PURA: Renewable Portfolio Standards Overview

Connecticut Renewable Portfolio Standard
 
The Connecticut Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is a state policy that requires electric providers to obtain a specified percentage or amount of the energy they generate or sell from renewable sources.
 
This policy creates a financial incentive for development of renewable energy projects by ensuring a market and steady stream of revenue for renewable generators. 
 
Owners of electricity generation projects that qualify as renewable under one of the three classes of Connecticut’s RPS receive one renewable energy certificate (REC) for every megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity they produce. These RECs are tradable commodities that allow the environmental attribute of the renewable energy to be bought and sold separately from the energy commodity itself. A renewable generator can either contract to sell its energy — “bundled” with the accompanying attribute value directly to an electricity provider (usually at a premium above the wholesale electricity price), or it can “unbundle” the REC and the energy and sell them separately in regional wholesale markets.
 
Separate portfolio standards are required for energy sources classified as "Class I," "Class II," or "Class III.
 
Class I renewable energy source, as defined in §16-1(a)(20) of the General Statutes of Connecticut (Conn. Gen. Stat.), means
 
(A) electricity derived from:
  • solar power;
  • wind power;
  • a fuel cell;
  • geothermal;
  • landfill methane gas, anaerobic digestion or other biogas derived from biological sources;
  • thermal electric direct energy conversion from a certified Class I renewable energy source;
  • ocean thermal power;
  • wave or tidal power;
  • low emission advanced renewable energy conversion technologies;
  • a run-of-the-river hydropower facility that began operation after July 1, 2003, and has a generating capacity of not more than 30 megawatts, provided the facility is not based on a new dam or a dam identified as a candidate for removal;
    and,
  • a biomass facility that uses sustainable biomass fuel, as defined in Conn. Gen. Stat. §16-1(a)(39), (cultivated and harvested in a sustainable manner. “Sustainable biomass fuel” does not mean construction and demolition waste, finished biomass products from sawmills, paper mills or stud mills, organic refuse fuel derived separately from municipal solid waste, or biomass from old growth timber stands, except where: (A) such biomass is used in a biomass gasification plant that received funding prior to May 1, 2006, from the Clean Energy Fund established pursuant to section 16-245n, or (B) the energy derived from such biomass is subject to a long-term power purchase contract pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (j) of section 16-244c entered into prior to May 1, 2006) and meets certain emissions requirements.
(B) any electrical generation, including distributed generation (DG), generated from a Class I renewable energy source, provided, on and after January 1, 2014, any megawatt hours that are claimed or counted toward compliance in another province or state, other than Connecticut, shall not be eligible.
 
Class II renewable energy source, as defined in Conn. Gen. Stat §16-1(a)(21), means energy derived from:
  • a trash-to-energy facility;
  • a biomass facility that began operation before July 1, 1998, and meets certain emission requirements;
    and,
  • a run-of-the-river hydropower facility that has a generating capacity of not more than 5 megawatts, does not cause an appreciable change in riverflow and began operation prior to July 1, 2003.
Class III source, as defined in Conn. Gen. Stat. §16-1(a)(38), means:
  • the electricity output from combined heat and power systems with a minimum operating efficiency of 50% that are part of customer-side distributed resources developed at commercial and industrial facilities in Connecticut on or after January 1, 2006;
  • a waste heat recovery systems installed on or after April 1, 2007, that produces electrical or thermal energy by capturing preexisting waste heat or pressure from industrial or commercial processes;
  • the electricity savings from conservation and load management programs that started on or after January 1, 2006 (on and after January 1, 2014, programs supported by ratepayers are not eligible);
    and,
  • any demand-side management project awarded a contract pursuant to §16-243m (eligibility is based on the term of the contract).
Required Annual Renewable Energy Percentages:
 
Year Class I Class II or
Class I (add'l)
Class III   Total
2015 12.5% 3.0% 4.0% 19.5%
2016 14.0% 3.0% 4.0% 21.0%
2017 15.5% 3.0% 4.0% 22.5%
2018 17.0% 3.0% 4.0% 24.0%
2019 19.5% 3.0% 4.0% 26.5%
2020 20.0% 3.0% 4.0% 27.0%
 
 
Procedure to Receive Certification as a Renewable Energy Source:
Review Conn. Gen. Stat. §16-1(a)(20), 16-1(a)(21) and §16-1(a)(38), and file an application for certification.
Applications:
 
Certified Renewable Energy Facilities:
Out-of-state, Behind-the-Meter, Renewable Energy Facilities:
Procedure to determine if a Proposed Facility of a type not specified as Class I, II or III in the Conn. Gen. Stat. would Qualify as a Renewable Energy Source:
File a request for a Declaratory Ruling as to whether a particular proposed facility would qualify once constructed.
A request for a Declaratory Ruling requires a letter that:
  • details the proposed project;
  • indicates the Class type (I, II, or III) of the proposed facility;
    and,
  • indicates the reasons why the project should qualify under current laws. 
Declaratory Ruling Filing Instructions:
  • Submit one hard copy as well as one electronic copy of the Application, Exhibits, Affidavits and any other attachments.  All attachments should be clearly identified and all pages should be numbered and attached in sequential order.
     
  • Send the hard copy (including all attachments) to:
Executive Secretary
Public Utilities Regulatory Authority
Ten Franklin Square
New Britain, CT 06051
  • Submit your request electronically using the Authority’s Web Filing System.
      
    • Select ‘Docket Database Web Filing System’. 
    • Follow steps 1 through 3 to complete the filing process.
    • If you already have obtained a Web Filing Account, proceed directly to the link ‘File a New Docket Application’ under Step 3.
Note: Applicants are not required to file for a declaratory ruling unless requested by the Authority (i.e.  Project 100).  If a specific technology has already been approved (i.e. fuel cell, solar, wind) a declaratory ruling is not necessary. 
 
Note: If a declaratory ruling is favorable and construction is complete, an application for certification must be submitted. 

If you have questions, please contact Donna Devino by email at donna.devino@ct.gov or by phone at 860-827-2873.
 
 
Content last updated October 2016