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An Act Relating To Utilities; Allowing Renewable Energy Certificates To Be Issued For The Generation And Use Of Thermal Energy Produced By Renewable Energy Resources; Defining "useful Thermal Energy"; Requiring An Additional Renewable Energy Certificate To Be Issued Per Unit Of Energy Produced From Forest-related Biomass Material.

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Legislative URL:
SB 204 on
Emergency Clause:
[2] SCONC/SCORC-SCONC [14] DP-SCORC [23] DP/a [44] fl/aa- PASSED/S (28-10) [53] HENRC API.

Related Legislators

Bill Sponsor:

Related Documents

SCONC Committee Report
SCORC Committee Report
Fiscal Impact Report

This bill amends two sections of each of the Renewable Energy Act and the Rural Electric Cooperatives Act with the same amendments, specifically the the sections setting forth the duties of the Public Regulation Commission with respect to renewable energy certificates (RECs) and the sections setting forth definitions for the two acts.


The bill deletes the current definition of “biomass resources” and replaces it with a lengthy definition that lists the types of organic material included in several categories: forest-related materials; agricultural-related materials; animal waste; solid woody waste materials; crops and trees planted for the purpose of being used to produce energy; landfill gas, wastewater treatment gas and biosolids; and, segregated municipal solid waste, excluding tires and medical and hazardous waste. It specifically excludes electric energy generated by use of fossil fuel or nuclear energy.


This measure also adds a definition for “useful thermal energy” which means:

  • “renewable energy delivered from a source that can be metered” and
  • “that is delivered in the state to a commercial scale or public sector end user in the form of direct heat, steam, hot water or other thermal form that is used for heating, cooling, humidity control, process use or other valid end-use energy requirements and for which fossil fuel or electricity would otherwise be consumed.”


The bill establishes the kilowatt-hour value of renewable energy produced from “thermal energy” and “biomass that uses the majority of its feedstock from forest-related material.” The kilowatt-hour value of thermal energy is valued at 3,412 BTUs of useful thermal energy. The kilowatt-hour value of energy produced from biomass that uses the majority of its feedstock from forest-related material receives an additional REC per unit of energy above the normal allocation.


SCORC amended the bill on February 25, 2013 to make two changes:

  • It qualifies the circumstance in which using biomass would generate double the normal amount of renewable energy certificates to those situations in which the renewable energy from biomass is produced by an electric generation facility with a capacity rating of 10MW or less or a thermal energy facility with a rating of 5MW or less.
  • It also amends the definition of “useful thermal energy” so that it must be delivered to a commercial scale residential geothermal or public sector end user.

A concern with the bill is that it might dilute the renewable energy portfolio standard by doubling the renewable energy certificates given for biomass generation. An additional concern might be that it may favor biomass use over other forms of renewable energy production, even though biomass is not the cleanest of renewable energy options. The amendment may partially address those concerns. A benefit of the amendment may that it could reduce the impact of the double-weighting set forth in the original bill, but a concern may be that it still might still encourage the use of biomass.


Date of Summary:  1/23/2013, Updated 2/26/2013