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California improves renewable energy incentive programme

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has improved and streamlined its Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) for renewable and green energy, including modifying the eligibility criteria and incentive amounts and payment structures.

By Kari Williamson

Eligibility will, for example, now be based on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions, and include renewable and green energy technologies such as wind turbines, fuel cells, organic rankine cycle/waste heat capture, pressure reduction turbines, advanced energy storage, and combined heat and power gas turbines, micro-turbines, and internal combustion engines, CPUC says.

Participants will receive up-front and performance-based incentives. The incentives, however, will only apply to the portion of the renewable and green energy generation that serves a project’s on-site electric load.

CPUC President Michael R. Peeveysays: “[The] decision represents a team effort between the California Air Resources Board and the CPUC as we strive to reach goals of achieving 33% renewable energy by 2020 and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. It is wise to look at renewable energy not only as a means to reduce the need for construction of additional power plants but also a means to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”

Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon adds: “[The] decision will further incentivise and advance the development of small-scale generators in California while integrating the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The decision has identified several proactive steps that demonstrate high priority and promote small generators.”

The changes will only apply to new projects – existing renewable and green energy projects will continue to receive the incentives they did before the changes were introduced.

The changes also sees the extension of the SGIP from January 2012, to January 2016.

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