In 2005, the Vermont General Assembly established the SPEED program to encourage the development of renewable energy resources in Vermont, as well as the purchase of renewable power by the State’s electric distribution utilities. On May 27, 2009 Act 45, the Vermont Energy Act of 2009 (“the Act”) became law. A number of the provisions of the Act significantly modify the SPEED program. The prices to be paid to developers under the Standard Offer are dependent on the renewable technology employed and are cost-based. Vermont’s Standard Offer program is designed to encourage the development of SPEED resources using a variety of different renewable technologies. The Act establishes default prices for the standard offer for different technologies, calculated to allow developers of renewable power purchased through the SPEED program to recover their costs plus a return on their investment.
The Vermont Public Service Board (“the Board”) was tasked with reviewing and/or resetting the default prices presumptively established in the Act. Additionally, between June and September the Board had to determine the mechanisms required to implement the Standard Offer Program. To accomplish these tasks the Board opened an uncontested Docket (Docket #7523) and held workshops over the summer of 2009 in order to get input from interested participants. The activities and results of these workshops are summarized in the Board’s website for Docket # 7523.
On September 15, 2009 the Board issued its Interim Price Order under Docket 7523. The Interim Price Order contains the conclusions of the Board regarding whether or not the statutorily-defined default prices for qualifying SPEED resources, constitute a reasonable approximation of the price that would be paid applying the criteria established by the Act. In the Interim Price Order the Board concludes:
“….. we determine that, with the exception of farm methane resources, for which we establish a higher interim price, the default prices established by statute are a reasonable approximation of the price that would be paid for renewable resources when applying the criteria established by the Act.” “These determinations apply during the first few months of the program and will likely change following the more detailed determinations due on January 15, 2010.”
For the interim prices contained in the September 15, 2010 Interim Price Order refer to the Standard Offer Rates page.
On September 30, 2009, The Board issued a major order in Docket #7533, “Order Establishing a Standard-Offer Program for Qualifying SPEED Resources”. This Order lays the foundation for how the Standard Offer Program will develop in the next several years with respect to such things as the “queue”, “ceilings” in the queue, project milestones, administrative fees and deposits, provision for cost data and duties of the SPEED Facilitator. Attached to this order was the approved standard contract; “Vermont SPEED Standard Offer Purchase Power Agreement”. This contract will govern the long term sale of power from developers under the SPEED Standard Offer program.
On October 16, 2009, the Board issued an order in Docket #7533, "OrderRe: Implementation Issues". This is an important order for people applying to get into the queue. Please review this order prior to making application. The order addresses utility projects and the queue, description of the project in the Standard Offer Contract, definition of "Plant", payment for metering, scope of data collection from projects, definition of "Other Products", rating of project capacity,allocation of Facilitator costs,status of utility PPAs, tranferability of queue position, sharing of costs and benefits of utility projects, elegibility for queue position, and utility payment of deposits. Additionally, the Board made very minor changes to the Standard Offer contract to incorporate issues addressed in this order.