It's all about the RECs (renewable energy certificates) and FERC is about to steal all of
them (NMPRC rule 572.13.c.1.b; NMPRC case 05-00352-UT). I was at the Science, Tech, and
Telecom Committee yesterday (Monday, June 7, 2010; State Capital) and Dr. Daniel Fine from
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology told the committee that Federal Law would
preempt State Law in regards to renewable energy, and that the "revenue" was going towards
deficit reduction. Existing [pv net-metered] participants would get an upfront check to satisfy
existing contracts. He seemed to imply that these events would occur before the end of
It would seem to be confirmed: RECs will soon become just an energy tax, not a currency.
Investors will not be able to harvest RECs for their own investment interest; only the
utility and the government will be buying and selling RECs. The rest of us will simply pay
On Thursday, June 03, 2010, at the Re-Energize America conference held in Las Cruces, New
Mexico I asked the following question to Matt Rogers (Senior Advisor to the Secretary of
Energy for the Recovery Act):
"Do you believe that third party ownership of commercial scale PV grid-tie systems in
conjunction with open market trading of decoupled renewable energy certificates will drive
electricity prices below current wholesale prices?"
Matt Rogers answered: "yes"
The fantastic picture I am describing is this: An investor (from a cold, dark state) pays
to put a solar array on the rooftop of a local New Mexico business (lots of sun). He gives
the electricity to the business at discount (ppa; approaching FREE over time) and sells the
RECs on an open auction. Lots of similar investors do the same, and soon the price of
electricity falls for all. The state's economic development department now says to prospects:
bring your company to New Mexico, we have cheap/free electricity. The effects are far greater
if the owner of the generator owns the RECs. Current open market REC prices appear to be
above 30 cents/kWh in the Northeast http://www.srectrade.com/auctionhistory.php.
...but kiss that all goodbye. FERC is about to steal ALL the RECs and the only benefit you
might receive is through a power purchase agreement whereby you fix your electric rate for
a period of years, but have NO possibility of harvesting/benefiting from the RECs. Now, no
economic growth potential exists, no investment-return, and the small renewable energy business
owner soon becomes extinct; for it will only be through the utility company and the government
(PACE) that you will purchase and install solar arrays (or wind turbines). Remember, RECs are
a currency if the owner of the generator owns the RECs (572.13.c.1.a); RECs are a tax if the utility
or government owns the RECs (NMPRC 572.13.c.1.b; PRC 05-00352-UT).
"Renewable Energy Certificates" implies asset and ownership.
"Renewable Energy Credit" implies you have no ownership nor control of its value.