After months of additional work, the California Public Utilities Commission on a 3-0 vote revived a decision from last March that limited to 25 percent the use of out-of-state unbundled renewable energy credits for meeting California\u2019s renewable energy mandate. \u201cWe\u2019ve gone round and round,\u201d said Mike Peevey, CPUC president. The disputed decision puts to rest--for the time being--the magnitude of the role renewable energy credits can play in satisfying utilities\u2019 renewable mandate. Peevey noted that the issue\u2019s \u201clong and torturous history\u201d had morphed into a \u201cproxy fight\u201d over in-state non-fossil energy development versus alternative energy imports. \u201cThe real problem has its roots in Sacramento,\u201d added Nancy Ryan. She emphasized the 25 percent tradable renewable energy credit limitation only applies to the 20 percent alternative power law applicable to utilities and independent providers of retail energy. The decision approved this week does not apply to the 33 percent renewable energy standard approved by the California Air Resources Board, according to Ryan. The Air Board adopted the standard after state legislation attempting to raise the renewables bar failed last year. Utilities won\u2019t sign contracts for more than the renewable energy credit limit approved by regulators because they could be denied cost recovery for those deals, according to a renewable energy advocate. The Jan. 13 ruling applies to what are known as \u201cREC only\u201d versus \u201cbundled transactions\u201d that do not separate out the renewable attribute of a solar or wind project. The parsing of those definitions and what constitutes bona fide power delivery into California has been intensely debated. Consumer advocates and proponents of in-state renewable energy say that the one-fifth renewable portfolio standard law is aimed at bolstering California-based renewable development. Generally, utilities and out-of-state renewable stakeholders insist alternative energy imports shouldn\u2019t be restricted because they drive down the price of green energy. Either way, greenhouse gases are reduced. PG&E was \u201cencouraged by the CPUC\u2019s action\u201d but it had concerns about unresolved issues, stated Cindy Pollack, PG&E spokesperson. The utility hopes regulators act quickly to \u201caddress outstanding issues in this proceeding and will closely monitor how limits on the procurement of out-of-state resources, when combined with development challenges in California, affect our ability to reach the RPS goals.\u201d The decision \u201cignores the [Independent Power Producers\u2019] concerns about delays resulting from Commerce Clause litigation and continues to discriminate against comparably situated out-of-state renewable resources,\u201d warned Jan Smutny-Jones, IEP executive director. Shortly after the CPUC\u2019s tradable renewable energy credit March 2010 ruling was approved, it was suspended because of vigorous opposition from then-Governor Schwarzenegger\u2019s administration. The former governor wanted unrestricted use of credits representing the green attribute of alternative energy projects. Subsequently, five commission proposals were put forward that would have allowed up to 40 percent of the renewable mandate to be met with imported renewable energy credits. In addition to this week\u2019s action\u2019s 25 percent limit on renewable credits on utility and energy service providers annual renewable procurement mandate, the revived decision by Peevey also caps the price investor-owned utilities pay for renewable energy credits at $50 until the end of 2013. That $50 price cap was given an additional two-year life this week. However, it does not apply to energy service providers\u2019 renewable obligations. Peevey reasoned that the non-utility provider world is subject to \u201ccompetition\u201d and \u201cthe ability to change providers,\u201d unlike investor-owned utility \u201cmonopoly providers.\u201d The trio of regulators, which included commissioner Tim Simon, also approved a framework for energy service providers\u2019 20 percent renewable procurement plans as required by SB 695.