2016 South Carolina Code of Laws
Title 58 - Public Utilities, Services and Carriers
CHAPTER 39 - SOUTH CAROLINA DISTRIBUTED ENERGY RESOURCE PROGRAM
Section 58-39-130. Distributed energy resource program.

SC Code § 58-39-130 (2016) What's This?

The purpose of this section is to establish the "distributed energy resource program" for this State. To accomplish the goals of this chapter:

(A) An electrical utility may apply to the Public Service Commission for approval to participate in the distributed energy resource program. After conducting a hearing on the application, the commission may approve such application if the applicant demonstrates that the program will further the goals of this chapter as set forth in Section 58-39-110.

(1) The application shall, at a minimum, include the following information:

(a) a statement of the specific goals to be addressed by the program and the benefits to be achieved from its implementation;

(b) a description of the principal elements of the program and a statement of the benefits to be achieved from the implementation of each of those elements;

(c) a description of the electrical utility's planned actions to implement the program and the anticipated timing of those actions;

(d) where relevant, the locational benefits and costs of proposed distributed energy resources proposed to be located on the distribution and transmission system, including, but not limited to, reductions or increases in local generation capacity needs, and avoided or increased investments in distribution infrastructure;

(e) any proposed customer programs and changes in tariffs, or other mechanisms that support the prudent, efficient, and reliable deployment of cost-effective distributed energy resources and the goals of the distributed energy resource program as defined in Section 58-39-110, including, but not limited to, programs intended to support access to distributed energy resources for tax-exempt entities;

(f) additional utility expenditures necessary to integrate cost-effective distributed energy resources into distribution and transmission planning;

(g) where relevant, a description and evaluation of any barriers to the deployment of distributed energy resources as envisioned in the plan, including, but not limited to, safety standards related to technology or operation of the distribution circuit in a manner that ensures reliable service;

(h) a schedule of the projected incremental costs anticipated to implement the electrical utility's distributed energy resource program for each year of the subject period; and

(i) an estimate of costs to be incurred pursuant to the distributed energy resource program as defined in Section 58-39-130 and an estimate of those costs to be recovered pursuant to Sections 58-27-865 and 58-39-140 to fully recover the projected costs of the program.

(2) Upon approval of its application, an electrical utility shall be permitted to recover its costs related to the approved distributed energy resource program pursuant to Sections 58-27-865 and 58-39-140 to the extent those costs are reasonably and prudently incurred to implement an approved program. Approval of a program, measure, or investment shall constitute a finding by the commission that it is just, reasonable, and prudent for the utility to implement the program, measure or investment as approved until such time as the commission orders otherwise.

(3) The Office of Regulatory Staff, an electrical utility, or any other interested party may file a petition for amendment of a distributed energy resource program at any time. The commission may hold a hearing on such petition if it determines that the extent of the proposed changes warrant a hearing. The petition for amendment shall include the information set forth in Section 58-39-130(A)(1) to the extent that such information is relevant to the amendments proposed.

(4) The effect of a decision to amend or terminate an approved distributed energy resource program, investment, or measure shall be prospective only and costs incurred prior to that decision shall be recoverable.

(5) An electrical utility may invest in distributed energy resources or programs outside of an approved distributed energy resource program under this chapter. The utility may seek recovery of the costs associated with such programs and resources under the ratemaking principles and procedures generally applicable to electrical utilities outside of this chapter. The fact that such resources are not part of an approved distributed energy resource program shall create no negative inference concerning their recoverability under other ratemaking provisions.

(6) An electrical utility may file an application to participate in a distributed energy resource program at any time.

(B) An electrical utility may implement a distributed energy resource program by one or more of the following:

(1) investment in distributed energy resources located in South Carolina as defined in Section 58-39-120;

(2) purchase of power from renewable energy facilities located in South Carolina;

(3) investment in technologies necessary to mitigate the effects of variable renewable energy generation through provision of ancillary services, including, but not limited to, reserves, voltage control, and reactive power in South Carolina; and

(4) investment in technologies that enhance load management including, but not limited to, electric vehicle charging and energy storage.

(C) Any distributed energy resource program proposed by an electrical utility shall, at a minimum, result in development by 2021 of renewable energy facilities located in South Carolina in an aggregated amount of installed nameplate generation capacity equal to at least two percent of the previous five-year average of the electrical utility's South Carolina retail peak demand. All investments and procurements proposed by an electrical utility under its program shall be reviewed by the commission before the program is implemented to determine whether the investments or procurements are reasonable and prudent in light of the nature of the resources to be acquired, the goals of the utility's distributed energy resources program and alternatives available in the market. In the proposed distributed energy resource program, the electrical utility shall:

(1) submit a plan to invest in or procure power from renewable energy facilities located in South Carolina, each with a nameplate capacity that is greater than one thousand kilowatts (1,000 kW AC) but no greater than ten thousand kilowatts (10,000 kW AC) in an aggregated amount of installed nameplate generation capacity equal to one percent of the electrical utility's previous five-year average of the electrical utility's South Carolina retail peak demand.

(2) establish a program, to be implemented no later than one year from the initial approval of a distributed energy resource program, to encourage customers of the electrical utility to purchase or lease renewable energy facilities, each no greater than one thousand kilowatts (1,000 kW AC) in nameplate capacity in an aggregated amount of installed nameplate generation capacity equal to one percent of the electrical utility's previous five-year average of the electrical utility's South Carolina retail peak demand with no less than twenty-five percent of the capacity being from renewable energy facilities each no greater than twenty kilowatts (20 kW AC) in nameplate capacity. Said program shall be implemented according to the following options:

(a) an incentive to encourage residential customers of the electrical utility to purchase or lease renewable energy facilities in order to become an eligible customer-generator, as defined in Section 58-40-10.

(b) an incentive to encourage customers of the electrical utility to purchase or lease renewable energy facilities, each no greater than one thousand kilowatts (1000 kW AC) in nameplate capacity, which are intended primarily to offset part or all of an electrical utility customer's own electrical energy requirements.

(3) establish a program, to be implemented no later than one year from the initial approval of a distributed energy resource program, to support access to distributed energy resources for South Carolina entities holding tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code and governmental entities and instrumentalities.

(D) Upon satisfaction of the minimum aggregate generation capacity targets specified in subsection (C), the electrical utility may invest in renewable energy facilities located in South Carolina, each with a nameplate capacity that is less than ten thousand kilowatts (10,000 kW AC) and greater than one thousand kilowatts (1,000 kW AC), with a cumulative installed nameplate generation capacity equal to one percent of the previous five-year average of the electrical utility's South Carolina retail peak demand.

(E) If the application of the provisions of this chapter to any wholesale electrical contract executed on or before the effective date of this act is determined to impair unlawfully any term of such contract or to add material costs to either party, then that contract will be exempt from the terms of this chapter to the extent necessary to cure such impairment or to avoid the imposition of additional material costs.

HISTORY: 2014 Act No. 236 (S.1189), Section 2, eff June 2, 2014.

Editor's Note

2014 Act No. 236, Section 9, provides as follows:

"SECTION 9. If the application of the provisions of this act to any wholesale electrical contract existing on the date of its adoption is determined to impair unlawfully any term of such contract or to add material costs to either party, then that contract will be exempt from the terms of this act to the extent necessary to cure such impairment or to avoid the imposition of additional material costs."

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