June 2, 2013

Connecticut State House of Reps Passes Renewable Energy Bill

The state House of Representatives approved a bill to revise Connecticut’s renewable energy standards, but not before amending the Senate-passed bill to make it tougher for the state to procure energy from large-scale hydropower sources to meet those standards.

The May 28 vote, which was approved by a wide margin with 112 votes in favor and 33 against, sends the bill – An Act Concerning Connecticut’s Clean Energy Goals – back to the state Senate for the two versions to be reconciled.

Both versions of the bill seek to modernize the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which is aimed at encouraging the development of new renewable power projects and a greater reliance on renewable energy sources.

Under the current law, utilities are required to buy a certain percentage of the electricity they supply from renewable sources.

The Senate version of the bill was passed in early May and proposed to broaden the definition of Class I renewable resources that could count toward utilities’ RPS obligations while reducing the amount of biomass-generated energy that would be eligible.

Recognizing that there is a limited capacity of renewable power sources in Connecticut, the Senate proposed to allow the state to count some electricity procured from large-scale hydropower sources – which are not Class I resources – to count toward utilities’ RPS obligations.

However, the House amendment would require the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to first look  into establishing long-term contracts with other Class I sources before counting hydropower toward the state’s RPS requirement.

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