Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Staff filed initial comments (pdf required) in the case in which FirstEnergy is seeking to lower its 2010 in-state solar requirement under the state's renewable portfolio standard. In its "force majeure" application filed in January, FirstEnergy argues that, despite its best efforts to comply, there were not enough in-state solar renewable energy credits ("SRECs") available for purchase. FirstEnergy is requesting that the Commission lower its 2010 in-state solar requirement to the 112 out of 3,206 required SRECs it was able to purchase.

In its comments, PUCO Staff concludes that FirstEnergy did not provide enough information in its force majeure application to determine whether the utility fully explored all available options to meet the state's renewable requirements. Specifically, Staff notes that while FirstEnery discussed its efforts to comply through short-term REC purchases, it is not clear whether FirstEnergy "fully considered such options as (a) entering into long-term contracts for RECs and/or (b) constructing new in-state solar generating capacity." Staff wants more information on FirstEnergy's efforts, if any, in those areas. Staff would also like FirstEnergy to discuss how its 2010 solar shortfall could be incorporated into the REC RFPs that are the subject of the application currently pending before the Commission in Case No. 10-2891-EL-ACP.