December 7, 2017

Illinois Power Agency Finalizes New Renewables Procurement Rules

The Illinois Power Agency this week filed a final version of its Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan, building on an October draft of the proposal.

The plan considers how the agency will run programs and procurements to obtain renewable energy credits for Illinois utilities' renewable portfolio standard obligations, as well as how to run the low-income focused Illinois Solar for All program.

The plan implements measures in the Future Energy Jobs Act that was passed by the state legislature last year. The Illinois Commerce Commission has 120 days to approve or modify the plan.

While much of the Future Energy Jobs Act was focused on provisions aimed at supporting two struggling Exelon nuclear plants, the law also included measures to address deficiencies in the state’s renewable portfolio standard. Regulators will now approve or reject the new rules, which cover new procurements and programs administered by the Illinois Power Agency.

The comprehensive energy law did not change the RPS itself. It still required investor-owned utilities and alternative retail electric suppliers (ARES) to source 25% of retail electricity sales from renewable energy by 2025. But the RPS compliance obligations placed on alternative suppliers now phase out after the 2018-2019 delivery year.

The new rules also describe how the Illinois Power Agency will administer the Illinois Solar for All Program, separate from the Adjustable Block Program that applies to community solar and distributed generation solar facilities up to 2,000 kW. Changes between the programs include a different set of incentives, additional requirements to be an Illinois Solar for All Approved Vendor, Illinois Solar for All specific contracts, and considerations to ensure community involvement.

The final rules specify the terms of the Illinois Adjustable Block Program would also apply to the administration of, and contracts entered into, for the Illinois Solar for All Program. But there is an exception: the Low‐Income Community Solar Pilot Projects, which do not participate in the Adjustable Block Program, and which the Illinois Power Agency proposes to fund solely through the Renewable Energy Resources Fund and administer through a competitive procurement process.

The Future Energy Jobs Act took effect on June 1, 2017.

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