Maine energy regulators have released a report on the state's electricity renewable portfolio standard, presenting data from 2015. The Maine Public Utilities Commission's Annual Report on New Renewable Resource Portfolio Requirement - Report for 2015 Activity [PDF] provides a look at Maine's renewables law, now in its tenth year on the books. It may also inform legislative discussions later this spring about the future of Maine's renewable portfolio standard.
In 2007, the Maine legislature enacted a law requiring that specified percentages of electricity that supply Maine’s consumers come from “new” or Class 1 renewable resources, ranging from 1% in 2008 to 10% in 2017. The law also required the Commission to report annually to the legislative energy committee on the status of this requirement and related compliance matters.
According to the report, Maine suppliers sourced approximately 891,757 renewable energy certificates or RECs, from 30 facilities, to comply with the 2015 requirement. Of these, 20 facilities were fueled by biomass, 4 by hydropower, 3 by wind and 1 by landfill gas. 25 out of the 30 facilities were located in Maine, with 2 in New York, and one each in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont. By REC volume, 99% came from facilities located in Maine.
The report also estimates the cost to Maine ratepayers of Maine's new renewable resource portfolio requirement. According to the report, the cost of RECs used for compliance in 2015 ranged from "approximately $2.00 per MWh to $42.50 per MWh, with an average cost of $13.16 per MWh and a total cost of $11,738,174." Adding in $3,018 in alternative compliance payments by one supplier, the report estimates a total cost to ratepayers during 2015 of $11,741,192. The report translates this total cost into "an average rate impact of about one-tenth of a cent per kWh. This is equivalent to about 55 cents per month, or 1%, for a typical residential customer; $50 per month for a medium commercial customer that uses 50,000 kWh per month; and $500 per month for a large commercial/industrial customer that uses 500,000 kWh per month."
Maine law also includes a Class 2 renewable portfolio standard, requiring an additional 30% of electricity come from existing renewables and other Class 2 resources. According to the Commission's report, the average cost of a Class 2 REC in 2015 was $0.28 per MWh, with a total cost of $965,818. The report notes that this is "equivalent to about 5 cents per month for a typical residential customer, and $4 and $40 per month for medium and large commercial/industrial customers with the usage levels described above, respectively."
This session, the 128th Maine Legislature is considering several bills that could affect Maine's renewable energy laws, including LD 532, An Act To Remove the 100-megawatt Limit on Hydroelectric Generators under the Renewable Resources Laws, as well as LD 1185, a concept draft which "proposes to enact measures designed to update Maine's renewable portfolio standards."