Oregon adopts value of solar after two-year investigation

Oregon’s Public Utilities Commision (OPUC) recently approved the outline utilities will use to determine the resource value of solar (RVOS) in the state, ending the first phase of a two-year investigation about how to value solar resources in the state.

The next critical deadline in the docket is Nov. 30, when the state’s three major utilities – Portland General Electric, PacifiCorp and Idaho Power – to submit proposals containing initial RVOS calculations to the OPUC, creating separate dockets for each utility.

In the order, the OPUC discussed the 11 elements that the utilities will consider in making its RVOS calculations.

The first six – energy, generation capacity, transmission and distribution capacity, line losses, administration and integration  – will be determined using data from existing avoided-cost studies. The OPUC is requiring the utilities to provide detailed descriptions for the first five elements and to use existing data for to calculate integration costs.

OPUC separated ancillary services, which in earlier drafts of the framework had been grouped with integration, into a separate element called “grid services.” The proposals will also include “hedge values” and “market prices responses”. Those values will be calculated after the OPUC staff holds workshops on the process for utilities.

In the initial utility filings, the final two elements – renewable portfolio standard (RPS) compliance and “grid services” – will be valued at zero, with actual values to be added at a later date. Values of smart inverters and solar-plus-storage systems will also be determined later after discussion with solar stakeholders.
The final ruling establishing utility RVOS is expected in July 2018.