Renewable Auction Mechanism Good or Bad?

The Renewable Auction Mechanism, or RAM, is a simplified and market-based procurement mechanism for renewable distributed generation (DG) projects up to 20 MW on the system side of the meter.  The Commission adopted RAM as the primary procurement tool for system-side renewable DG because it will promote competition, elicit the lowest costs for ratepayers, encourage the development of resources that can utilize existing transmission and distribution infrastructure, and contribute to RPS goals in the near term.

To begin the program, the Commission authorized the utilities to procure 1,000 megawatts through RAM. Going forward, the capacity authorization will reflect each utility’s need for system-side DG under 20 MW.

RAM is a unique program because it streamlines the procurement process for developers, utilities, and regulators. It allows bidders to set their own price, provides a simple standard contract for each utility, and allows all projects to be submitted to the CPUC through an expedited regulatory review process.
A detailed summary of the program can be found in Appendix A of the RAM Decision (D.10-12-048)