Vermont’s Standard Offer (feed-in-tariff) Program survived a recent challenge brought against it before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) by Otter Creek Solar, LLC, a Qualifying Facility (QF) owned by Allco Renewable Energy Limited. Allco also controls Ecos Energy, LLC—the entity that was awarded the right to develop two of the three solar projects selected by the Public Service Board under the Standard Offer Program’s new annual RFP process. See related blog posts.
In declining to initiate an enforcement action against Vermont under PURPA and the Federal Power Act, FERC agreed with the position put forth by the Vermont Department of Public Service:
The standard offer SPEED program is an optional program available to certain small renewable QFs. QFs also may participate in the Vermont Commission’s longstanding Rule 4.100 program. The Vermont Commission’s Rule 4.100 program is the Vermont Commission’s implementation of PURPA and Rule 4.100 has been found by the Commission to be consistent with PURPA. In Vermont, QFs thus still have the option to participate in a program that has been found consistent with PURPA. Those Vermont QFs that choose to participate in the SPEED program are agreeing to the rates that result from that program. Nothing in the Commission’s regulations limits the authority of either an electric utility or a QF to agree to rates for any purchases or terms or conditions relating to any purchases which differ from the rates or terms or conditions which would otherwise be required by the Commission’s regulations.
Under federal law, FERC’s decision not to initiate an enforcement action leaves Otter Creek with the option of seeking an enforcement action against the Vermont Public Service in federal court.
For more information on this topic, read the FERC decision here.