The Maine Public Utilities Commission has issued a report on Maine's use of renewable electricity in 2013. The report shows the impact of Maine's renewable portfolio standard, a state law requiring electricity suppliers to source specified percentages of their electricity from “new” renewable resources.
Since 2000, Maine law has required electricity suppliers to include renewable energy in their portfolio of supply sources. Maine’s original electric industry restructuring legislation included a 30% eligible resource portfolio requirement. The
portfolio requirement, now referred to as Class II,
mandated that each retail competitive
electricity supplier meet at least 30% of its retail load in Maine from “eligible resources.”
Eligible resources are defined in statute as either renewable resources or efficient
resources. Renewable resources are defined in statute as fuel cells, tidal power, solar
arrays, wind power, geothermal installations, hydroelectric generators, biomass
generators, and municipal solid waste facilities. Renewable resources may not exceed
a production capacity of 100 megawatts. “Efficient” resources are cogeneration facilities
that were constructed prior to 1997, meet a statutory efficient standard and may be
fueled by fossil fuels.
During its 2007 session, the Maine Legislature enacted an Act to Stimulate Demand for Renewable Energy. This Act established a new "Class I" standard, requiring Maine electricity suppliers to source specified percentages of their electricity from “new” renewable resources. Generally, new renewable resources are renewable facilities that have an in-service date, resumed operation or were refurbished after September 1, 2005. The Act set the initial renewable percentage requirement at 1% in 2008, increasing in annual one percentage point increments to 10% in 2017. Pursuant to the Act, the renewable requirement will remain at 10% thereafter, unless the Commission suspends the requirement.
The Commission's March 31, 2015 report, Annual Report on New Renewable Resource Portfolio Requirement, reports on renewable portfolio standard compliance activity in calendar year 2013. This lag between the study period and the report's issuance is driven by the timing of the most
recently filed Competitive Electricity Provider
annual compliance reports, which
were filed in July 2014
for calendar year 2013. In 2013, the Act required suppliers to source 5% of their power from new renewable resources. Suppliers can comply either by acquiring sufficient renewable energy certificates or RECs to cover their compliance obligation, or by paying an "alternative compliance payment".
According to the report, in 2013 suppliers purchased 727,291 Class I RECs from 21 certified generating facilities
to meet the portfolio requirement. Nearly 97% of these RECs came from biomass facilities located in
Maine. According to the report, 17 of the 21 facilities are biomass, three are hydro, and one is a wind facility. 18 of the 21 facilities are located in Maine, one is located in Connecticut, one is located
in Massachusetts and
located in Vermont.
The Commission's report also documents the cost of compliance in 2013. During 2013, the cost of RECs used for compliance with the Class I requirement ranged from
approximately $1.50 per MWh to $60 per MWh,
with an average cost of $19.
MWh and a total cost of $14,
292,438. As noted in the report, the cost of Maine Class I RECs has dropped
substantially since 2013, with the report citing a current trading range of $3.00 to $5.00. With minor use of the alternative compliance mechanism by two suppliers, the total cost to
ratepayers during 2013 was $14,296,249, which the Commission's report translates into an average rate impact
cents per kWh
cents monthly for a typical residential
bill, or a residential customer bill impact of about
The report also documents the 2013 costs of RECs used to satisfy the "Class II" eligible resource
portfolio requirement as ranging from $0.00 per MWh (some RECs were included as part of an energy transaction at no specified extra cost) to $1.00 per MWh, with an average cost of $0.16 per
MWh and a total cost of $589,386. This translates into less than three cents per month
on a typical residential bill.