The world of energy, policy, and regulators can be difficult to understand. Between the alphabet soup of acronyms (IOU, G&T, REC, IRP, the list goes on) and the necessary knowledge of confusing rulings and standards, many people have difficulty following the ins and outs of a vital piece of the American way of life. So when a significant ruling or policy decision is made, such as the Clean Power Plan for example, experts and analysts from around the country take significant time to dissect them. We’re lucky to have people who can bring some lofty talk down to Earth.
Especially when a decision could have significant consequences for the nation’s 905 electric cooperatives and 830 municipal utilities, opening up a 400 GIGAWATT market for clean energy.
The landmark decision comes from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on a petition from a Colorado distribution cooperative against its generation and transmission cooperative (G&T). The distribution co-op in question, Delta-Montrose, argued that the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) allowed for them to buy more locally sourced electricity from independent producers than their contract with their G&T, Tri-State, allowed for. FERC agreed, opening the doors for many co-ops to shift their generating sources away from their G&T.
As G&T’s press distribution co-ops into upwards of 60 year power sourcing contracts, some co-ops may seek other means of energy sourcing allowed by this rule.
For a deep, deep dive check out Rocky Mountain Institute’s analysis of the decision: