in Up Front
print the content item

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is recommending that the state restructure its renewable portfolio standard (RPS). Included in the proposal are measures to increase the standard's procurement requirements and allow large-scale hydropower to count toward the RPS.

Connecticut's RPS requires 27% of utilities' sales to come from renewable energy resources by 2020, with a Class I requirement of 20% by 2020. Under the state's current RPS, Class I resources include energy derived from solar power, wind energy, fuel cells, methane gas from landfills and anaerobic digestion, ocean thermal power, wave or tidal power, low-emission advanced renewable energy conversion technologies, certain newer run-of-the-river hydropower facilities not exceeding 5 MW in capacity, and sustainable biomass facilities.

The DEEP recommends changing the state’s RPS to increase the Class I target from 20% by 2020 to 25% by 2025, and to allow the state to run a competitive bid process to buy a portion - 7.5% by 2025 - of the energy needed to meet this target. According to the DEEP, this change is designed to bring down the overall ratepayer cost of the RPS while preserving support for renewable energy development in Connecticut.

However, the DEEP is also proposing to allow large-scale hydropower projects of greater than 30 MW to qualify as a Class I resource. Under DEEP’s draft proposal, all Class I renewables could compete for power contracts, based on price, in the “contracted tier.”

That means large-scale hydropower could fulfill the requirement currently reserved for renewable energy resources like wind and solar.

The New England Clean Energy Council, a trade member organization representing renewable energy companies across New England, is against the hydropower measure.

"We strongly believe that inclusion of large hydropower in the RPS will undermine achievement of its objectives," the group writes in a recent letter. "Instead, it would discourage deployment of new renewable energy technologies using market mechanisms that continue to increase competition and bring about price declines, along with local economic development benefits."

According to New England Clean Energy Council, because large hydro is a mature technology, it should not be eligible for the financial support that renewable energy credits (RECs) provide under the regular RPS. Instead, a clean energy standard or a separate RPS could allow large hydro to be incorporated into Connecticut's energy portfolio.

"If counted toward RPS targets, large hydro will meet a large portion of the demand created by those targets, reducing demand for smaller, local and regional renewables, lowering REC prices and thereby revenues to support new renewable projects," the group warns.


Hybrid Energy Innovations

Hybrid Energy Innovations 2015
Latest Top Stories

To Help Combat Costly Electricity Theft, Emerging Markets Turn To Smart Grid Infrastructure

According to a new report, the world loses a whopping $89.3 billion to electricity theft annually, and emerging country markets are feeling a majority of the pain.


Report: Utilities Face Big Revenue Cuts From Distributed Energy Resources

According to a new report from Accenture, the growth of solar and other resources, such as energy storage, could mean significant losses for utilities.


NextEra To Acquire Hawaiian Electric In $4.3 Billion Merger Deal

If approved, the agreement between the two energy companies would produce one of North America's largest renewable energy players.


EPA Racks Up Over 1.6 Million Comments On Carbon Pollution Plan

Months after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its Clean Power Plan, which will create new regulations for existing power plants, the agency says it has received loads of feedback to consider.


Smart Grid Interest Continues To Spread Among U.S. Rural Utilities

A new survey gauges rural smart grid efforts across the country and offers key findings, one of which is that nearly all utilities polled are doing something to modernize their systems.

S&C Electric_id176
edf_id180