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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Renewables Portfolio Goal   

Last DSIRE Review: 09/09/2014
Program Overview:
State: Utah
Incentive Type: Renewables Portfolio Standard
Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Demand-Side Management Measures
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, Municipal Solid Waste, CHP/Cogeneration, Hydrogen, Coal Mine Methane, Compressed Air Energy Storage, Anaerobic Digestion, Small Hydroelectric, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy, Ocean Thermal
Applicable Sectors: Municipal Utility, Investor-Owned Utility, Rural Electric Cooperative
Standard:Goal: 20% of adjusted retail sales by 2025
Technology Minimum:No
Credit Trading:Yes (tracking system TBD)
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Utah Code 54-17-101 et seq.
Authority 2:
Date Enacted:
Utah Code 10-19-101 et seq.

Utah enacted The Energy Resource and Carbon Emission Reduction Initiative (S.B. 202) in March 2008. While this law contains some provisions similar to those found in renewable portfolio standards (RPSs) adopted by other states, certain other provisions in S.B. 202 indicate that this law is more accurately described as a renewable portfolio goal (RPG). Specifically, the law requires that utilities only need to pursue renewable energy to the extent that it is "cost-effective" to do so. The guidelines for determining the cost-effectiveness of acquiring an energy source include an assessment of whether acquisition of the resource will result in the delivery of electricity at the lowest reasonable cost, as well as an assessment of long-term and short-term impacts, risks, reliability, financial impacts on the affected utility, and other factors determined by the Utah Public Service Commission (PSC).

Under S.B. 202 -- to the extent that it is cost-effective to do so -- investor-owned utilities, municipal utilities and cooperative utilities must use eligible renewables to account for 20% of their 2025 adjusted retail electric sales. Adjusted retail sales include the total kilowatt-hours (kWh) of retail electric sales reduced by the kWh attributable to nuclear power plants, demand-side management measures, and fossil fuel power plants that sequester their carbon emissions. For example, if a utility has electric sales of 100 million megawatt-hours (MWh) in 2025, and 10 million MWh was produced at a nuclear plant, the utility would need to produce 20% of 90 million MWh from renewable energy sources to be in compliance.

While RPSs adopted by most states include interim targets that increase over time, Utah's goal has no interim targets. The first compliance year is 2025 (although utilities must file progress reports on January 1 of 2010, 2015, 2020 and 2024). Progress reports must indicate the actual and projected amount of qualifying electricity the utility has acquired, the source of the electricity, an estimate of the cost for the utility to achieve their target, and any recommendations for a legislative or program change.

Renewable Energy Certificates
Utilities may meet their targets by producing electricity with an eligible form of renewable energy or by purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs). SB 99, enacted in March of 2009 granted authority to the PSC to develop or approve a system to track RECs. The legislation specifically referenced the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS) as an acceptable trading platform. To date the PSC has not adopted a system to track RECs.

Eligible Technologies
For the purposes of the law, eligible renewables include electric generation facilities that became operational after January 1, 1995, and produce electricity from solar; wind; biomass (under certain conditions); hydroelectric (under certain conditions); wave, tidal or ocean-thermal energy; geothermal; or waste gas and waste heat. Solar-thermal installations can also count towards the goal with no limit, and their contribution is determined by assessing the amount of fossil fuel consumption they displace. HB 192 of 2010 added methane gas from an abandoned coal mine and methane gas from a coal degassing operation associated with a state-approved mine permit as eligible technologies. Additionally, HB 228 added municipal solid waste as an eligible technology. A third bill signed in 2010, SB 104, added compressed air energy storage as an eligible technology if the electricity used to compress the air was produced using a renewable energy resource, or if an equivalent number of RECs were purchased. Electricity may be produced within the state, or within the geographic boundary of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council. Notably, each kWh of electricity produced using solar energy counts as 2.4 kWh for the purposes of meeting the goal.

  Denise Beaudoin Brems
Office of Energy Development
60 East South Temple Street, Suite 300
PO Box 144845
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
Phone: (801) 538-8718
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.