Comment Period Open Now on Draft Rules
After four months of stakeholder meetings and discussions, the Oregon Department of Energy will host a public hearing on proposed administrative rules for calculating and processing renewable energy certificates for thermal energy produced from biomass. The hearing will feature draft rules developed in response to a 2016 law that allows biomass-based thermal energy to count toward the state’s renewable portfolio standard.
Renewable Energy Certificates, or RECs, are used by utilities and other electricity generators to comply with Oregon’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. The standard calls for an increasing portion of the state’s energy production to come from renewable power, with a mandate of 50 percent renewable energy resources from Oregon’s largest utilities by 2040.
RECs are produced from a number of renewable energy resources, including wind and solar. In 2016, the Oregon Legislature approved legislation that allows certificates to be earned when biomass-based electricity production also produces thermal energy used for a secondary purpose – for example, when heat from an industrial process is used to drive a biological process, such as anaerobic digestion of animal waste or to dry dimensional lumber.
Rebecca Smith, ODOE senior policy analyst, has overseen the effort to incorporate thermal energy in the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard rules. “This new pathway for earning T-RECs helps Oregon further diversify our renewable resources mix while creating opportunities for industries across the state.” She added, “Expanding the RPS to include thermal energy will help Oregon’s forestry, biomass, landfill, and wastewater industries continue to find innovative uses for waste heat.”
The draft rules, published in early October, are the product of meetings and discussions held with stakeholders over the past summer. Few other states in the country have adopted thermal renewable energy credits, so ODOE set up a rulemaking process that incorporated extensive front-end discussions and deliberations. At the same time, the agency wanted to act quickly so that entities affected by the March 2016 law could begin earning credits. ODOE is responsible for certifying eligible renewable energy resources under the state’s RPS.
Public comment is encouraged on the draft rules. Following the November 2 meeting, the agency will review all comments received, finalize rules, and file with the Office of the Secretary of State.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Oregon Department of Energy
Westerberg Conference Room
625 Marion Street NE
Salem, OR 97301