The Energy Policy Act of 2005: Purpa Reform, the Amendments and Their Implications

By Hornstein, Michael D.; Stoermer, J. S. Gebhart | Energy Law Journal, January 1, 2006 | Go to article overview

The Energy Policy Act of 2005: Purpa Reform, the Amendments and Their Implications


Hornstein, Michael D., Stoermer, J. S. Gebhart, Energy Law Journal


I. INTRODUCTION

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005)1 introduced sweeping changes to nearly every sector of the energy industry, including the electricity sector. One of the more significant provisions of EPAct 2005 is the amendment of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA or the Act).2 Enacted during the Carter administration as one of five major energy bills consolidated into "the National Energy Act," PURPA sought to promote energy efficiency and encourage the use of alternative fuels to lessen the nation's dependence on foreign oil.3

This article addresses one of the main aspects of PURPA, codified at section 210 of the Act, which, together with the implementing regulations promulgated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the FERC or the Commission), established a class of generators known as "qualifying facilities" (QFs) and provided them certain benefits and exemptions in order to encourage their development. Although each of the other components of the National Energy Act has been repealed, and PURPA section 210 has been the subject of repeal efforts,4 PURPA continues in effect as amended by EPAct 2005. This article describes the statutory and regulatory framework established under section 210 of PURPA and the FERC's implementing regulations, as well as the changes to that framework effected by the provisions of EPAct 2005 and regulations recently issued by the Commission implementing some of those provisions. This article also examines potential implications of PURPA reforms initiated by EPAct 2005.

II. BACKGROUND AND HISTORY

A. The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978

The National Energy Act, including PURPA, embodied the Carter administration's response to the energy crises of the 1970s, most notably the Middle East oil embargo of 1973-74 and a second oil "shock" in 1977.5 Following those events, the administration and Congress sought to create a statutory framework to facilitate the diversification of America's energy supplies and to reduce the nation's dependence on imported oil, among other objectives. Congress intended PURPA to foster energy efficiency in an environmentally friendly manner by establishing incentives for the development of cogeneration facilities and small-scale renewable power projects.6 PURPA's incentives included the creation of markets for the power produced by these facilities and the exemption of the facilities from most state and federal utility regulation.

1. Qualifying Facilities

PURPA and the Commission's implementing regulations established the standards for the certification of a cogeneration facility or small power production facility as a "qualifying facility" entitled to the incentives and exemptions under the Act. The standards for QF certification cover the types and performance of facilities eligible for certification, as well as limitations on their ownership by electric utilities and electric utility holding companies. Although EPAct 2005 substantially modifies or eliminates the original standards developed by the FERC for QF status, many of the original standards will continue to apply to existing QFs, and are therefore described in this section and in the following section.7

Facility-Related Conditions. PURPA delegated to the FERC responsibility to develop rules for the eligibility for QF status of small power production facilities and cogeneration facilities.8 Under the FERC's regulations in effect on August 8, 2005, when EPAct 2005 became law (the FERC's original QF regulations), a small power production facility was "qualifying" if it satisfied the QF ownership requirements, described in the next section, and if (1) its primary energy source (i.e., at least 75% of its energy input) was from biomass, waste, renewable resources, geothermal resources, or any combination of the foregoing;9 and (2) its total net power production capacity, together with any other facilities at the same site, was not greater than 80 megawatts10 or it was an "eligible solar, wind, waste or geothermal facility" of any size. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Energy Policy Act of 2005: Purpa Reform, the Amendments and Their Implications
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.