From Utility Dive:

“I mean the simple fact is state regulators don’t have a clear answer about whether they can use a competitive solicitation model to arrive at avoided cost prices that are the basis of their PURPA obligations,” Travis Kavulla, energy policy director of libertarian think tank R Street Institute, told Utility Dive.

In his former role as Montana Public Utilities commissioner, Kavulla helped co-author a National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) report on how to bring PURPA in line with energy markets. The report proposes that FERC identify the competitive practices in areas without grid operators, and utilities would voluntarily meet those practices to obtain fulfill PURPA’s mandatory purchase obligations of energy from qualifying facilities (QFs) at an avoided cost.

The NARUC recommendations would allow “states to use a robust, genuinely competitive regime of solicitations to accomplish PURPA’s goals, which is to open the market to non-incumbent developers,” Kavulla said.

He added that this recommendation is fair to utilities, independent developers and to the role of the states, stipulating that federal regulators are also trying to come up with an answer that balances all stakeholder interests.

“FERC has all the statutory authorities it needs to deal with this,” Kavulla said.

FERC declined to comment.