018 Program from the 2017 Program is attached hereto as Exhibit “B”. Delmarva’s Report in support of the 2018 Program which addresses the manner in which the 2018 Program is structured is attached hereto as Exhibit “C”.
A. Term of the 2018 Program
17. Like the 2017 Program, the 2018 Program will cover only one (1) year (the 2018 compliance year).
B. Public Competitive Bidding Administered by the SEU
18. Consistent with the 2017 Program, the 2018 Program will utilize a public solicitation for SRECs for different tiers of solar generators based on project capacity. (Ex. A at p. 10). As with the 2017 Program, the SEU will administer all aspects of the bid process for the 2018 Program. It is also anticipated that the SEU will use InClime, Inc. for any auctions held for the 2018 Program. (Ex. A at p. 9). The use of the SEU to fulfill this administrative role allows one central entity to manage the program. It also allows the SEU to take advantage of its banking rights under REPSA as the SEU will procure the SRECs from various solar generators and resell the SRECs to participating utilities. Delmarva has found the SEU to be effective in administering the SREC Programs and expects that the SEU will continue to be effective in 2018.
C. Procurement of SRECs from Nine Tiers of Solar Generators
19. The 2018 Program will procure SRECs from nine (9) different tiers of solar generators. (Ex. A at pp. 10-11). Five (5) tiers fall under the category of New Systems while four (4) tiers fall under the category of Existing Systems. The nine (9) tiers are as follows:
GENERATION UNIT TIER DESIGNATIONS
Tier Nameplate Rating
(DC at STC)
N-1 Less than or equal to 50 kW (Customer-Owned)
N-2 Greater than 50 kW but less than or equal to 500 kW
N-3 Greater than 500 kW but less than or equal to 2 MW
N-4 In-state systems greater than 2MW and out-of-state systems greater than 500 kW
N-5 Less than or equal to 50 kW (Not Customer-Owned)
Tier Nameplate Rating
(DC at STC)
E-1 Less than or equal to 50 kW (Customer-Owned)
E-2 Greater than 50 kW but less than or equal to 2 MW
E-3 Systems greater than 2MW
E-4 Less than or equal to 50 kW (Not Customer-Owned)
(Ex. A. at p. 11).
20. Each system is only allowed to submit an application in one Tier. (Ex. A at p. 24). However, in the event that a Tier is undersubscribed, bids from other oversubscribed Tiers can be accepted to secure the necessary SRECs to fill the undersubscribed tier in the manner described in Paragraph 22 below. To encourage a diversity of project Owners, the SEU will not award more than 50% of SRECs in Tier N-2 to a single Owner unless Tier N-2 is undersubscribed due to that limitation. In that case, the Owner’s additional projects shall be added back to Tier N-2 from the lowest bid price upward until the next highest price bid would cause Tier N-2 to be oversubscribed. Provided these requirements are met, the SEU will accept for each Tier the lowest bid prices for that Tier. (Ex. A at pp. 24-25).
21. Based on Delmarva Power’s forecasted load, it intends to procure a minimum of 15,000 SRECs and a maximum of 20,000 SRECs through the long term auction, as follows:
• Tier N-1 – 4,400 SRECs
• Tier N-2 – 2,300 SRECs
• Tier N-3 – 3,300 SRECs
If 10,000 SRECs are procured from these tiers, Delmarva Power will procure 5,000 additional SRECs from bidders in Tiers N-5, E-1, E-2, and E-4. Thereafter, Delmarva may fill any remaining undersubscribed Tiers with the lowest bid from any Tier and may procure up to a maximum of 5,000 additional SRECs through the auction (Ex. A at pp. 26-27).
22. If any Tier within the first 10,000 SRECs is undersubscribed because of insufficient bids, that Tier will first be filled by the lowest-price losing bids remaining from Tier N-1, N-2, or N-3. Next, if Tier N-1, N-2, or N-3 remains undersubscribed, the SEU will have the option to use its SRECs banked in accordance with Section 360(c) of REPSA to fill the undersubscribed Tier at the lowest winning bid price in the applicable undersubscribed Tier. In the event the SEU declines to exercise its option to use its banked SRECs to fill an undersubscribed Tier N-1, N-2, or N-3 or such Tier remains undersubscribed after the SEU exercises its option, bids from Tiers N-4, N-5, and E-1 through E-4 can be selected to supply those SRECs. If any Tier within the first 10,000 SRECs is undersubscribed because of rejected bids, bids from any Tier, except Tiers N-4, N-5, and E-1 through E-4, can be selected to supply those SRECs. If Tier N-5, E-1, E-2, E-3, or E-4 is undersubscribed because of rejected bids, bids from any Tier can be selected to supply those SRECs. (Ex. A. at p. 27).
D. Standard Transfer Agreements and Other Requirements
23. Each Owner who is a winning bidder will enter into a standard form Transfer Agreement with the SEU. (Ex. A at Appendix A). The form of the Transfer Agreement is largely the same as the one used for the 2017 Program, with modifications to take into account changes in the 2018 Program described in Section VIII.E, infra.
24. Each Transfer Agreement will have a term of twenty (20) years. (Ex. A at p. 16). For the first ten (10) years of the Agreement, the SREC price will be the accepted bid price. (Ex. A at p. 18). For the remaining ten (10) years of the Agreement, the SREC price will be the lower of the bid price or $20 per SREC (Ex. A, p. 18).
25. As with the 2017 Program, in each bid, regardless of Tier, the Owner will provide an Estimated SREC Quantity. Under the Transfer Agreement, the quantity of SRECs delivered to the SEU in any year is limited to 110% of the Estimated SREC Quantity, which amount shall be the Contract Maximum. (Ex. A at pp. 16-17). In addition, for any project with a nameplate rating of 500 kW or greater, the Owner shall be subject to a Minimum Annual Quantity. (Ex. A at p. 17). Each Owner subject to a Minimum Annual Quantity must deliver to the SEU SRECs equal to no less than 80% of its Estimated SREC Quantity. (Ex. A at p. 17).
E. Public Interest
26. As previously explained, the primary differences between the 2018 Program and the 2017 Program are: (1) an increase in the maximum breakpoints for kW for Tiers N-1 and E-2 from 25 kW to 50 kW and Tier N-2 from 200 kW to 500 kW; (2) the addition of Tiers N-5 and E-4; (3) the inclusion of in-state system siting requirements for Tier N-3; (4) the imposition of a bidding limitation for Tier N-2; (5) the use of SRECs held by the SEU to fill undersubscribed Tiers in certain circumstances; and (6) a reduction in the administrative price to be paid for SRECs for the last ten (10) years of the Agreement from $35 per SREC to the lower of the bid price or $20 per SREC.
27. The Taskforce proposes the increase of the kW breakpoint from 25 kW to 50 kW for Tiers N-1 and E-1 to be consistent with the interconnection limits established for residential projects eligible for grants under the Delaware Energy Office’s Green Energy Program. The Taskforce also recommends an increase in the maximum breakpoint for Tier N-2 from 200 kW to 500 kW to increase the number of projects eligible to bid because this Tier has frequently been undersubscribed in past auctions.
28. The Taskforce proposes to revise the tier system in three respects. First, the Taskforce proposes to separate bids involving systems less than 50 kW that are not owned by customers (Tiers N-5 and E-4) to ensure robust participation from both homeowners and entities that lease the property where a solar array is sited in the auction process. The Taskforce believes that continuation of a tiered approach, with the addition of a solicitation where customer-owned residential projects do not have to compete with those owned by industry participants, will help ensure a good balance across system sizes. Second, the addition of in-state system siting requirements for Tier N-3 will help encourage the development and installation of new solar projects within Delaware as envisioned by REPSA. Finally, as previously explained in Paragraph 20, supra, the Taskforce recommended a bidding limitation for Tier N-2 to encourage a diversity of project Owners.
29. In order to ensure a robust auction and take advantage of a surplus of banked SRECs, the Taskforce recommends that SRECs held by the SEU be used to fill undersubscribed Tiers within the first 10,000 SRECs at the lowest winning bid price for the applicable Tier under the circumstances described in Paragraph 22 above.
30. The Taskforce proposes a reduction in the administrative price to be paid for SRECs for the last ten years of the Agreement from $35 per SREC to the lower of the bid price or $20 per SREC to address cost control concerns raised by the Division of the Public Advocate during the Taskforce proceedings.
31. For the foregoing reasons, the Taskforce believes that the 2018 Program will improve upon the results achieved through the 2017 Program by ensuring the lowest SREC price (and, therefore, customer impact) while continuing to create a market for SRECs at all levels of generation. Delmarva submits that the 2018 Program, with the proposed changes, is in the public interest.
IX. Request for Expedition and Approval
32. In order to begin the public bidding contemplated by the 2018 Program, Delmarva Power respectfully requests that this Application be handled on an expedited basis such that it can be presented to the Commission no later than May 22, 2018.
33. Accordingly, because Delmarva Power and the Taskforce believe the 2018 Program satisfies the goals set forth by REPSA and improves upon the 2017 Program, and, as demonstrated above, is in the public interest, Delmarva Power respectfully requests that the Commission approve the 2018 Program attached as Exhibit “A”.
WHEREFORE, for the foregoing reasons, Delmarva Power respectfully requests that the 2018 Program be approved.
Lindsay B. Orr
Assistant General Counsel
Delmarva Power & Light Company
500 North Wakefield Drive
Newark, DE 19702
(302) 429-3801 (fax)
Click here to view the 2018 SRECDelaware Transfer Agreement.