PURPA Updated to include link to Decision
Here is the link to the decision.
Arizona has had a long-standing policy to support PURPA. Several years ago, the incumbent utilities decided that they would not offer PURPA contracts that exceeded 2 years. In 2016 they filed an application at the ACC in order to get approval of this policy. The ACC didn't hear the case and the incumbents continued to implement it anyway.
A company called "1.2 GW LLC" wanted longer contracts pushed for a hearing on the case and this week the ACC rule that the utilities had to offer contract length of at least 18 years. The vote was unanimous and enthusiastic--in fact, the company had requested 15 years and the ACC bumped it up to 18.
There is naturally much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the incumbent utilities. However, no one is sure exactly how this will affect the market. The ACC made it clear that they want additional investment in renewables and they want to expand the IRP process to ensure that companies have an opportunity to make additional investments.
If there is one take away from the meeting, I would say that the ACC believes that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". They are looking for alternatives to APS. In his opening statement on the billing issue, Chairman Burns once again pushed for retail competition. He believes that the current regulatory model is broken and is looking for alternatives. I believe that the Commissioners viewed the PURPA docket as an opportunity to create another avenue for the "other than APS" options.
In order to get a contract, a QF will, of course, still have to meet the other PURPA hurdles, including of course avoided cost. The final order isn't out yet, but I will upload it once the ACC issues it. Here is additional coverage from Utility Dive.