Recent federal decisions allow new options for state DG policy

Unlocking DG Value: A PURPA-based approach to promoting DG growth, explores benefits that can be quantified and incorporated into the development of PURPA-based avoided cost rates.

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) has released a concept paper that considers states' ability to expand options for distributed generation (DG) technologies. Due to the rapidly growing appetite for solar and other forms of renewable and alternative energy in the U.S., developers, utilities and policymakers are seeking new approaches that could appropriately value the locational benefits of DG. The 1978 federal Public Utilities Policy Regulatory Act (PURPA) may provide a solution that supports greater DG development close to load, where DG value is highest.


This paper, Unlocking DG Value: A PURPA-based approach to promoting DG growth, explores benefits that can be quantified and incorporated into the development of PURPA-based avoided cost rates. "This approach may allow states the flexibility to accurately reflect many of the positive contributions of distributed generation," said Jane Weissman, president and CEO of IREC. "IREC has been a thought leader on clean energy and policy development for more than 30 years."

A comprehensive PURPA-based approach to DG policy design would incorporate many as-yet-unquantified benefits of exports to the distribution system, including line-loss avoidance; the ability to make smaller capacity additions that more closely follow incremental load changes; the deferral or avoidance of utility capital expenditures; and the environmental benefits of displacing fossil-based resources.

This paper describes several recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decisions that have provided the needed justification to value the benefits of DG facilities and it discusses the advantages and disadvantages of such an approach. The paper concludes that several considerations may need to be addressed before PURPA could become a viable option for promoting DG growth in many states.

This paper essentially explores the possibility for state policymakers to re-evaluate and revitalize PURPA as another option for the policy toolkit," said Kevin Fox, lead author of the paper. "While there may still be hurdles to deploying this policy option in a manner that would support widespread DG growth, recent movement in this direction is promising."

About IREC

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) is a non-profit organization that believes clean energy is critical to achieving a sustainable and economically strong future. To pave this clean energy path, IREC works to expand consumer access to clean energy; generates information and objective analysis grounded in best practices and standards; and leads programs to build a quality clean energy workforce, including a unique credentialing program for renewable energy and energy efficiency training programs and instructors. Since 1982, IREC's programs and policies have benefitted energy consumers, policymakers, utilities and the clean energy industry. Visit www.irecusa.org

Featured Product

SolarEdge Technologies - EV Charging Single Phase Inverter

SolarEdge Technologies - EV Charging Single Phase Inverter

The SolarEdge PV inverter combines sophisticated digital control technology with efficient power SolarEdge's EV charging single phase inverter offers homeowners the ability to charge electric vehicles up to six times faster than a standard Level 1 charger through an innovative solar boost mode that utilizes grid and PV charging simultaneously. This product is the world's first EV charger with an integrated PV inverter. Reducing the hassle of installing separately a standalone EV charger and a PV inverter, the EV charging inverter eliminates the need for additional wiring, conduit and a breaker installation. By installing an EV charger that is integrated with an inverter, no additional dedicated circuit breaker is needed, saving space and ruling out a potential upgrade to the main distribution panel. Whether you own an EV now or just want to be EV-ready, future-proof your home with SolarEdge.