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Environment & Energy Report

California’s Renewable Rate Program Violates Federal Utility Law

July 29, 2019, 8:31 PM

The method used by California’s public utilities commission to purchase energy produced by independent renewable energy facilities violates federal law, the Ninth Circuit said July 29.

The commission improperly caps the amount of energy that public utilities must purchase from qualifying facilities, and offers contracts based on market-based rates, Judge M. Margaret McKeown said for the court.

Both of those conditions run counter to federal requirements that electric utilities purchase any and all energy made available by the facilities at a rate calculated from the utilities avoided costs rate, she said. Avoided costs are those costs a utility would have...

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