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The Delaware Green Energy Program began in 1999 when the General Assembly deregulated Delaware’s electric utilities (26 Del.C. Ch. 10). In 1999, the General Assembly created a Green Energy Fund (29 Del.C. § 8057) and required Delmarva Power to fund it using contributions from Delmarva Power customers. The program, and energy assistance programs, have grown since then.
The Delaware Energy Office and the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) were initially responsible for management of the program. The program is for only Delmarva Power customers, because legislation required only Delmarva Power customers to contribute to the fund. Contributions to the Delmarva Power customer fund were and still are collected each month from electric bills. Customers are assessed a charge for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) purchased from Delmarva Power. The exact charge is $0.000356 per kWh. From 1999 to 2005 the only Green Energy Program in the State of Delaware was the State Green Energy Program for Delmarva customers.
Over its life, Delmarva’s Green Energy Program has provided grant funding to homeowners, local businesses, fire departments, churches, and farmers for more than 4,300 renewable energy projects installed in Delaware. Green Energy Program funds are collected through a public benefits fund charge that is collected monthly by Delaware’s electricity providers. The program has awarded over $55 million for renewable energy projects installed in Delaware since 1999.
In 2005, the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Act (26 Del.C. § 351 – § 364) required all utilities, including investor-owned utilities, municipal utilities, and rural electric cooperatives, to get an increasing percentage of their electricity from renewable resources. Municipal utilities and rural electric cooperative were given the opportunity to exclude themselves from part of the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards requirements if they established a voluntary green power program and created their own version of the Green Energy Fund.
The Delaware Electric Cooperative (DEC) and Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation (DEMEC), which represents the nine municipal utilities, chose to create their own individual green energy programs using the same collection method as Delmarva Power. The state completes technical review of grant applications on behalf of DEMEC and DEC. However, grant payments and program regulations are under the full authority of DEMEC and DEC.
The State does not issue any grant payments for the DEMEC or DEC programs. The state also does not set incentive levels or program rules for these programs. The DEC calls their program the “Renewable Resource Program” and DEMEC’s program is called the “Municipal Green Energy Program.”