Articles filed under Energy Policy from Connecticut
FERC approved ISO-NE’s two-stage capacity auction to accommodate state renewable energy procurements, with Commissioner Robert Powelson dissenting and Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur and Richard Glick leveling new criticism on the minimum offer price rule (MOPR) (ER18-619).
New England’s power grid is in good shape now and home solar and energy efficiency efforts mean the region’s annual demand for electricity is projected to decline, according to the grid’s operators. But there are also problems ahead.
Officials recently announced they needed more time for the evaluation process "given the complexity of the analysis and the volume of bids." Regulatory approvals of the selected projects are expected later this year.
“While you may need transmission upgrades from time to time, that doesn’t mean that you should give the utilities a blank check on the scope of the construction costs,” Dornbos said. Blumenthal said Hartford-based Eversource Energy has been a significant beneficiary of the escalation of transmission costs.
Backers of gas generation countered that renewables are benefiting from government-backed subsidies and long-term contracts that threaten to reintroduce government-mandated integrated resource planning. ...state policies are giving renewables undue advantage and undermining conventional generators’ investments in the market.
Connecticut may soon source more of its clean energy from within its own borders, if newly proposed projects are successful in a unique and ongoing multi-state bidding process. A joint procurement by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island — the first of its kind for the states — garnered 24 bids from developers and companies for solar, wind, fuel cell and hydro projects, including five offering power that would be generated in Connecticut.
Dozens of submissions will need to be vetted in coming months as the three states look to sign long-term contracts for electricity from wind turbines, dams and solar projects. The states are seeking up to 600 megawatts of power.
Companies designing projects to bring clean electricity to southern New England say they’re grateful Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island have finally made a request for proposals to carry that power to the region. But meeting the region’s longer-term goal of expanding the use of renewable electricity from wind, solar and hydroelectricity will require more transmission capacity than the states requested, said Edward Krapels, the CEO of Anbaric Transmission, which is proposing one project in Maine and another Vermont.
Washington -- Aggressive energy efficiency efforts and new distributed generation capacity -- virtually all of it in the form of solar projects -- are combining to put a lid on growth in peak demand and electric use in New England, ISO New England said in its newly released 2015 Regional System Plan.
New England’s most populous states are looking to tap Canadian dams and rivers for more of their electricity, a change that officials say would help cut greenhouse-gas emissions and help keep some of the nation’s highest power prices in check.
Addressing a list of public benefits that Iberdrola outlined later in the merger proceeding, regulators called many of them "polite gestures" but overall insignificant compared to the size of the merger. The "list of additional conditions, separately and in total, are too little and too late. They are unquantifiable, have assigned values of zero and do not offer sufficient benefit for ratepayers."
Legal experts say the challenge to Connecticut’s renewable incentives is unique for many reasons. While the dormant Commerce Clause has been cited in cases regarding clean energy policies, it has not been used against a state that limits its renewable energy to the region, rather than the individual state.
In a long-awaited draft ruling, the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority found Vermont’s renewable energy credits are acceptable despite some claims that Vermont RECs are “double counted.” The credits represent the environmental attributes of electricity generated from renewables such as wind and solar.
The report, released last month, concludes that the state's energy initiatives are helping to reduce the demand for electricity and encourage the use of clean energy sources, but that the state and region face challenges in addressing price and supply over the next 10 years,
There is a complex, unwieldy, interconnected morass of concerns to consider. A top one is the rate structure that resulted in the large increases PURA approved earlier this month for Connecticut Light and Power. Others are the projected power crunch created by inadequate natural gas pipelines and the shutdown of several major power plants. There are questions about how best to integrate individual power systems, how to make electricity less polluting; and how to help utilities re-invent what they do.
Building more electricity transmission into New England isn't about an "energy crisis." It's about economics, jobs, corporate profit, failure to make the small fixes that add up, failure to do detailed analysis, failure to resist stampede crisis mentality, and lots of other things.
“The states and NESCOE are deliberately working out the details of this plan in secret, consistent with the view of one of NESCOE’s staffers that the plan should be ‘formulated behind closed doors’ because the ‘court of public opinion can be fickle and recalcitrant,’ ” Courchesne wrote, quoting an email from a NESCOE staff member to Executive Director Heather Hunt.
But what has changed is that the key federal incentive for wind development -- known as the production tax credit -- has expired, and that may mean even with siting regulations on the books in Connecticut, nothing may happen with large-scale wind projects. “It could be too little, too late possibly,” said Paul Michaud.
But the situation has prompted some soul-searching as some residents worry more wind turbines will turn the woodsy state into New England's utility closet. Opponents also question wind power's environmental merits and say turbines aren't worth spoiled views or noise. Larry Dunphy, a Republican state representative, recently posited a future when "you won't be able to climb a mountain without seeing blinking red lights and spinning turbines."
Jim Finley, executive director of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, said his organization asked the siting council to withdraw its proposed regulations so a compromise can be reached. He said some of CCM's member towns and cities want the regulations to force developers to post bonds to indemnify host communities and to require a plan to decommission closed facilities.