SPC seeks “net metering” experts for implementation of small renewable energy projects

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
July 15, 2017
Federated States of Micronesia—The Secretariat of the Pacific Community has a Request for Quotation for experts to help FSM States to either implement existing legislation or to develop new legislation for “net metering”. “Net Metering” is a system in which solar panels or other renewable energy generators are connected to a public-utility power grid and surplus power is transferred onto the grid, allowing customers to offset the cost of power drawn from the utility.
Several years ago, the Pohnpei Legislature passed laws allowing for a net metering plan but according to the SPC Request for Quotation, Pohnpei Utilities Corporation has been unable to implement it which has hampered any significant investment in small-scale renewable energy systems. It says that PUC has not been in a position to implement the net metering act due to lack of policies. It also says that no financial mechanisms to assist the general public to embark on grid-connected small scale renewable energy systems exist.

SPC says that the number of customers has increased over the past year particularly in the residential sector. Because of this they estimate that 2400 customers still do not have access to pre-payment meters. They say that across the FSM there are 12,016 power utility customers with 53 percent of them in Pohnpei.
“It is with anticipation that this term of reference will outline the necessary processes so as to propose a net metering bill to the other three states and amend or develop policies so as to have these net metering legislation implemented,” the SPC request for quotation says.
“FSM’s current total capacity (conventional) is about 12.1MW. Based on current activities installed renewable energy capacity is 1.9MW as at December 2014. The recent(ly) concluded ADB technical assistance on strengthening of the legal framework and investment plans has recommended 6MW of renewable energy for Pohnpei and 2.5MW for Chuuk. This is in addition to the already approved 1.5MW for Yap. Further, for Kosrae a 1.65MW is envisaged. These add-up to 13.55MW for the FSM, which is equivalent to about 2.71MW net of renewable energy or 70% of the renewable energy target”, it says.
“Key partners in the project will be the FSM Development Bank, state power utilities and state governments. At the FSM Development Bank a scheme will be developed to assist the general public access small-scale grid connected RE technologies – this will compliment an existing bank programme on Home Energy Loan Programme (HELP)” the quotation request says.
Respondents to the request for quotation will need to have their bid proposals in to SPC by August 31 and deliverables under any contract awarded are to be completed by November 30, 2017.
The assignment entails the following key tasks:
1. Consultation with the four states (government departments, power utilities and other key partners) on the proposed net metering bill – including workshops at each state
2. Situation analysis of all relevant policies at the states that would be affected by the proposed net metering bill
3. Draft the proposed net metering bill noting that these are to be tailored to the requirements of each state
4. For Pohnpei state, assess the barriers to the implementation of the current Net Metering Act and develop strategies and where practical address any policy amendments and development to the removal of these barriers
5. As required, provide advice to the respective states so as to assist the enacting of the net metering bills