21 Jan Dynamic Energy Participates in New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Stakeholders Meeting
Dynamic Energy urged the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) last Friday to give solar investors certainty regarding the incentives projects will receive as the BPU closes out the state’s current Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program. Dynamic Energy Sr. Vice President of Legal, Tony Orr, delivered oral comments to BPU staff at a January 18 stakeholder meeting on the BPU straw proposal published December 26, 2018. For a solar project to qualify for existing SREC incentives, the straw proposal would require the project to both file its SREC Registration Program (SRP) registration and start commercial operation before the date the state attains 5.1% of its electricity from solar. Projects that do not meet these criteria would be pushed into an as-yet undefined transitional or successor incentive program. Under the straw proposal, project developers and owners would not know which incentive would apply until after the project was completely built and energized.
Orr told BPU staff and stakeholders that this would halt most solar development in New Jersey for a year or more. Without definitively knowing what incentives apply, and therefore the project cash flows, lenders and other financiers will not underwrite projects, Orr noted. Furthermore, investors will not put assets at risk when they have no way of determining the likely returns.
“With just over 10 years left to meet the Governor’s commitment to 50% Class I renewables by 2030,” Orr cautioned, “the state cannot afford to lose 1-2 years of solar development and construction due to avoidable regulatory uncertainty.”
Dynamic Energy urged BPU to quickly set a specific date by which any project with an SRP registration would be grandfathered into the existing SREC program. This would provide developers with enough certainty, Orr said, to allow current projects to continue. Many other stakeholders echoed this request and joined Dynamic Energy in recommending the Massachusetts SREC II transition as a better model for handling closure of the New Jersey SREC.
“The Commonwealth [of Massachusetts] conducted an orderly, transparent transition by defining a date certain by which projects with an interconnection agreement and program approval would be included in the SREC program,” Orr said, “The result was nearly uninterrupted development of new solar resources across the transition from one incentive to the next, culminating in the successful SMART program.”
BPU will hold two more stakeholder meetings on the straw proposal in February.