Proposal to Update Renewable Energy Policy Analyzed
SAN JUAN – The House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee, chaired by Rep. César Hernández, analyzed Senate bill 1666 to provide for the technological modernization of the Net Metering Program, require progress reports from the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) and update public policy on the interconnection of distributed generation systems.
Hernández highlighted the benefits of the measure and said it has very positive aspects, and stressed that the committee would give it its due attention as well as make the changes required to ensure the law fulfills its purpose.
Prepa Executive Director Javier Quintana, who deposed at Monday’s hearing, conditioned his support of the bill if some recommendations were taken into account.
Among these, who would determine the cost of renewable energy certificates, or RECs, which are tradable energy commodities.
“No charges should be imposed on the RECs through legislation. The Energy Commission should be included in the industry’s analysis for it to assess their implementation,” he said.
He also said the legislation should clarify where the meters would be located so they are accessible during the measurement process.
“We need to establish a balance between the industry’s need and the needs of our corporation,” he added.
Quintana said the public power utility doesn’t have a problem with having distributed generation included in the renewable energy portfolio.
Meanwhile, the director of the State Energy Public Policy Office (OEPPE by its Spanish initials), José Maeso, favored the bill’s intentions and said that distributed generation has proven a successful alternative to complement operations, achieve greater efficiency and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
Maeso agreed with Quintana that REC charges should not be established through legislation, and both said Prepa cannot currently finance renewable energy projects.
As an example, they said a proposal for 25,000 homes would cost some $525 million. Maeso warned that such a project, without updating the grid, would be technically problematic.
Meanwhile, Julián Herencia, the executive director of the Renewable Energy Producers Association (APER by its Spanish acronym), supported the intention of enabling the inspection process and eventual interconnection to support Net Metering Program customers.
He added that the delay is costing customers who pay for a system that is installed but not connected, while still paying Prepa for electricity.
Following the testimony, Hernández said he would like to receive recommendations on the bill by Wednesday to draft a report and take it to a vote before June 25, the last day to approve measures in the current session.
He also said renewable energy compliance parameters should not be changed. “These are times of many challenges for the Electric Power Authority, but we have to aspire to more regarding this issue,” he added.
Inter News Service