May 07, 2015

Wyden Introduces Bill to Let States Set Electricity Rates for Small Power Projects

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., introduced a bill to spur development of more small-scale renewable power projects, like wind turbines on farms and rooftop solar panels on homes and businesses, by letting states determine prices for power from such small renewable energy projects.

Currently, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulates the price that utility companies pay for electricity from small, independent power providers. Under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Plus Act (PURPA PLUS) states would have the choice to set electricity rates for power projects of less than 2 megawatts. FERC currently sets those rates.

“By allowing states to set their own rates for small power projects, instead of the federal government, this bill allows states to drive investment in individual and small-scale renewable energy projects like rooftop solar panels and small wind turbines,” Wyden said.

If states choose not to use the authority granted under the bill, FERC would continue to regulate small renewable energy projects as before. By capping the project size at 2 megawatts, PURPA PLUS only extends this new authority for projects that are providing very small amounts of power to local utility companies.

Read the bill text here and a one-page summary here

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