FERC Issues Ruling on the Ownership of Renewable Energy Certificates

December 03, 2003

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruled on October 1 that utilities do not automatically own renewable energy certificates for power generated by qualifying facilities under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). The issue is important because many small-scale generators that operate on renewable resources sell power to the local distribution utility as a qualifying facility. The market for certificates has surfaced as an important premium for renewable power generators in recent years.

In its order, FERC declared that: "While a state may decide that a sale of power at wholesale automatically transfers ownership of the state-created certificates, that requirement must find its authority in state law, not PURPA." The order was issued in response to a petition filed by several owners and operators of waste-to-energy plants. See the story on EERE's Green Power Network.