An Act To Promote Solar Energy Projects and Distributed Generation Resources in Maine
Sec. A-1. 35-A MRSA §3201, sub-§11-A is enacted to read:
Sec. A-2. 35-A MRSA §3201, sub-§13-A is enacted to read:
Sec. A-3. 35-A MRSA §3209-A, as amended by PL 2019, c. 16, §1, is further amended to read:
§ 3209-A. Net energy billing
The commission may adopt or amend rules governing net energy billing. Rules adopted or amended under this section are major substantive rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A. "Net energy billing" means a billing and metering practice under which a customer is billed on the basis of the difference between the kilowatt-hours delivered by a transmission and distribution utility to the customer over a billing period and the kilowatt-hours delivered by the customer to the transmission and distribution utility over the billing period, taking into account accumulated unused kilowatt-hour credits from the previous billing period.
Sec. A-4. 35-A MRSA §3209-B is enacted to read:
§ 3209-B. Commercial and institutional net energy billing
The commission shall establish by rule, in accordance with this section, a net energy billing program for commercial and institutional customers of investor-owned utilities.
Sec. A-5. Reports. By December 1, 2021, the Public Utilities Commission shall provide a report to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over energy matters on the status of metering and billing system capabilities for investor-owned transmission and distribution utilities in the State. The report must include capabilities of systems to reliably offer time-differentiated rates for delivery and supply of energy; the commission's level of confidence in metering and billing systems to provide accurate information to utilities, consumers and the commission; the capacity of systems to accommodate rates for bidirectional flow of power for customers with distributed energy resources; and the degree to which systems are being used to achieve the smart grid policy goals under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 35-A, section 3143. The commission shall report on any changes to rates or rules or other changes the commission intends to adopt to increase the effectiveness of systems under this paragraph and may make recommendations to the joint standing committee.
The joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over energy matters may report out legislation based on any recommendations under this section to the Second Regular Session of the 130th Legislature.
Sec. A-6. Evaluation. The Public Utilities Commission shall evaluate net energy billing under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 35-A, section 3209-A when the total amount of generation capacity involved in net energy billing in the State reaches 10% of the total maximum load of transmission and distribution utilities in the State or 3 years after the effective date of this Act, whichever comes first. The commission shall evaluate the effectiveness of net energy billing in achieving state policy goals and providing benefits to ratepayers and submit a report to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over energy matters with its findings. The joint standing committee may report out legislation based on the recommendations.
Sec. A-7. Rules. Notwithstanding Public Law 2019, chapter 16, section 2, the Public Utilities Commission may adopt rules prior to July 1, 2020 to implement the changes made by this Act to Title 35-A, section 3209-A. Notwithstanding Title 35-A, section 3209-A, rules adopted for this purpose prior to July 1, 2020 are routine technical rules, as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.
Sec. B-1. 35-A MRSA c. 34-C is enacted to read:
§ 3481. Definitions
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
§ 3482. Specific measures to support distributed generation
§ 3483. Standard buyer
A standard buyer designated pursuant to this section shall aggregate the output of the portfolio of distributed generation resources procured pursuant to this chapter and sell or use the output of the resources in a manner that maximizes the value of the portfolio of the resources to all ratepayers.
§ 3484. Procurement methods
(1) Conduct a new initial competitive procurement under this subsection within 9 months; and
(2) Study the reasons for the inability of the procurement to secure the target amount and submit a report of its findings and any recommended legislation to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over energy matters;
(1) Conduct another competitive solicitation under this subsection with the bid acceptance period to open approximately 12 months after the bid acceptance period determined in paragraph B; and
(2) Examine the reasons for the inability of the procurement to secure the target amount and submit a report of its findings and any recommended legislation to the joint standing committee of the legislature having jurisdiction over energy matters.
(1) For a commercial or institutional distributed generation resources procurement, if a participating commercial or institutional customer is not the party making the bid, an agreement from a customer that would receive bill credits under section 3485, subsection 2; and
(2) For a shared distributed generation resources procurement, demonstration of experiencing fulfilling the obligation to subscribers of shared distributed generation resources.
The commission may by rule require a bidder to pay a reasonable bidding fee to defray administrative costs.
In evaluating bids in a competitive solicitation, the commission shall evaluate a qualified bid for a project that is located on previously developed or impacted land at 90% of the offered rate. For the purposes of this subsection, "previously developed or impacted land" means areas covered by impervious surfaces, capped landfills or brownfield sites as defined by the Department of Environmental Protection. If a bid under this subsection is accepted, the contract rate for each accepted bid for a project located on previously developed or impacted land must be paid a rate equal to the clearing price.
A qualified project must be commercially operable within 18 months of being awarded a contract. The commission may grant an extension for good cause. If a project fails to meet a milestone, the project sponsor is in default and the sponsor's contract must be cancelled. The capacity associated with a cancelled project must be added to the currently open procurement block. If procurement block 5 has been filled and procurements closed, the defaulted quantity must be added to procurement block 5 and new offers must be accepted under subsection 2.
§ 3485. Commercial or institutional distributed generation resources procurement
§ 3486. Shared distributed generation resources procurement
(1) Ten percent of the total nameplate capacity of a shared distributed generation resource must be subscribed by households with low or moderate income or by organizations serving households with low or moderate income if the subscriptions serve to directly reduce the electricity costs for households with low or moderate income; or
(2) If a municipality or unit of municipal government accounts for more than 50% of the subscriptions to a shared distributed generation resource, 5% of the total nameplate capacity of the shared distributed generation resource must be subscribed by households with low or moderate income or by organizations serving households with low or moderate income if the subscriptions serve to directly reduce the electricity costs for households with low or moderate income.
Subscriptions from municipalities or units of municipal government may not account for more than 70% of the nameplate capacity of a shared distributed generation resource. For the purposes of this subsection, "household with low or moderate income" means a household that provides proof of participation in a utility, municipal, state or federal income-based assistance program or a household that provides proof of household income up to 80% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area where the household is located.
The monthly output available for allocation as subscribed or unsubscribed energy must be determined by a revenue-grade meter installed and paid for by the project sponsor.
The commission through its own counsel or through the Attorney General may apply to the Superior Court of any county of the State to enforce any lawful order made or action taken by the commission pursuant to this subsection, and the court may issue any preliminary or final order that the court determines proper.
The commission may establish a standard disclosure to be provided to potential subscribers by a project sponsor to disclose the information under this subsection and other information as the commission determines necessary to protect the interests of potential subscribers.
§ 3487. Bill credits; utility costs paid by project sponsor
§ 3488. 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.
Sec. B-2. Rulemaking timeline. By January 1, 2020, the Public Utilities Commission shall adopt rules in accordance with the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 35-A, section 3488 to implement the provisions of Title 35-A, sections 3484, 3485 and 3486.
Sec. B-3. Appropriations and allocations. The following appropriations and allocations are made.
PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION
Public Utilities - Administrative Division 0184
Initiative: Provides allocation for one Staff Attorney position and 2 Utility Analyst positions and associated All Other costs.
|OTHER SPECIAL REVENUE FUNDS||2019-20||2020-21|
POSITIONS - LEGISLATIVE COUNT
|OTHER SPECIAL REVENUE FUNDS TOTAL||$334,983||$451,658|
Public Utilities - Administrative Division 0184
Initiative: Provides funding for consulting services.
|OTHER SPECIAL REVENUE FUNDS||2019-20||2020-21|
|OTHER SPECIAL REVENUE FUNDS TOTAL||$400,000||$400,000|
|PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION|
OTHER SPECIAL REVENUE FUNDS
|DEPARTMENT TOTAL - ALL FUNDS||$734,983||$851,658|