Public Service of Colorado makes progress on renewables mandates

The staff of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission has found that the July 15 compliance report from Public Service Co. of Colorado on its 2012 Renewable Energy Standard (RES) activity meets regulatory requirements.

“Staff’s review of the 2012 Compliance Report supports Public Service’s assertion that it has complied with the RES,” said the Sept. 13 staff report. “In addition, Staff believes that the additional renewable energy cost information provided in the Company’s 2012 report has resulted in improved transparency regarding actual costs to ratepayers resulting from the Company’s complying with and exceeding the RES.”

The 2012 report filed by Public Service, which is a subsidiary of Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL), provides a brief overview and general statements regarding compliance with the commission’s Renewable Energy Standard Rule 3650 and Compliance Report Rule 3662.

The report also includes modeled forecasted actual incremental costs of renewable energy and the total costs of the renewable energy acquired during 2012, including costs in addition to the Renewable Energy Standard Adjustment (RESA) expenditures.

The RES describes the amount of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) required based on actual and forecasted retail sales. During 2012, the RES required RECs from renewable resources account for a minimum 12% of retail energy sales, with 1% of the forecasted retail sales acquired from distributed generation, one-half of the distributed generation acquired from retail-distributed generation and one-half of the distributed generation acquired from wholesale distributed generation.

In its 2010 session, the Colorado General Assembly increased the RES through the passage of HB10-1001. Effectively, this law increased the amount of renewable energy an investor-owned utility must acquire by 2020 from 20% to 30% of its electric retail sales. In addition, HB10-1001 eliminated the on-site solar requirement or solar carve out and required investor-owned utilities to obtain Renewable DG starting in 2011.

Commercial operation of the 30-MW Cogentrix of Alamosa Concentrating Solar Photovoltaic project began in April 2012. Generation for this facility was slightly below contract expectations, but that could be attributed to the new technology deployed, the staff report noted.

Commercial operations began in November 2012 for the Limon (200 MW) and Limon II (200 MW) wind facilities. These resources are located across 55,000 acres in Arapahoe, Elbert and Lincoln counties.

In September 2012, Public Service issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking 4 MW of customer sited Solar Resource at least 500 kW in size that would be operational by June 1, 2014. The company selected two projects through its RFP bid evaluation. Once operational, the on-site solar facilities are expected to provide 2.6 MW of installed capacity.

Also, the company opened the new Solar*Rewards Community program in August 2012, implementing both a standard offer and a large RFP offer. Using a first-come first-serve application process the company approved 10 community solar garden projects which total 4.5 MW, in the standard offer program. Through the RFP program the company approved three additional projects, which total 4.5 MW. The successful launch of the Solar*Rewards Community program was a major highlight for the company, staff noted.

Said Public Service in the July 15 report: “Public Service remains well-positioned to meet Colorado’s RES. The RES requires the Company to cause to be generated 30 percent of electric retail sales from renewable resources by 2020 with 3 percent of that energy coming from renewable distributed generation. The Company is committed to pursuing a balanced strategy that reflects a desire to protect the environment while following through on our commitment to produce clean energy while maintaining reliable service at an affordable price.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.