In March 2007, North Dakota enacted legislation (H.B. 1506) establishing an objective that 10% of all retail electricity sold in the state be obtained from renewable energy and recycled energy by 2015. The objective must be measured by qualifying megawatt-hours (MWh) delivered at retail, or by credits purchased and retired to offset non-qualifying retail sales. This objective is voluntary; there is no penalty or sanction for a retail provider of electricity that fails to meet the objective. Municipal utilities and electric cooperatives that receive wholesale electricity through a municipal power agency or generation and transmission cooperative may aggregate their renewable and recycled energy objective resources to meet the objective.
Eligible resources include electricity produced by solar, wind, biomass, hydropower, geothermal, hydrogen derived from another eligible resource, and recycled energy systems that generate electricity from currently unused waste heat resulting from combustion or other processes and that do not use an additional combustion process. (The term "recycled energy system" does not include waste heat captured from any system designed primarily to generate electricity unless the generation system consumes wellhead gas that would otherwise be flared, vented or wasted.) Hydropower facilities must have an in-service date of January 1, 2007, or later, or must qualify as new hydropower generation obtained from re-powering or efficiency improvements to facilities existing on August 1, 2007.*
In order to qualify for renewable electricity and recycled energy objective credits, a generating source must meet the requirements of the North Dakota Public Service Commission’s (PSC) rules for tracking, recording and verifying renewable energy certificates (RECs). RECs do not need to be acquired from an in-state facility. There are special conditions regarding RECs associated with hydropower facilities. Electricity generation applied to the renewable energy and recycled energy objective, as well as certificate purchases and certificate retirements, must be independently verified through the Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System (M-RETS).
Cost Mitigation Measures
Before using new renewable and recycled energy after August 1, 2007 to meet the objective, each retail provider or its generation supplier was required to make an economic evaluation to determine if the use of new renewable and recycled energy would be cost-effective, considering other electricity alternatives. After evaluating the renewable and recycled energy objective and economic evaluation, the retail provider or its generation supplier may use the electricity alternative that best meets its resource or customer needs.
Public Service Commission (PSC) Reports
Beginning June 30, 2009, each retail provider must report to the PSC annually on the provider’s previous calendar year’s energy sales. This report must include (1) information regarding qualifying electricity delivered and renewable energy and recycled energy certificates purchased and retired as a percentage of annual retail sales and (2) a brief narrative report that describes steps taken to meet the objective over time and identifies any challenges or barriers encountered in meeting the objective. Electric cooperatives may aggregate their reporting through generation and transmission cooperatives. Municipal utilities may aggregate their reporting through a municipal power agency. The PSC may require a specific format and details for reporting. The reports are available on the PSC case search web site. In 2017, SB 2313 extended this reporting requirement beyond the compliance year of 2016.
* When calculating the amount of electricity necessary to meet the objective, a utility may deduct from its baseline of total retail sales the proportion of electricity obtained from hydroelectric facilities with an in-service date before January 1, 2007.