• Renewable Auction Mechanism (RAM)

  • Background

    The Renewable Auction Mechanism (RAM) is a market-based mechanism for the procurement, or purchase, of renewable distributed generation projects under 20 megawatts (MW) on the system side of the meter. RAM is intended to promote competition for renewable resources and lower ratepayer costs.

    In December 2010, the CPUC approved the RAM (Decision 10-12-048), specifying the program as the preferred procurement mechanism for renewable energy projects under 20 MWs. The investor-owned utilities closed their first auction on November 15, 2011.

  • DRA's Policy Position

    DRA supports the adoption of RAM since it should spur the development of smaller-scale, cost-effective renewable energy projects in the near-term and at the local distribution level. In particular, DRA envisions that the RAM program will encourage distribution-level renewable projects that reduce the need for more costly transmission projects. 

    DRA also recommends modifications to improve the program's effectiveness and protect ratepayers:

    • Provide more details on treatment of contracts in excess of the auction limit.
    • Reduce the number of auctions during the first year.
    • Limit program eligibility to projects within California.
    • Require an independent evaluator to evaluate the program.
    • Count only excess sales toward the program capacity limit.
    • Ensure maximum transparency in the RAM.

    See DRA's comments on the proposed decision filed September 27, 2010.

  • Current Proceeding

    The CPUC approved a resolution on August 18, 2011 ordering the IOUs to close the first auction by November 15, 2011 and the second auction by May 31, 2012.

    See the proceeding docket