Retail Renewable Portfolio Standard
About the Initiative
The 2002 State Energy Plan required that the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority examine and report on the feasibility of establishing a renewable portfolio standard (RPS). NYSERDA's preliminary report found that an RPS can be implemented in a manner that is consistent with the wholesale and retail marketplace in New York and that an RPS has the potential to improve energy security and help diversify the state's electricity generation mix. The report also stated the expectation that an RPS would spur increased economic development opportunities in the renewables industry, including the attraction of renewable technology manufacturers and installers. Accordingly, on February 19, 2003, the Public Service Commission instituted a proceeding to develop and implement a renewable portfolio standard for electric energy retailed in New York State to address increasing concerns with the climate effects of, and over-dependence on, fossil-fired generation.
On September 24, 2004, after a year and a half of public hearings and participation by over 150 parties, the Commission issued its "Order Approving Renewable Portfolio Standard Policy." That Order identified the Commission's renewable energy policy and provided definitions and targets for carrying out the policy. The policy calls for an increase in renewable energy used in the State from the then current level of about 19% to 25% by the year 2013. Two approaches were identified to achieve that goal: a central procurement approach that would provide for increases to about 24% and a voluntary green market approach that would provide at least the other 1%.
The central procurement approach provides for the regulated investor-owned utilities to collect a surcharge on most delivery customer bills and transfer those funds to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) who administers the RPS program for the Commission. NYSERDA enters into contracts to provide incentives, based on actual production, to renewable energy producers who either sell and deliver their energy into the New York wholesale market or will provide funding for customers to install such facilities "behind the meter". In return for these incentives, the energy producers agree not to sell the environmental attributes of their renewable energy to any other entity during the terms of their agreements. Unlike most other jurisdictions, there is no requirement on utilities to purchase renewable energy as part of their energy portfolios, but the affect of the incentives will be that more renewable energy will be sold by producers into the NYISO-sponsored wholesale market and there will be further encouragement for the installation of renewable resources by customers on their sides of the meters. These actions will, in turn, affect the percentage of renewable energy used in the State.
As part of the September 24, 2004 Order, the Commission directed that an Implementation Plan be developed and approved to guide the program through 2013. Shortly after the Order was issued and prior to development of the Implementation Plan, however, Congress authorized an extension until December 31, 2005 of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) allowable for certain renewable facilities. To take advantage of the credit, the Commission quickly authorized, on December 16, 2004, a "Fast Track" procurement under the RPS to facilitate development of renewable resources that might be able to meet the December 31, 2005 deadline. As a result of that solicitation, 22 proposals were submitted by the January 18, 2005 deadline, and awards were given to seven projects. Those seven projects were to begin in 2006 to produce 821,000 MWH per year of renewable energy, which filled the majority of the Commission's first year goal for meeting the 25% target by 2013. A subsequent solicitation took place in 2006 and others will occur from time-to-time until the full goal is met.
Subsequent to the completion of the "Fast Track" solicitation, the Implementation Plan was developed and approved by the Commission by Order issued April 14, 2005 (see Appendix A of the Order) The Plan identifies the procedures for determining eligibility, establishing future procurements, and monitoring the program. It also identifies other actions that were needed for the program to go forward. Interested party workshops were then held during the summer of 2005 to address several outstanding issues, and notices under the State Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA) were issued. Comments from interested parties were received and considered by the Commission as part of its review of plans for the next RPS solicitation.
By Order issued October 31, 2005 the Commission modified its' prior orders with respect to issues associated with "maintenance resources", i.e., existing facilities included in the baseline that are in danger of ceasing operations because of financial difficulties. The Commission clarified that projected costs for the facility should be based on a "to go" form of analysis that considers going forward operating costs and new capital expenditures and does not consider sunk costs. The Commission also clarified that its Order in each proceeding would specify the specific relief to be given based on case-specific circumstances. Existing projects found eligible would no longer automatically be allowed to participate in future solicitations. Maintenance resource requests submitted prior to the date of this Order are exempt from these modifications.
By Order issued November 2, 2005, the Commission acted on a petition filed by The Farm Bureau of New York. The Commission agreed to allow anaerobic digestion generator systems to be added to the list of eligible customer-sited tier technologies. This action will provide opportunities for small farms to participate in the program, receive economic benefits, and handle their farm wastes in more environmentally effective ways. Subsequently, the Commission clarified that similar anaerobic digestion systems employed at non-farm locations will also be eligible.
By Order issued January 26, 2006, the Commission authorized NYSERDA to conduct additional solicitations of Main Tier Resources in 2006 and 2007. The Commission also directed several changes to the RPS Program and made several findings that would lead to additional modifications after subsequent reports were prepared by Staff. Three Notices requesting comments on the proposed modifications were published in the New York State Register pursuant to the State Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA). Comments in response to the Notices were to be sent to the Secretary of the Public Service Commission in accordance with the instructions in the Notices. The SAPA Notices (03-E-0188SA14, 03-E-0188SA15, and 94-E-0952SA38) and the Express Terms associated with them are linked below.
By Order issued June 28, 2006, the Commission acted on the proposals identified in the three notices. In particular, in one Order, it authorized a plan for solicitation of Customer-Sited Tier resources and made several modifications to the program. In a second order, it recognized environmental attributes and authorized, in main tier solicitations, participation of projects with physical bilateral contracts. In the third Order, it modified the delivery requirement for imports from intermittent generators (i.e., required hourly matching of generation and delivery to New York in lieu of the previously-allowed monthly matching requirement).
In the Commission's January 26, 2006 Order, it directed use of a declining clock auction format for the next Main Tier solicitation, but it indicated that Staff should report back if it ultimately appeared that the market was not yet ripe for use of such an approach or if the mechanics of the model could not be developed in time for the solicitation. On July 21, 2006, Staff notified the Commission that the model was not ready for use. Thereafter, SAPA notice 03-E-0188AS16 was issued to allow parties to comment on the mechanism that should now be used for the solicitation. On September 1, 2006, the Commission extended the deadline for comments and also invited comments concerning the criteria that should be used for evaluations of bids that would be submitted. These issues were subsequently decided by the Commission at its October session and put forth in an Order issued October 19, 2006.
NYSERDA thereafter prepared a request for proposals (RFP No. 1037) for procurement of environmental attributes created by eligible Main Tier generation resources. The RFP was issued on November 14, 2006, and contract awards are expected soon.
On February 12, 2007, NYSERDA released its Operating Plan for the Customer-Sited Tier portion of the RFP program. This plan provides an overview of the various mechanisms that NYSERDA will use to support development of renewable resources by customers behind their meters.
On August 9, 2007, the Staff reported on the status of the RPS Program following two solicitations for renewable generation, which resulted in contracts for approximately 3 million megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy from 26 projects, totaling more than 800 MW. This report also addressed RPS Program costs.
By Order issued October 28, 2008, the Commission changed the RPS Program by reallocating and increasing funding for specific programs of the Customer-Sited Tier in response to changing market needs for specific eligible renewable energy technologies. The increased funding came from a cash flow balance of approximately $47 million which was available within the existing RPS Program. Funding was allocated as $20.6 million for the solar photovoltaic category, $7.6 million for the anaerobic digester biogas systems category, $15.1 million for discretionary use, and $4.7 million for evaluation, measurement, and verification.
On January 14, 2009, Staff issued its Status Report on expenditures and renewable resource acquisitions for the period ending December 31, 2008 under the Customer-Sited Tier. Staff reported that there appeared to be sufficient funds to continue support for all four technologies through at least April 2009.
On March 31, 2009, NYSERDA submitted its New York Renewable Portfolio Standard Program Evaluation Report (2009 Review), as mandated by the Commission’s April 14, 2005 Order in Case 03-E-0188. The NYSERDA Evaluation Report included a Summit Blue Market Conditions Assessment Report and a KEMA New York Main Tier RPS Impact & Process Evaluation Report.
By Order Issued June 22, 2009, The Commission adopted changes to the RPS by reallocating and increasing funding for the solar photovoltaic program of the Customer-Sited Tier by $15 million in response to continued increasing market demand and made a corresponding $600,000 reallocation for increased evaluation. The increased funding comes from approximately $110 million of unencumbered funds in the RPS Program, primarily from projects that were chosen in previous renewable energy procurement solicitations, but never materialized.
Staff issued its Mid Course Report on the RPS on September 2009. This report provided a review of the current status of the program, including a review of the NYSERDA Evaluation Report, and presented the Staff’s proposals for the RPS Program going forward.
On January 8, 2010, The Commission issued its Order Establishing New RPS Goal and Resolving Main Tier Issues. This order establishes a new RPS goal and MWh target and resolves several issues related to the RPS program, with a primary focus on the Main Tier. It adopts a goal of 30% renewable energy by the year 2015. It also authorizes an additional main Tier solicitation of $200 million, consistent with the results of a recent solicitation and the MWh trajectory needed to meet the revised goal. The Commission also requested that Staff consult with interested parties to develop plans to address the use of Contracts for Differences (CFDs) and a perceived disparity between the provision of RPS funds and RPS project locations.
On January 14, 2010, Staff held a Technical Conference on using CFD bidding for the Main Tier solicitations. On January 15, 2010, Staff held an additional Technical Conference concerning Geographic Balancing within the RPS program. Staff provided straw proposals for discussion.
On April 2, 2010, the Commission issued two Orders, one resolving certain Main Tier issues from its January 8, 2010 Order and the other addressing CST issues, including a new Geographic Balancing program within the CST, as well as setting the budgets and collections for the RPS program through 2024. On June 30, 2010, NYSERDA issued its Operating Plan for the CST going forward as required by the Commission in its April 2, 2010 CST Order.
On December 3, 2010, a Commission Order authorized an additional Main Tier solicitation and provided guidance in issuing future Main Tier solicitations. NYSERDA was authorized to conduct future Main Tier solicitations, without Commission approval, for RPS Main Tier resources, after consultation with Staff and approval by the OEEE Director prior to each solicitation. Contract awards shall be for a ten-year term. The contracts with fuel-based renewable energy generators will have an escape clause actionable every two and one-half years so that the generator may drop out of the program if it is unable to secure a continuous fuel supply at a price that supports its contract with NYSERDA. The selection of winning bids will continue to be based on a weighted combined score with price comprising 70% and economic benefits at 30%. As before, only renewable generation facilities that commence commercial operation on or after January 1, 2003 will be eligible to bid.
On November 22, 2010, the Commission approved the use of biomass material sorted at material reclamation facilities (MRFs) for use as a biomass fuel for RPS-eligible generation in response to a petition. On November 24, 2010, a Commission Order addressed a petition to allow "behind the meter" contracts and wholesale delivery to utility/municipal utility/public authority entities to bid in Main Tier procurements.
On August 19, 2011, in its Order, the Commission responded to a petition by declining to add regenerative drive generation to the RPS list of eligible technologies. On September 19, 2011, the Commission issued an Order addressing a petition from NYSERDA on several topics, including the reallocation of unencumbered funds from the previous calendar year.
On April 20, 2012, the Commission authorized the reallocation of unused RPS funds from 2011 into the 2012 program budgets and also resolved additional issues raised by NYSERDA's petition to do so. Later that month, on April 24, 2012, the Commission expanded the solar photovoltaic and Geographic Balance programs within the Customer-Sited Tier to reflect the goals of the new NY Sun initiative. On August 16, 2012, the Commission denied the petitions of Niagara Generation, LLC for contract modification and eligibility of wood products containing up to ten percent glued wood for direct incineration within the RPS Program.
By Order issued January 23, 2013, the Commission authorized the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to increase its maximum incentive available under the Anaerobic Digester Gas-to-Electricity Program in the Customer-Sited Tier of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) from $1 million up to $2 million per installation.
By Order issued February 14, 2013, the Commission authorized the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to increase its maximum incentive available under the On-Site Wind Program in the Customer-Sited Tier of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) from $400,000 up to $1 million per installation.
Public Service Commission Documents
- April 1, 2013 - NYS RPS Performance Report, Through December 31. 2012
- February 14, 2013 - Order Authorizing an Increase in the Maximum Project Incentive for the On-Site Wind Program in the Customer-Sited Tier
- January 23, 2013 - Order Authorizing the Increase of Maximum Project Incentive for the Anaerobic Digester Gas-To_Electricity Program
- August 16, 2012 - Order Denying Request to make Glued Wood Eligible for Burning as an up to 10% Portion of Biomass Fuel
- August 16, 2012 - Order Denying Request for Restructuring of a Contract
- August 2, 2012 - 2011 RPS Annual Performance Report released 3/23/2012
- June 29, 2012 - NYSERDA 2012 Customer-Sited Tier Operating Plan
- April 24, 2012 - Order Authorizing the Expansion of the Solar Photovoltaic and Geographic Balance Programs from 2012 through 2015 and the Reallocation of Main-Tier Unencumbered Funds
- April 20, 2012 - Order Approving Boralex New York LP Request for Modification of Funding as a Maintenance Resource
- April 20, 2012 - Order Authorizing NYSERDA to Reallocate Unencumbered 2011 Customer-Sited Tier Program Funds and Resolving Other Issues
- December 3, 2010 - Commission Order Authorizing Additional Main Tier Solicitation and Setting Future Solicitation Guidelines
- November 24, 2010 - Commission Order Allowing Main Tier "Behind The Meter" Contracts and Wholesale Delivery to Utility/Municipal Utility/Public Authority Entities, Applicable to Future Solicitations Only.
- November 22, 2010 - Commission Order Approving Petition of Niagara Generation, LLC with Modifications
- June 30, 2010 - NYSERDA Final CST Operating Plan
- April 2, 2010 - Commission Order Authorizing Customer-Sited Tier Program Through 2015 and Resolving Geographic Balance and Other Issues Pertaining to the RPS Program
- April 2, 2010 - Commission Order Resolving Main Tier Issues
- January 15, 2010 - RPS Geographic Balancing Technical Conference transcript
- January 8, 2010 - Commission Order Establishing New RPS Goal and Resolving Main Tier Issues.
- November 12, 2009 - RPS Technical Conference webcast
- October 28, 2009 - RPS Technical Conference webcast
- October 28, 2009 - RPS Technical Conference Presentations
- October 26, 2009 - RPS Mid Course Report & supporting documents
- August 21, 2009 - Order Authorizing Additional Main Tier Solicitation and Setting Solicitation Guidelines
- July 31, 2008 - RPS SAPA Express Terms
- June 22, 2009 - Commission Order Concerning Further Modification of Funding for the CST
- June 3, 2009 - Express Terms SAPA 03-E-0188SP21
- March 31, 2009 - NYSERDA RPS Evaluation Report and Appendices
- October 19, 2006 - Order Authorizing Solicitation Methods and Consideration of Bid Evaluation Criteria and Denying Request for Clarification
- September 1, 2006 - Notice Seeking Comment (Concerning the Approach and Criteria to be used for Main Tier Solicitations)
- July 21, 2006 - Staff Notice to Commission Concerning Main Tier Solicitation Mechanism (responds to requirement in January 26, 2006 Order)
- June 28, 2006 - Order on Customer-Sited Tier Implementation (includes revised list of eligible electric generation technologies originally contained in Appendix B to September 24, 2004 Order)
- June 28, 2006 - Order Recognizing Environmental Attributes and Allowing Participation of Projects with Physical Bilateral Contracts
- June 28, 2006 - Order on Delivery Requirements for Imports from Intermittent Generators
- May 2006 - Biomass Guidebook issued
- February 16, 2006 - Order Approving Request for RPS Program Funding as a Maintenance Resource (Chateaugay Power Plant)
- Notice SAPA 03E-0188SA14
- Notice SAPA 03-E-0188SA15
- Notice SAPA 94-E-0953SA38
- January 26, 2006 - Order Authorizing Additional Main Tier Solicitations and Directing Program Modifications
- November 2, 2005 - Order Approving Request for Inclusion of Methane Digester Systems as Eligible Technologies in the Customer-Sited Tier
- October 31, 2005 - Order Approving Modifications to Maintenance Resource Category
- October 27, 2005 - Retail Renewable Portfolio Standard and Lyonsdale Biomass, LLC, Order Granting Petition for Clarification
- October 5, 2005 (date of publication in State Register) - SAPA 03-E-0188SA12 - Development of funding mechanism for customer-sited tier technologies
- September 21, 2005 - SAPA 03-E-0188SA11 - Unbundling Express Terms
- September 21, 2005 - SAPA 03-E-0188SA10 - Procurement Express Terms
- August 31, 2005 - Order Approving Request for RPS Program Funding as a Maintenance Resource (Lyonsdale Biomass, LLC)
- April 20, 2005 - Additional comments submitted in response to April 1, 2005 Notices
- April 14, 2005 - Order Approving Implementation Plan, Adopting Clarifications and Modifying Environmental Disclosure Program. The Implementation Plan is attached as Appendix A.
- April 1, 2005 - Notice seeking additional comments on Legislative proposal related to RPS funding
- March 4, 2005 - public comments
- SAPA A2 - Proposed RPS implementation plan
- SAPA A3 - Initial Facility Certification and Procurement
- December 16, 2004 - Order Authorizing Fast Track Certification and Procurement.
- December 15, 2004 - Order Regarding Petitions for Clarification and Reconsideration
- Petitions and Replies to the September 24th Order
- September 24, 2004 - Order Approving Renewable Portfolio Standard Policy
- August 26, 2004 - Order Approving Final Environmental Impact Statement
- July 8, 2004 - Briefs Opposing Exceptions
- June 23, 2004 - Briefs on Exceptions (to the RD)
- June 3, 2004 - Recommended Decision by Administrative Law Judge Stein
- April 8, 2004 - Public Service Commission Order Concerning Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement>
- April 7, 2004 - Ruling On Motion To Further Postpone by Administrative Law Judge Stein
- March 10, 2004 - Notice of March 17, 2004 Technical Conference by Secretary Jaclyn Brilling
- March 10, 2004 - Further Ruling Establishing Schedules by Administrative Law Judge Stein
- March 1, 2004 - Letter to Parties regarding Cost Study Procedural Schedule by Administrative Law Judge Stein
- February 13, 2004 - Notice of Technical Conference by Administrative Law Judge Stein
- November 26, 2003 - Judge Stein Ruling on Procedural Motions
- Reply Comments of Parties - October 31, 2003
- Further Ruling on Procedure - October 21, 2003
- Comments of Parties - September 26, 2003
- September 19, 2003 - Further Ruling Concerning Schedule and Procedure by Administrative Law Judge Stein
- September 19, 2003 - Notice of Parties Conference Concerning Reliability by Administrative Law Judge Stein
- August 18, 2003 - Ruling Granting, In Part, Motions to Amend The Comment Schedule by Administrative Law Judge Stein
- June 25, 2003 - Letter and Summary of Working Group Products and Discussions by Administrative Law Judge Stein
- June 19, 2003 - Ruling Ruling Establishing Comment Procedures by Administrative Law Judge Stein
- June 13, 2003 - Ruling on Motion to Amend Comment Schedule and Convene Reliability Impacts Meeting by Administrative Law Judge Stein
- June 9, 2003 - Notice of Workshop on Cost and Benefit Methodology from Administrative Law Judge Stein to Active Parties
- May 29, 2003 - Letter from Administrative Law Judge Stein to Active Parties regarding filing schedule for comments
- May 2, 2003 - Report from Administrative Law Judge Stein to Chairman Flynn
- March 28, 2003 - Initial Comments of Parties
- March 27, 2003 - Retail Renewable Portfolio Standard, Notice of Collaborative Meetings
- March 18, 2003 - Retail Renewable Portfolio Standard, Notice of Determination of Significance
- March 17, 2003 - Baseline Electric Generation Sources by DPS Staff
- March 6, 2003 - Ruling Revising Schedule by Administrative Law Judge Stein
- February 20, 2003 - Notice of Procedural Conference by Administrative Law Judge Stein
- February 20, 2003 - Ruling Concerning Procedure and Schedule by Administrative Law Judge Eleanor Stein
- February 19, 2003 - Public Service Commission Order Instituting Proceeding
Disclaimer: The following web pages and links have been created solely for the convenience of the parties to this case, and their content has been prepared by a wide range of entities, many of them outside the Department. Although efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of the material posted, neither the New York State Public Service Commission nor the New York State Department of Public Service warranties that accuracy. It should be recognized as well (except where clearly so stated) the documents posted do not constitute official statements of the Public Service Commission or the Department of Public Service and that the views expressed on these pages do not necessarily represent the views of the Commission or the Department. Links to external sites will open a new browser window.
Related Documents & Resources
2008 • 2007 • 2006 • 2004 • 2003 • 2002 • 2001
- October 2008 - RPS Performance Report - Program Period Ending June 2008
- October 2007 - 2006 Program Performance Report
- June 2006 - 2005 Program Performance report
- April 12, 2006 - New York State draft Biomass Guidebook issued
- July 1, 2004 Letter From EPA
- March 9, 2004 - Cost Study Report II, Volume B
- February 19, 2004 - Cost Study Report II, Volume A
- Phase 1 Final Preliminary Reliability Assessment Report - February 2, 2004 (1,157 kb)
- January 13, 2004 Letter to Parties from Administrative Law Judge Stein, regarding the purpose of meeting scheduled for January 14, 2004 (24kb)
- Draft Report on Phase 1 - Preliminary Overall Reliability Assessment - NYSERDA (1,788 kb)
- January 6, 2004 Letter to Parties from Administrative Law Judge Stein, regarding schedule inquiries by parties (24kb)
- September 10, 2003 - Letter to Parties from Administrative Law Judge Stein, regarding initial comments schedule (24kb)
- August 28, 2003 - "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Resource Development Potential in New York State" (NYSERDA report)
- August 12, 2003 Letter to Parties from Administrative Law Judge Stein, regarding initial comments schedule(24kb)
- July 22, 2003 - Letter to Parties from Administrative Law Judge Stein (24kb)
- July 21, 2003 - Letter to Parties amending comment schedule from Administrative Law Judge Stein (23kb)
- Modeling the Impacts of a NY Renewable Portfolio Portfolio Standard - June 27, 2003 Presentation by Bob Grace
- Forum Expert Presentations
- April 3, 2003 - Working Draft Agenda for Forum (27 kb)
- April 2, 2003 - Letter to Parties from Administrative Law Judge Eleanor Stein(29kb)
- NYSERDA REACTS Report - APX - March 11, 2003
- NYSERDA Preliminary Investigation into Establishing a Renewable Portfolio Standard in New York, February 14, 2003
- New York Executive Order 111 - establishing renewable energy targets for State agencies - June 10, 2001 (external site)
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation - Part 204 regulations - defining “renewable energy project” for the purposes of NOX emissions credits trading (external site)
- US Department of Energy - State Energy Alternatives Home Page (external site)
- US Department of Energy - National Renewable Energy Laboratory (external site)
- US Department of Energy - Green Power Network (external site)
- Working Group 1 - Eligibility
- Working Group 2 - Individual Compliance
- Working Group 3 - Centralized Procurement
- Working Group 4 - Credit Trading
- Working Group 5 - Long-term Contracts
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