Attended yesterday the Senate Finance Committee continued briefing on off-shore wind. This is one of the Governor’s proposals again for the upcoming session. The hearing yesterday concerned financing issues: should long term power purchase agreements finance these projects, or should there be carve outs, and orecs (off shore wind credits) like, e.g., solar power under the state’s renewable portfolio standard. Suppliers would be legally required to purchase these credits, giving a financing stream to the project. Utilities seem to prefer orecs, since long term power purchase agreements could negatively impact their balance sheets. Last year’s proposal was for long term contracts. Whether that remains the model, or the next bill goes with orecs, remains to be seen.
I am now representing ALCOA, and Eastalco which owns property in Frederick County. In intervening before the MD PSC, we are arguing that the PSC should include the Alcoa property as eligible to compete in the bidding procedure for new electric generation in MD. The PSC has required utilities to solicit bids for up to 1500 MW of new, natural gas generation. But the PSC has placed geographical limits on where these facilities may be located. The RFP restrictions are arbitrary, eliminate potential bids for beneficial generation in other areas of the state, and make the RFP process less competitive. New electric generation is needed in MD to meet future demand, and all geographic areas, including the area of the Alcoa property, should have the opportunity to submit potential bids for new generation. No information is available on when the PSC will consider and rule on the request.
In Senate Bill 690, the 2011 Maryland General Assembly made a substantial modification to the State’s renewable energy portfolio. Previously, the state’s RPS had divided renewable energy into two tiers: Tier 1 consisting of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, landfill methane, geo-thermal, and qualifying biomass; and Tier 2 renewable sources consisting of hydroelectric power and waste-to-energy sources. [Read more...]