D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser hosted a press conference yesterday to sign the Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion Act of 2016. As enacted, B21-0560 raises the renewable portfolio and solar requirements to 50% and 5% by the year 2032, respectively, and adds waste heat from combined and sanitary sewage systems and effluence from wastewater treatment to the list of Tier 1 renewable sources. In addition, the bill increases financial penalties for electricity suppliers who fail to comply with the annual renewable energy portfolio standard requirements. This financial penalty is known as the Alternative Compliance Payment, or ACP. Finally, the bill establishes a program within the Department of Energy and the Environment to assist low-income homeowners with installing solar systems on their homes.
Councilmember Cheh introduced the bill earlier this year, and the Council unanimously passed the bill in late June. The expanded RPS not only increases access to clean energy for D.C. residents, but establishes a long-term pipeline for green jobs and businesses by raising demand for Tier 1 RECs and SRECs. The increased demand will incentivize the continued growth of D.C.’s solar industry, which has grown by 170% over the last year. The chart below summarizes the new RPS and Solar Carve-out schedule by requirement year.
The total RPS requirement must be met by Tier 1 Renewable Sources, which includes the new sources added by the Expansion Act. In 2032 and thereafter, the District’s RPS will be set at 50% with a 5% solar carve-out. Please note that, although the SACP Schedule is changing for the 2017+ years from the current schedule, the RPS schedule for years 2017-2023 is unchanged under the Expansion Act. It is not until years 2024 and onward that the RPS requirements are changed by this new law.
Mayor Bowser is confident that the RPS Expansion Act will enable the District’s diverse populations to benefit from solar in a meaningful way. Speaking at her press conference, she said that the District “…will serve 100,000 low-income households by 2032—that’s more than 6,000 homes per year, and we’ll reduce their electricity bills by 50%, as a result. We’ll be creating at least 100 green jobs in the first year with that number growing every year through 2032. That means reducing carbon emissions, lowering residents’ energy bills, and providing pathways to the middle class through the burgeoning marketplace of clean energy – all at the same time.”
The newly signed legislation is slated to become effective after the Congressional review period.