FERC Tries to Undercut Renewable Energy – Again

WASHINGTON - The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted today on a series of changes that threaten to undercut small wind, solar and other clean energy sources. The decision could lead to more pollution by propping up fossil fuel power plants.

The following is statement from Tom Rutigliano, an advocate in the Sustainable FERC Project, which is housed at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council):

“This order runs counter to the purpose of the law. Instead of promoting small, clean generation, FERC is undercutting the ability of solar and wind power to get a fair chance to compete.

“Homeowners putting solar panels on their roof, farmers leasing their land to wind turbines, and industrial facilities with efficient on-site power all lose under FERC’s rule today.

“FERC is pushing the nation to use more fossil fuels just when it should be doing everything it can to support clean power. FERC did one thing right today in rejecting the outrageous petition that would have upended the ability of rooftop solar owners to get a fair price for the excess electricity they generate."


For forty years the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act has helped grow clean power. Congress wrote PURPA to guarantee small wind, solar, and other clean power sources get a fair chance to compete by requiring utilities buy energy from them at a fair price. It also prohibits utilities from creating administrative barriers that block small, clean power installations from competing.

Among other things, the rules FERC adopted today make it easier for utilities to refuse to buy power from renewable generators, lower the price clean-energy sources get paid and remove the guarantee that small clean power plants can connect to the power grid.

This order attacking small-scale clean energy follows FERC’s Minimum Offer Price Rule from last year, which would push many large-scale renewable power plants out of capacity markets.

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NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​