DEEP: Final Study of Renewable Energy Portfolio Recommends Revisions to Achieve Goal of Cheaper, Cleaner, and More Reliable Power

April 26, 2013
 
Final Study of Renewable Energy Portfolio Recommends Revisions to Achieve Goal of Cheaper, Cleaner, and More Reliable Power
 
Final study reflects comments submitted on initial draft
 
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today issued its final study of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) –  which recommends steps to ensure that renewable resources supply an increasing share of Connecticut’s electricity in a manner consistent with Governor Malloy’s commitment to bringing cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable power to the families and businesses of our state.
 
The study is available at www.ct.gov/deep/RPS
 
“This study proposes a strategic and thoughtful approach that allows us to reap many benefits from increasing the availability of renewable power,” said DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty. 
 
“These benefits include diversifying our power supply to increase reliability, cutting greenhouse gases to combat climate change, reducing other air emissions to improve public health, and supporting local renewable projects that bring jobs and revenue to Connecticut’s economy,” Commissioner Esty said.  “The study also recommends strategies to accomplish these goals while holding down costs for families and businesses that all have to pay monthly electric bills.” 
 
DEEP was directed to prepare the study under Public Act 11-80. 
 
DEEP issued a draft RPS study on March 18 and opened a 30-day public comment during which it invited interested parties to submit written comments.  During the comment period, DEEP held a technical meeting April 4 to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to present oral comments and pose questions to DEEP staff.  DEEP also held a public hearing April 11, to give stakeholders and the public further opportunity to provide oral comments on the draft.  DEEP received more than 75 comments on the draft study – comments that are analyzed in the final document and that were considered in the development of the recommendations it contains. 
 
“We gave careful consideration to all comments on the draft study – and the input we received from the comment period, the technical meeting, and the public hearing led to some key changes from the draft to the final version,” said Commissioner Esty.  “These refinements help guarantee the integrity of our commitment to clean energy under the RPS and would set us on a path toward meeting Connecticut’s clean energy goals in the most effective and cost efficient manner.”

Key Recommendations in the Final RPS Study
  • Gradually phase out incentives under the RPS for biomass and landfill gas facilities to create opportunities for cleaner sources, such as wind, solar, and other leading edge renewable energy projects.
  • Expand the eligibility requirements for Class I to include anaerobic digesters, biologically-derived methane, and small-scale hydro projects that meet requirements to protect river flows.
  • Authorize the state to procure long-term contracts for low-cost Class I renewable power and large-scale hydropower, with the possibility to coordinate procurement with other states in the region.
  • Allow the state to procure power from large-scale hydro facilities, and provide a flexible mechanism that would allow limited increments of large-scale hydro to fill the Class I RPS requirements only in the event of a verified shortage of existing Class I renewable supply.
  • Discontinue subsidies under the RPS for utility-administered conservation and load management programs that are already ratepayer funded, to remedy a current oversupply in the Class III market.
  • Refund “Alternative Compliance Payments” paid as a result of a shortfall of renewable energy supply to ratepayers to offset the costs of programs that support in-state renewables, such as the ZREC (Zero- Emissions Renewable Energy Credit) and LREC (Low-Emissions Renewable Energy Credit) programs and Project 150.