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Stranded Electricity
How electricity became “stranded”
Under ORS 469A.130, “the State Department of Energy shall establish a system of renewable energy certificates that can be used by an electric utility or electricity service supplier to establish compliance with” the Oregon Renewable Portfolio Standard. The Department has accomplished this central requirement through its affiliation with and reliance on the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS).
WREGIS is an independent, renewable energy tracking system for the region covered by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC). WREGIS tracks renewable energy generation from energy-producing facilities that register in the system using verifiable data.  WREGIS then creates renewable energy certificates (RECs) for this generation. WREGIS certificates can be used to verify compliance with state and provincial regulatory requirements (Oregon Renewable Portfolio Standards, for example) and in voluntary market programs.
WREGIS is the only system available currently to create and guarantee unique RECs for the Oregon RPS. However, WREGIS was not always available for Oregon-eligible renewable energy generation. There is a gap between the first generation eligibility date under ORS (January 1, 2007) and WREGIS system availability (fall 2007). The generation that occurred during this gap is termed “stranded electricity” or “stranded generation.”
Accounting for stranded electricity
The Department defined stranded electricity in Oregon Administrative Rule 330-160-0015:
(12) “Stranded electricity” means qualifying electricity that:
(a) was generated between January 1, 2007 and the effective date of these rules by a generating unit that was registered in WREGIS on or before the effective date of these rules and;
(b) is not associated with a WREGIS-issued renewable energy certificate and;
(c) was reported to the Department on or before March 11, 2011.
Rather than establish an alternate or interim tracking system (see OAR 330-160-0030(4)), the Department arranged for WREGIS to create RECs retroactively for stranded electricity. Uploaded electricity includes the early 2007 period of generation as well as early test generation and generation from hydropower efficiency upgrades. Under this arrangement, all RECs created through this process must be exclusively used for Oregon RPS compliance.
Converting stranded electricity to RECs
Several stakeholders (utilities, generators, and REC and power marketers) provided stranded electricity to the Department by the March 11, 2011 deadline. From this data set, the Department partnered with all submitting entities to provide verification and to clarify resulting discrepancies of any stranded electricity. In June, external audits were performed to ensure that the data does not conflict with tracking systems. In November, the Center for Resource Solutions completed its review of the stranded generation RECs against voluntary market transactions and found no instances of double counting. Read the CRS report.
In July, WREGIS uploaded the data to its system, restoring previously stranded electricity into compliance-eligible RECs. This activity effectively completed the Department’s responsibility under its OAR, and its process obligations under WREGIS Process Change Request (PCR) 192.