RENEW Northeast submitted testimony to the Connecticut legislature’s environmental committee in favor of amending a law passed last year that is having a chilling effect on developers seeking new sites for utility-scale solar projects in Connecticut. Under the law, the Department of Agriculture is able to force a utility-scale solar energy project into the more expensive and lengthy Siting Council permit process designed for the evaluation of large (over 65 megawatts) fossil-fueled plants. To achieve Connecticut’s environmental, renewable and economic development goals, a solar energy project should not face a riskier and costlier permitting process compared to smaller projects (65 megawatts or less) to be fueled by natural gas or oil, or a permanent housing or commercial development.
Misses Opportunity to Invest in New, Clean Energy –
RENEW is disappointed today that Massachusetts chose to affirm its decision to sign a long-term contract for existing provincially owned power in Quebec. The failure of Northern Pass provided a chance to revisit that first choice by considering whether it would have been better to have purchased energy from all-new wind and solar resources. Instead, Massachusetts has chosen to keep the Northern Pass Project bid alive and add a back-up proposal for transmission to Quebec in case negotiations with the Northern Pass Project are unsuccessful.
RENEW Northeast praises Chairman Pacheco, Vice-Chairman Eldridge and the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change for releasing today visionary legislation to advance a significant deployment of new renewable energy sources. The bill’s acceleration of the annual growth rate in the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)- the amount of renewable energy utilities and retail suppliers must provide to their customers- from the current 1 percent per year to 3 percent per year will spark a revolution in displacing the region’s greenhouse gas emitting generation with emissions-free resources.
RENEW Northeast commends today’s decision of the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee to deny the application of the Northern Pass transmission line. This project and the associated energy from Hydro-Quebec, as the winning bidders out of last week’s Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP, would have cost Massachusetts ratepayers $500 million annually for 20 years. Despite this high cost, it would only bring energy from old generation rather than from new renewable resources that can enable Massachusetts to achieve its required greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
Connecticut has some of the highest electricity rates in the nation, and in January they will increase even further.
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) will soon release the final version of its three-year Comprehensive Energy Strategy, which aims to create a cheaper, cleaner, more reliable energy future for our state’s residents and businesses.
In a Providence Journal op-ed, RENEW Northeast and the Rhode Island chapter of the Sierra Club explained how National Grid’s rate increase was caused by the retirement of one old dirty plant, driving up consumer prices to pay for new dirty plants. We urged that instead of continuing to rely on these dirty plants and the volatility of imported fossil fuels, we should invest in New England communities, more jobs, and long-term price stability through clean energy, such as wind and solar.
The Connecticut General Assembly has enacted Senate Bill No. 943, “An Act Concerning the Installation of Certain Solar Facilities on Productive Farmlands” that singles out the least-cost form of solar development by imposing a permitting process established for large-scale fossil fueled power plants. As RENEW explained in a recent op-ed, this bill penalizing solar development placed on farmland will jeopardize past and future energy solicitations intended to bring clean energy, low electricity prices, economic development and sound environmental policy to the state.
This post is by John Rogers who is a senior energy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists and a director on the RENEW Northeast board.
UPDATE (Dec. 16, 1:34 pm EST): The intense bidding is finally over! After a marathon session that spilled into a second day, and 33 rounds (!) of bidding, the winner of the New York offshore wind area lease is Statoil Wind US. The $42.5 million winning price is by far the highest amount paid in any of the dozen auctions to date, and a real vote of confidence in the future of offshore wind in the US. Exciting times indeed.
It’s been quite a week for offshore wind in the US—new leases, new deals, and the first-ever offshore wind electrons in the Western Hemisphere.
A few minutes before midnight last night came the news that the Massachusetts legislature passed the omnibus energy bill that had been under development for months (years, actually). The process involved a whole lot of pieces trying to fit together in one rational jigsaw puzzle. So where did we end up? A pretty good place, actually.
The brightest minds in the wind industry — among them, Sen. Angus King — are in town for a two-day American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) summit, discussing how to do wind better.
The senator called alternative energy critical pieces to saving the earth. “Fortunately, the technology in your industry, in solar, in electrical vehicles, in batteries and storage seems to be coming together at the right moment.”