An Act To Establish the Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff
Sec. 1. 35-A MRSA c. 44-A is enacted to read:
RENEWABLE ENERGY RESOURCES FEED-IN TARIFF PROGRAM
§ 4421. Renewable energy resources feed-in tariff program
§ 4422. Definitions
As used in this chapter, unless the context indicates otherwise, the following terms have the following meanings.
§ 4423. Connection to transmission and distribution utility's distribution system
A transmission and distribution utility shall connect a small renewable electric generator to the existing electricity distribution system within 90 days of a request by a small renewable electric generator.
§ 4424. Standard contract
The commission shall draft and make available a standard contract, with a duration of not less than 20 years, for electricity purchases by a transmission and distribution utility from a small renewable electric generator.
§ 4425. Rates and terms
The commission shall set just and reasonable rates, as modified under sections 4423 and 4427, sufficient to provide revenues to operate and to attract necessary capital and investment for small renewable electric generators to be paid by electric utilities to small renewable electric generators under the standard contract under section 4424.
§ 4426. Surcharge
The commission shall, after notice and hearing, biannually establish a renewable energy factor that must be a nonbypassable surcharge payable by every customer of a transmission and distribution utility. The surcharge must be payable by all customer classes. The commission shall set the surcharge at a level sufficient to pay the costs of electricity purchased under section 4425 and any interconnection costs under section 4423. For the purpose of this section, "nonbypassable surcharge" means charges applied to all customer billings in a given region whether they receive service from a local utility or from a competitive supplier. These charges include transition charges, access charges, regional levies and taxes. The surcharge is payable by all suppliers on a kilowatt-usage basis.
§ 4427. Review
The commission shall review the rates established in section 4425 by January 1, 2016 and every 2 years thereafter and adjust those rates for new contracts as necessary to account for inflation, assist in the profitable development of small renewable electric generators, prevent excessive profits for small renewable electric generators and prevent unnecessary costs to ratepayers. The commission shall reduce the rates in section 4425 to reflect any federal or state subsidies, tax credits or other incentives that a small renewable electric generator may receive.
§ 4428. Report
By July 15, 2015 and once every 4 years thereafter, the commission shall file a report with the Governor and Legislature that must include the following:
Small renewable electric generators shall, upon request, provide the commission any information that may be relevant to the commission's performing its duties under this chapter.
§ 4429. Rules
The commission shall adopt rules to implement this chapter. Rules adopted under this section are routine technical rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.
This bill requires the Public Utilities Commission to establish a renewable energy resources feed-in tariff program to encourage the rapid and sustainable development of renewable energy resources and technology for environmentally healthy generation of electricity. It requires that utilities purchase renewably produced electricity from all qualified suppliers. It sets the rate that electric utilities must pay for such power. It requires that utilities enter into a standard contract with all renewable energy suppliers for a set term. It establishes for the Public Utilities Commission management and oversight responsibilities.