Articles from Connecticut
The prospect of a new construction boom isn’t being welcomed by Gov. Paul LePage, who has been a vocal critic of the cost of wind energy. For one thing, the negotiated rates aren’t as low as they seem, according to Patrick Woodcock, the governor’s energy director, because of the added cost of upgrading transmission lines. Beyond that, he said, out-of-state power agreements don’t help Mainers with their high energy bills, which could be lower if wind had more competition from Canadian hydro and new biomass plants. “Wind is not the only option for renewable energy generation in New England,” he said.
It has been reported that Massachusetts’ utilities National Grid, Northeast Utilities and Unitil have negotiated power purchase agreements (PPAs) for 565 megawatts of electricity capacity from existing and proposed wind farms in New Hampshire and Maine that would provide electricity at wholesale rates of approximately 8 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Lawmakers on the Regulations Review Committee on Tuesday rejected the most recent proposal from the Connecticut Siting Council, saying the regulations fail to address town officials’ concerns and would make it too easy for developers to get around the regulations with waivers. Without regulations to govern wind projects, the 2011 ban on turbines will continue for at least another month — delaying projects in Ashford, Union, Colebrook, and Prospect.
For the third time in a year, a legislative committee has rejected proposed regulations for wind turbines in Connecticut, continuing the two-year moratorium on the clean energy projects. The vote to reject the rules without prejudice passed 10-3, including one abstention, sending them back to the Connecticut Siting Council, which introduced the regulations earlier this month.
Energy officials acknowledged that the 400-some miles between Connecticut and the project in northern Maine poses a transmission concern. Last week, ISO-New England identified parts of northern New England, including Maine, as a region with significant bottled-in energy. ...Including clean energy subsidies, both projects priced in at under 8 cents per kilowatt hour. The average bid came in at 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour, and the highest was 20 cents.
The two projects announced Friday will provide 3.5 percent of Connecticut's total energy load and one-fifth of the state's renewable energy goals By law, the state must obtain 20 percent of its electric needs from renewable sources by 2020. The final choices were Esty's, based on recommendations from a procurement team from DEEP's Bureau of Energy and Technology Policy, and the offices of the Consumer Counsel and Attorney General.
These six are among 45 proposals being considered by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection ..."We would tell the utilities to buy the power," DEEP Commissioner Daniel Esty said in an interview with The Day's editorial board on Thursday, adding that this is the first round of a long-term strategy to increase the amount of renewable energy available in Connecticut to 20 percent of the total by 2020.
A national renewable energy company is looking at land about a quarter-mile off Interstate 84 for the installation of five wind turbines, but before the project can move forward it first must get permission to erect a test tower in the location.
The line between politics and commerce blurred here Monday as the mayor and state legislators backed NRG Energy's bid to be chosen by the state for a valuable prize: a long-term contract to provide renewable energy. A coalition of political, labor and business leaders are touting NRG's plan to the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as an economic spark for a corner of eastern Connecticut where the recession hit harder and lasted longer.
Connecticut's request for proposals is open to Class I energy projects in New England built this year. The state is seeking contracts for about 174 megawatts of clean energy projects, like solar panels, wind turbines, hydropower dams or geothermal systems, which will amount to about 4 percent of the state's energy use. And the contracts could last up to 20 years.
Clean energy advocates looked skeptically at a complicated budget fix that appears to make whole the state's clean energy fund after legislators raided tens of millions from it to fill a budget gap. Next year, the budget transfers to the General Fund $6 million of what would have been allocated to the state's Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority. For the 2015 fiscal year, it takes $19 million.
The amendment will now go to the Senate for approval. The Senate passed the bill without the House amendment earlier this month. This is the second time in less than a week that the House has amended a bill previously passed by the Senate. The Senate will have to take up the bill again in the last seven days of the legislative session in order to send it to the governor's desk.
"While I understand the concerns that this bill could take funding away from other sources of renewable energy, I believe that lower electricity rates will provide families much needed relief in their household budgets and improve the prospect of jobs going forward," Kelly said after the vote.
The state's energy department released a final version of its study recommending changes to how Connecticut supports clean energy Friday after weeks of public debate on the plan that initially blazed a wide path for large-scale hydropower to be included in the state's portfolio of renewables.
A proposal to build Connecticut's first wind farm in the state's Northwest Corner has been blowing around for several years. Now an appeal brought by a citizens' group that opposes the project will be heard by the state Supreme Court in coming months. The key question is whether the Connecticut Siting Council had jurisdiction when it approved the wind turbine electric generation project.
Nicholas J. Harding, a Hartford lawyer representing the group, Fairwindct, along with plaintiffs Michael and Stella Somers and Susan Wagner, said he filed a 60-page statement March 22. The action follows a dismissal of their case by a New Britain Superior Court judge in October, and appeals subsequently filed in Appellate Court.
That means large-scale hydropower could fulfill the requirement currently reserved for renewable energy resources like wind and solar. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy already made it clear that wind power would not play a large role in efforts to meet the state's RPS. ...role in efforts to meet the state's RPS. "In Connecticut, where we have limited in-state wind potential, and the New England region as a whole, high transmission costs are barriers to capturing the full potential of wind resources."
The plan supports proposed changes to state laws governing how much of which type of energy the state should promote. Ratepayers suffer when the state falls short of its renewable energy targets, as is expected this year, Esty said. The main reason: State incentives have gone to the wrong technologies, he said.
Since large-scale hydro is cheaper than the average price of electricity in New England, the state could meet its renewable electricity goals while not relying on the more expensive power from technologies such as solar and fuel cells. T
As I reported in Saturday's paper, New England is experiencing a remarkable spike in electricity prices brought on by high heating demand and rising natural gas prices for electric generators.