§ 39-26.6-12. Annual bidding and enrollments.
(a) With the exception of the first program year (2015), the electric-distribution company, in consultation with the board and office, shall conduct at least three (3) tariff enrollments for each distributed-generation class each program year. For the first program year, the board may recommend that either two (2) or three (3) enrollments be conducted.
(b) During each program year, the tariff enrollments shall have both an annual targeted amount of nameplate megawatts ("annual MW target") and a nameplate megawatt target for each separate enrollment event ("enrollment MW target"). The enrollment MW target shall comprise the specific portion of the annual MW target sought to be obtained in that enrollment. The enrollment MW targets shall be recommended by the board each year, subject to commission approval. The board shall also recommend a megawatt target for each class ("class MW target") that comprises a specified portion of the enrollment MW target, subject to commission approval. If the electric-distribution company, the office, and the board mutually agree, they may reallocate megawatts during an enrollment from one class to another without commission approval if there is an over-subscription in one class and an under-subscription in another, provided that the annual MW target is not being exceeded, except as provided in § 39-26.6-7.
(c) The annual MW targets shall be established as follows; provided, however, that at least three megawatts (3 MW) of nameplate capacity shall be carved out exclusively for small-scale solar projects in each of the first four (4) program years:
(1) For the first program year (2015), the annual MW target shall be twenty-five (25) nameplate megawatts;
(2) For the second program year, the annual targets shall be forty (40) nameplate megawatts;
(3) For the third and fourth program years, the annual target shall be forty (40) nameplate megawatts, subject to the conditions set forth in subsection (f) of this section having been met for the applicable prior program year as determined in the manner specified in subsection (g) of this section;
(4) For the fifth program year, the annual target shall be set to obtain the balance of capacity needed to achieve one hundred sixty (160) nameplate megawatts within the five-year (5) distributed-generation growth program, subject to subsection (e) of this section and the conditions set forth in subsection (f) of this section having been met for the fourth program year as determined in the manner specified in subsection (g) of this section; and
(5) From the year 2020 through the year 2029, the annual target for each program year shall be an additional forty (40) nameplate megawatts above the annual target for the preceding program year.
(d) During the fifth year of the distributed-generation growth program, the board may recommend to the commission an extension of time in the event that additional time is required to achieve the full one hundred sixty (160) nameplate megawatt target of the program. The commission shall approve the recommendation of the board; provided, however, that the commission may make any modifications to the board's recommendation that the commission deems appropriate, consistent with the legislative purposes of this chapter as set forth herein.
(e) To the extent there was a shortfall of capacity procured under chapter 26.2 of title 39 from distributed generation procurements in 2014, such shortfall amount may be added to the one hundred sixty megawatt (160MW) target for acquisition in the fifth program year under this chapter. In no event shall the electric-distribution company be required to exceed the aggregate amount of one hundred sixty (160) nameplate capacity plus any such shortfall amount over the five (5) years, but may do so voluntarily, in consultation with the board and subject to commission approval.
(f) The conditions specified in subsections (c)(3) and (c)(4) of this section are as follows: (1) That it is reasonable to conclude that the bid prices submitted in the procurements for the large-scale solar and commercial-scale solar classes were reasonably competitive in the immediately preceding program year; (2) That it is reasonable to conclude that the annual MW target specified for the next program year is reasonably achievable; and (3) That the electric-distribution company was able to, or with reasonably prudent efforts should have been able to, perform the studies and system upgrades on a timely basis necessary to accommodate the number of applications associated with the targets without materially adversely affecting other electric-distribution construction projects needed to provide reliable and safe electric-distribution service. To the extent the board or the commission concludes that any of these conditions have not been met for the applicable program year, the board may recommend, and/or the commission may adopt, a new annual MW target, based on the factors set forth in subsection (h) of this section.
(g) Before the third, fourth, and fifth program years, each year the board shall review the conditions specified in subsection (f) of this section and make a recommendation to the commission for findings as to whether they have been met for the applicable year. The recommendation shall be filed with the commission, with copies to the office and the electric-distribution company, and any person who has made a written request to the commission to be included in such notification, such list which may be obtained from the commission clerk, and a notice of such filing shall be posted by the commission on its website. If no party files an objection to the recommended findings within ten (10) business days of the posting, the commission may accept them without hearings. If an objection is filed with a reasonable explanation for its basis, the commission shall hold hearings and make the factual determination of whether the conditions have been met.
(h) In the event that the conditions in subsection (f) of this section have not been met for any program year, then the board and the commission shall take into account the factors set forth below in setting the annual MW target for the following year. In addition, for every program year the board and the commission shall take into account these factors in setting the class MW targets, and the enrollment MW targets for the following year: (1) That the new annual, class, and enrollment levels reasonably assure that competition among projects for the applicable bidding classifications remains robust and likely to yield reasonable and competitive program costs; (2) That, assuming prudent management of the program, the electric-distribution company should be able to perform the studies and system upgrades on a timely basis necessary to accommodate the number of applications associated with the targets without materially adversely affecting other electric-distribution construction projects needed to provide reliable and safe electric-distribution service; and (3) Any other reasonable factors that are consistent with the legislative purpose of this chapter as set forth herein, including the program purpose to facilitate the development of renewable distributed generation in the load zone of the electric-distribution company at reasonable cost.
(i) The renewable energy growth program is intended to achieve at least an aggregate amount of one hundred sixty (160) nameplate megawatts over five (5) years, plus any shortfall amount added in pursuant to subsection (e) of this section. However, after the second program year, the board may, based on market data and other information available to it, including pricing received during previous program years, recommend changes to the annual target for any program year above or below the specified targets in subsection (c) of this section if the board concludes that market conditions are likely to produce favorably low or unfavorably high target pricing during the upcoming program year, provided that the recommendation may not result in the five-year (5), one hundred sixty megawatt (160MW) nameplate target, plus any shortfall added pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, being exceeded. Any megawatt reduction in an annual target shall be added to the target in the fifth year of the program (and any subsequent years if necessary) such that the overall program target of one hundred sixty megawatt (160MW) nameplate capacity, plus any shortfall added pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, is achieved. In considering such issues, the board and the commission may take into account the reasonableness of current pricing and its impact on all electric distribution customers and the legislative purpose of this chapter as set forth herein, including the program purpose to facilitate the development of renewable distributed generation in the load zone of the electric-distribution company at reasonable cost.
(j) The provisions of § 39-26.1-4 shall apply to the annual value of performance-based incentives (actual payments plus the value of net-metering credits, as applicable) provided by the electric-distribution company to all the distributed-generation projects under this chapter, subject to the following conditions:
(1) The targets set for the applicable program year for the applicable project classifications were met or, if not met, such failure was due to factors beyond the reasonable control of the electric-distribution company;
(2) The electric-distribution company has processed applications for service and completed interconnections in a timely and prudent manner for the projects under this chapter, taking into account factors within the electric-distribution company's reasonable control. The commission is authorized to establish more specific performance standards to implement the provisions of this chapter; and
(3) The incentive shall be one and three-quarters percent (1.75%) of the annual value of performance-based incentives. The commission is authorized to establish more specific performance standards to implement the provisions of this paragraph.
(P.L. 2014, ch. 200, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 216, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 17, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 56, § 1.)