Maine utility regulators have introduced the outcomes of the state’s largest renewables procurement thus far, with photo voltaic builders coming away with the vast majority of profitable bids.

Photo voltaic will account for about 482 megawatts of the 546 megawatts of tasks authorized Tuesday by the Maine Public Utilities Fee. Maine now has about 90 megawatts of photo voltaic put in, placing it within the backside ten states in response to rankings from Wooden Mackenzie and the Photo voltaic Vitality Industries Affiliation. However the state is slated so as to add greater than 800 megawatts in coming years.

The 17 tasks okayed this week additionally embody onshore wind, hydro and biomass. They have been the primary to get the go-ahead after Maine elevated its renewable portfolio normal to 80 p.c by 2030 in a set of local weather and clear power legal guidelines signed final 12 months. Maine additionally set a aim of 100 p.c renewable power by 2050.

The state already will get 80 p.c of its electrical energy from renewables, in response to 2019 knowledge from U.S. Vitality Info Administration. However hydropower and biomass dominate that complete. The RPS laws that Governor Janet Mills signed in 2019 — whereas standing in entrance of a photo voltaic set up — requires the state to rely extra closely on new renewable sources and mandates the general public utility fee conduct yearly aggressive solicitations for brand spanking new tasks with long-term contracts.

Photo voltaic builders centered on tasks in New England and the Mid-Atlantic, together with New York’s Walden Renewables and Glenvale Photo voltaic, secured most of the profitable undertaking bids for the primary of these solicitations. Boston-based Swift Present Vitality will develop the most important single photo voltaic undertaking within the group, at 100 megawatts. Irish developer BNRG Renewables will work on two installations with native developer Dirigo Photo voltaic, half of a bigger suite of tasks the 2 are constructing collectively within the state.

Common profitable contract charges have been three.5 cents per kilowatt hour, in response to reporting from the Portland Press Herald. That value is aggressive with incumbent energy within the area, Maine PUC Chair Philip Bartlett II informed the newspaper. 

Along with growing the state’s RPS, final 12 months’s local weather and clear power laws supplied incentives for a minimum of 375 megawatts of latest distributed era — anticipated to be largely photo voltaic — and created a local weather council charged with main initiatives on drawing down Maine’s greenhouse fuel emissions 80 p.c under 1990 ranges by mid-century.

The laws additionally reinstated net-metering, a change from the gross metering coverage established in 2016 below earlier Governor Paul LePage. That coverage had added bills for photo voltaic clients by reqiuiring a second meter to measure all energy produced by a rooftop set up, whether or not consumed onsite or not, and paying a decrease than retail price for photo voltaic era. 

Since Mills took workplace, distributed photo voltaic has already seen a major enhance in Maine, with greater than 1.5 gigawatts getting into the state’s interconnection queue. Outcomes of the current request for proposal point out that very same glow is deciding on large-scale tasks.

Regulators are set to contemplate one other tranche of undertaking proposals this winter. Commissioners should choose sufficient tasks so as to add as much as 14 p.c of Maine’s complete electrical energy demand in 2018.  

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