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US renewable energy credit prices chop around; Md. solar markets settle down

Solar and nonsolar renewable energy credits at the U.S. over-the-counter markets were mixed heading into mid-December.

Following a spate of buying interest, Maryland SREC markets took a breather of sorts and were aimed in divergent directions during the week ended Dec. 12. Reporting year 2019 SRECs in the state were priced at $79.17/MWh, down more than 15 cents on the week, while reporting year 2020 SRECs came in at $79.33/MWh, up 6 cents.

Maryland SREC prices faltered briefly this summer after having soared into the $70s/MWh at the end of May and into June as legislation to hike the state's renewable portfolio standard, which would increase demand, was passed. The bill sets a mandate of 50% renewable generation by 2030.

The RPS bill, due to the solar carve-out and offshore wind target, is expected to help increase in-state renewable generation substantially in a state that has historically met its requirements via out-of-state REC purchases.

Ohio SREC markets were flat to lower during the week ended Dec. 12. Ohio 2019 in-state SRECs eased 25 cents to an index at $8.06/MWh, while the 2020 market was firm at an average of $6.88/MWh.

Ohio SREC prices plunged over the summer due to the passage of legislation to do away with the state's solar carve-out beginning in 2020. Previously, in early 2018, Ohio SREC prices had surged alongside a rally in the neighboring Pennsylvania market since certain solar projects in Ohio were still allowed to sell SRECs into Pennsylvania. At their peak, Pennsylvania SREC values spiked about 200% in early 2018 due to a potential increase in the state's solar requirements and worries over tightening supply.

At the end of 2017, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law H.B. 118, which closed the state's border and limited new solar supply within the state. Previously, Pennsylvania had allowed SRECs to be generated by a source anywhere within the PJM Interconnection region. However, this led to an overabundance of supply that weighed on SREC values.

Ohio located 2019 and 2020 REC markets, meantime, climbed during the week ended Dec. 12, posting averages at $7.50/MWh and $6.79/MWh, respectively, up 52 cents and 31 cents on the week.

New Jersey SREC prices stumbled again during the review period. Energy year 2020 SRECs were assessed at an index of $231.17/MWh, losing $1.25 in value from the week prior.

New Jersey class I RECs advanced, with vintage 2020 class I's pegged at $9.32/MWh, increasing 69 cents week over week.

A bill was introduced Dec. 5 in New Jersey that would allow the Board of Public Utilities, or BPU, to increase the cost of class I RECs for energy years 2022 through 2024 above the current limit of 7% of the total paid for electricity by all customers in the state under specific conditions. The board could only make this increase if the cost of the class I REC requirement is less than 9% of total energy costs during energy years 2019 through 2021.

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