Bill Summaries: H745 (2017-2018 Session)

  • Summary date: Apr 11 2017 - View summary

    Amends GS 62-2(a), deleting language in (a)(10) that requires the state to promote the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency through the implementation of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS). Replaces it with language requiring the state to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency in a manner consistent with the development of the least cost mix of generation. Provides that State policy is to ensure that the development of renewable energy facilities does not result in stranded costs for existing generating units, including the relicensing of existing nuclear power facilities.

    Amends the definition ofsmall power producerin GS 62-3(27a) to mean a person or corporation owning or operating an electrical power production facility that qualifies as a small power production facility under 16 USC s. 796.Requires that standard contracts with these producers not exceed 100 kilowatts of capacity and 2 years, and must allow the public utility to curtail power generated by the small power producer as needed to maintain economic dispatch and system reliability. Requires that the rates paid by a utility to the producer not exceed the incremental cost to the utility (was, limited to the energy cost). Requires rates to be established with further consideration of the need for the power. Provides that the contract may not include payment for capacity. Effective July 1, 2017, and applies to rates approved on or after that date.

    Amends GS 62-133.8 (Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS)) to revise the definition ofrenewable energy resource: limits included biomass resources to the listed types of resources, deletes wood waste and energy crops from that list, and excludes wood waste and tire-derived fuel from the definition. Deletes the provision excluding nuclear energy resource from the definition. Deletes the provisions in the REPS system providing percentage limits for electric utilities implementing energy efficiency measures and verifiable energy efficiency certificates to meet energy consumption reduction requirements, and the percentage limits for purchasing new renewable energy certificates derived from renewable energy facilities to meet those requirements. Includes all reasonable and prudent costs complying with 16 USC s. 824a-3, in addition to other currently described federal mandates, within the definition ofincremental costs. Eliminates the authority of utilities to charge account holders a higher annual fee in 2015 and thereafter to recover incremental costs related to REPS implementation (capped at 2012 amounts). Effective July 1, 2017, and applies to cost recovery proceedings initiated on or after that date.

    Eliminates the requirements for renewable energy and energy efficiency standards for electric public utilities and electric membership corporations and municipalities, for compliance through the use of solar energy, and for compliance through the use of swine waste after 2018 (maintains 2015 amounts thereafter). Amends poultry waste energy sale requirements as follows: 68,000 megawatt hours required in 2012, 280,000 megawatt hours required in 2013, and 360 megawatt hours required in 2014 and thereafter. (Currently, 170,000 for 2012, 700,000 for 2013, 900,000 for 2014, and separate requirements thereafter).

    Repeals GS 105-275(45), which is the tax exclusion for a solar energy electric system. Effective for taxable years beginning on or after July 1, 2017.

    The Utilities Commission may allow an electric power supplier to recover reasonable and prudent incremental costs it incurred before July 1, 2017, in order to comply with REPS requirements that are repealed. Directs the Commission to consider whether reasonable steps were taken to mitigate costs in response to the changes enacted in this act.

    Directs the Utilities Commission, in consultation with the Public Staff and the Department of Environmental Quality, to conduct an assessment of costs and benefits of distributed generation, including distributed solar generation, to be provided to the Joint Legislative Commission on Energy Policy by May 1, 2018. Requires utilities and others to cooperate with the assessment. Appropriates $300,000 for 2017-18 from the General Fund to the Utilities commission to contract with an independent research organization to conduct the assessment.

    Enacts new GS 62-351 (Decommissioning and reclamation of utility-scale solar projects; financial assurance requirements). Requires the owner or operator of a utility-scale solar project, as defined, to decommission the project upon cessation of activities, and to reclaim the property to its condition prior to commencement of activities on the site, no later than two years following completion of the operations. Requires owners or operators to establish financial assurance that will ensure that sufficient funds are available for decommissioning and reclamation, even if the owner or operator becomes insolvent or ceases to reside, be incorporated, do business, or maintain assets in the State. Authorizes various methods of financial assurance. Directs the Department of Environmental Quality to adopt rules establishing criteria to set the amount of required financial assurance, and provides requirements for the rules. Applies to utility-scale solar projects for which construction is initiated on or after the date the act becomes law.

    Includes a severability clause.

    Unless otherwise provided, effective when the act becomes law.