Renewable Energy Certificates

2020 legislation enacted by the Virginia General Assembly changed Virginia’s previous voluntary Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard ("RPS") program to a mandatory one. That change is codified in § 56-585.5 ("RPS Statute") of the Code of Virginia. Please note that Virginia-eligible RECs are identified in Subsection C of this statute for two, distinct periods: (i) 2021-2024, and (ii) 2025 and thereafter.

The Commission issued an Order Revising Business Rules on September 30, 2021, concerning the registration and retirement of Virginia-eligible renewable energy certificates ("RECs") in the PJM-EIS Generation Attribute Tracking System ("GATS"). At that time, the Commission updated PJM's GATS Business Rules for Virginia RECs to reflect the categories of eligible generation sources for Virginia-qualified RECs in 2021-2024.

As set out in Subsection C of § 56-585.5, during the period 2021-2024, eligible generation sources for Virginia-qualifying RECs must be located either in Virginia, or within the PJM region. Additionally, these generation sources must meet the definition of “renewable energy” as provided in § 56-576 of the Code and abide with certain other criteria as provided. Eligible generation sources for Virginia-qualifying RECs during the period 2025 and thereafter are also described in Subsection C, expected to be addressed by the Commission at a later time.

Staff Note: Currently, all VA-eligible RECs are handled through the PJM-EIS GATS process. There is currently no separate REC market for any distinct renewable energy source such as solar RECs nor a distinct state certification process in Virginia. All RECs are tracked via PJM GATS (www.pjm-eis.com or gatsadmin@pjm-eis.com).

The latest revisions to GATS business rules applicable to Virginia were approved by the Commission on 9/30/21, in Case No. PUR-2021-00064 to reflect the VCEA. GATS will assign a Virginia specific certificate number to each REC generated and registered with GATS. Such RECs are retired once an entity purchases it to use towards a utility’s RPS target. There will be a designation for Virginia-based RECs that come from facilities less than 3 MWs and Dominion and APCo will be able to purchase such RECs through GATS.

Owners of small installations (i.e.: residential) may agree to utilize the SRECs produced by a renewable energy source and sell into the PJM REC market via an aggregator. A list of such aggregators registered with PJM GATS as doing business in Virginia may be found at: https://gats.pjm-eis.com/gats2/PublicReports/AggregatorBroker.

Historical References:

2020 - Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA)

The 2020 Acts of Assembly — Chapter 1193, known as the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), among other things, adopts a mandatory RPS program for certain I0Us in Code § 56-585.5 (RPS Statute), enacted as part of the VCEA.

  • Summary of VCEA legislation's RPS Statute:
    • As set out in Subsection C of § 56-585.5, during the period 2021-2024, eligible generation sources for Virginia-qualifying RECs must be located either in Virginia, or within the PJM region. Additionally, these generation sources must meet the definition of “renewable energy” as provided in § 56-576 of the Code. However, Subsection C excludes from REC eligibility during the 2021-2024 period, the following four categories of energy sources or generation facilities: (i) renewable thermal energy (defined in § 56-576), (ii) renewable thermal energy equivalent (also defined in § 56-576), (iii) biomass-fired facilities that are outside the Commonwealth, and (iv) biomass-fired facilities operating in the Commonwealth as of January 1, 2020, that supply 10 percent or more of their annual net electrical generation to the electric grid or more than 15 percent of their annual total useful energy to any entity other than the manufacturing facility to which the generating source is interconnected. Eligible generation sources for Virginia-qualifying RECs during the period 2025 and thereafter are described in Subsection C.

Commission Case Number PUR-2021-00064

2014 Session of the Virginia General Assembly: SB 580, Voluntary Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Program