New FERC makeup could ease rules mandating power purchases from US renewables
Other industry sources also expect action soon from FERC. “I would expect that PURPA reform would be one of the very first things a commission that has a 2-1 Republican majority would tackle,” said Travis Kavulla, director of energy policy for think tank The R Street Institute and a former Montana utility commissioner and past NARUC president.
“Since FERC has in other proceedings gone to great lengths to ensure resources smaller than 20 megawatts have access to the RTOs’ wholesale markets, it seems intellectually inconsistent that the agency would continue to pretend they do not by keeping the threshold intact at 20 megawatts,” Kavulla said.
Kavulla said he hoped FERC would update its PURPA regulations in a “balanced way” that allows states “to clear out PURPA’s bastardized version of competition and replace it with something more bona fide.” But he worried that the commission may do something that “simply entrenches the incumbent utilities in their monopoly positions. That would be a tragic missed opportunity, and probably would not have the political staying power that any reform should have.”