In comments filed with the New York Public Service Commission, RENEW Northeast urged New York to switch from the current NYSERDA budget-based procurement model of renewable energy certificates (RECs) to a target-based system solely of electric utility contracting for renewable energy as found in several of the New England states. A significant benefit of long-term contracts for consumers comes from lowering the development cost of renewable energy by giving developers and their investors the confidence to commit their capital. Contracting for energy at a fixed-price over a long term will provide consumers with the full benefits of renewable energy whose “free fuel” provides a hedge against electricity price swings caused by the volatility in natural gas and other fossil fuel markets.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and its regional partner, Renewable Energy New England (RENEW), applauded the New England Governors’ Conference for unanimously passing a resolution to coordinate regional renewable energy procurement and directing the release of a request for proposal (RFP) for renewable energy next year.
Specifically, the resolution charges the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE) with developing and implementing a work plan on behalf of the New England Governors that will result in the release of an RFP for renewable energy in 2013—allowing six states to capture economies of scale by joining together to secure power contracts. The resolution, proposed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, is the culmination of years of work led by NESCOE on behalf of the New England Governors.
The news came during what has turned out to be a great week for New England renewable energy. In Massachusetts, the state legislature approved an expansion of the Green Communities Act, which currently requires that 3 percent of the state’s electricity be procured by the utilities using long-term renewable energy contracts. The new legislation raises that target to 7 percent by 2016.
“This is an historic week for renewable energy in New England,” said RENEW Executive Director Francis Pullaro. “The New England Governors’ unanimous vote was a resounding ‘yes’ to more renewable energy, more jobs, and lower-cost electricity for New England. We thank the governors, along with Massachusetts leadership, for their hard work and vision on this key issue for our region.”
“Congratulations to the New England Governors and all six New England states for embracing the multiple economic and other benefits of renewable energy,” said Christy Omohundro, regional representative for the East at AWEA. “Wind power gives regions all across America affordable, stably priced power, and so we thank New England’s governors and legislators for their leadership and vision in helping to implement strong policy that creates jobs and generates affordable electricity.”
Fittingly, in little over a month, AWEA will be holding its Regional Wind Energy Summit – New England, which will take place Sept. 5-6, 2012 in Portland, Maine. The implications of the newly minted state and regional policies are sure to be major topics of discussion at the event. AWEA recently saw a need for regional events as a way for participants to focus on topics affecting their particular region while saving time and travel costs. The concept has taken off, and the Portland event will be the first Summit to focus on the New England region.