This bill addresses an issue related to the renewable energy standard (RES) law enacted in 2007. The bill addresses how federal hydropower will be treated under the RES. The power cannot be treated as renewable power because it is produced by a facility of greater than 100 megawatt capacity and, by definition under the RES law, power from such a facility is not renewable power. That is not the issue addressed by the bill. The issue is whether the sales of this federal power should be included in a utility's sales for the purpose of determining whether a utility has met its renewable energy mandate. If the power is included, the utility will have to provide more renewable power. At the time the bill passed, it was thought that the power would not be included in sales because it was thought that the power was sold directly to distribution utilities, which would have excluded the power from the RES. However, it turned out that some distribution utilities did not receive the power directly but rather received it through a generation and transmission entity. The Public Utilities Commission held that in instances where the distribution utility did not receive the power directly and where it was pooled or aggregated with other power received from a generation and transmission utility, the sales of this federal hydropower had to be included in total retail electric sales for the purpose of the RES. As stated previously, this has the effect of increasing the amount of renewable energy that must be sold to comply with the RES.
Section 1 amends the definition of "total retail electric sales" in the renewable energy standard law to exclude hydropower supplied by federal agencies regardless of whether the power is provided directly to the distribution utility by the federal agency or pooled or allocated with other power.