Should Renewable Energy Standards Be Met With In-State Resources?

Date: 12 Apr 2010 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

A legislative proposal in Connecticut (SB 463) would cut their existing renewable portfolio standard nearly in half from current levels, with the primary goal of keeping more of the economic benefits at home.  The revised standard would require most of the standard to be met with in-state sources and creates a new financing program to support that goal.

At this writing, the bill has passed through a committee and reached the Senate Floor and is awaiting action.  A summary of the provisions: To establish an energy savings infrastructure loan program by securitizing certain moneys and leveraging private investments, as well as to commit to a goal of fifty percent of RPS to be Connecticut-based investments by 2020; to commit to building an energy-based economy; to commit to supporting Connecticut-based technologies; to allow for a financing term equal to the useful life of a technology; to enable financing of technology to be tied to meter rather than property owner; to reduce dependence on foreign fuel and to reduce carbon emissions.

Backers of the rollback say that to meet current levels, renewable energy is mainly bought from outside the state because the climate and availability of land for solar and wind installations make the state particularly unsuited for large renewable projects.  A seven-year-old plan to build 150 megawatts of generated renewable power in the state – 13 plants that are mostly fuel cells and biomass have been approved – is stalled due to lack of financing. The bill provides for new financing for renewable energy as well as enabling PACE, municipal financing of renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements.

A interesting quote by Joel Rinebold, director of the energy program at the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, a nonprofit group that oversees government, industry and academic collaborations at the end of the article shows how important capturing the economic benefits of an RPS is for CT:

"On the other hand, I’d rather see a smaller number of renewable generation projects developed in Connecticut than a larger number developed in Canada and moved in through transmission lines,” he said. “We want projects not simply percentages."

John Farrell
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John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he develops tools that allow communities to take charge of their energy future, and pursue the maximum economic benefits of the transition to 100% renewable power.