Louisiana PUC Orders Limited Feed-in Tariff

The Louisiana Public Utility Commission (PUC) has ordered utilities in the state to implement an undifferentiated feed-in tariff for a limited contract term of five years.

Most feed-in tariff contracts worldwide are for terms of 20 years or longer. Spanish contracts are for 25 years with extensions at a reduced payment for even longer. Feed-in tariff contracts for hydro generation in Ontario are for 40 years.

Louisiana’s extremely short contract term may make the proposal moot as it will be nearly impossible to finance projects for such short periods at the low tariffs offered.

Of interest is the approach used to define the tariff, avoided cost plus a premium to represent the environmental attributes. The environmental benefits are valued at $0.03 per kWh.

Another novel element is passing the costs on to ratepayers through the fuel adjustment clause, an approach normally used for increases in the cost of fossil fuels.

In this case, the PUC’s “standard offer tariff” is truly a standard offer as the tariff is undifferentiated by size, technology, or resource intensity.

At the end of the five-year period, the tariff reverts to avoided cost.

Below is summary of the feed-in tariff’s key elements.

  • Avoided cost plus $0.03 per kWh
  • Limited by ceiling and floor prices
    • Floor price: $0.06 per kWh
    • Ceiling price: $0.12 per kWh
  • Contract term: 5 years
  • Program cap: 30 MW per utility
  • Cost recovery through fuel adjustment charge
  • Project size limit: 5 MW
  • Minimum project size: 25 kW

Utilities may avoid offering any standard offer contracts by building three renewable energy projects themselves. Each of the three projects can be no more than 300 kW. One project of the three can be up to 5 MW in size.

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