Maine RPS satisfied by mostly biomass power in 2015

By Anna Simet | April 21, 2017

The Maine Public Utilities released its annual report on state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirements last month, which indicates that in 2015, the vast majority of renewable power used to meet the mandate was derived from biomass power facilities.

Renewable energy credits (RECs) from 30 facilities were used by suppliers to comply with the 2015 new renewable resource, or Class 1, requirement. Of them, 20 facilities were biomass, four were hydro, three were wind and one was landfill gas. Of the 30 facilities, 25 are located in Maine, two in New York, and one in each Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont.

Of the approximately 891,757 RECs purchased to meet the 2015 portfolio requirement, according to the PUC, 99 percent came from facilities in Maine.

The cost to ratepayers of Maine’s new renewable RPS was estimated by the cost of compliance by suppliers, primarily through their purchase of RECs. For calendar year 2015, over 73 percent of the Class 1 RPS requirement was satisfied through the purchase of RECs during that year. The cost of RECs used for compliance ranged from approximately $2 per megawatt-hour (MWh) to $42.50 per MWh, with an average cost of $13.16 per MWh and a total cost of about $11.7 million, translating into a ratepayer cost of about one-tenth of a cent per kWh, 55 cents per month or about 1 percent for a typical residential customer, according to the report. The average cost for medium commercial users was about $50 per month for a 50,000 kWh per month user; and $500 per month for a large commercial/industrial customer that uses 500,000 kWh per month.

The report concludes that in 2015, Maine’s electricity suppliers complied with the state’s RPS requirements.