Connecticut Seal

House Bill No. 5346

Public Act No. 02-7

AN ACT CONCERNING HYDROGEN PRODUCTION FACILITIES AND HYDROGEN CONVERSION TECHNOLOGY AND THE PROTECTION OF LONG ISLAND SOUND.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 16-245n of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2002):

(a) For purposes of this section, "renewable energy" means solar energy, wind, ocean thermal energy, wave or tidal energy, fuel cells, landfill gas, hydrogen production and hydrogen conversion technologies, and low emission advanced biomass conversion technologies and other energy resources and emerging technologies which have significant potential for commercialization and which do not involve the combustion of coal, petroleum or petroleum products, municipal solid waste or nuclear fission.

(b) On and after January 1, 2000, the Department of Public Utility Control shall assess or cause to be assessed a charge of not less than one-half of one mill per kilowatt hour charged to each end use customer of electric services in this state which shall be deposited into the Renewable Energy Investment Fund established under subsection (b) of this section. On and after July 1, 2002, such charge shall be three-quarters of one mill and on and after July 1, 2004, such charge shall be one mill.

(c) There is hereby created a Renewable Energy Investment Fund which shall be administered by Connecticut Innovations, Incorporated. The fund may receive any amount required by law to be deposited into the fund and may receive any federal funds as may become available to the state for renewable energy investments. Connecticut Innovations, Incorporated, may use any amount in said fund for expenditures which promote investment in renewable energy sources in accordance with a comprehensive plan developed by it to foster the growth, development and commercialization of renewable energy sources, related enterprises and stimulate demand for renewable energy and deployment of renewable energy sources which serve end use customers in this state. Such expenditures may include, but not be limited to, grants, direct or equity investments, contracts or other actions which support research, development, manufacture, commercialization, deployment and installation of renewable energy technologies, and actions which expand the expertise of individuals, businesses and lending institutions with regard to renewable energy technologies, provided such technologies do not relate to facilities, as defined in section 16-50i, that cross Long Island Sound.

(d) The chairperson of the board of directors of Connecticut Innovations, Incorporated, shall convene a Renewable Energy Investments Advisory Committee to assist Connecticut Innovations, Incorporated, in matters related to the Renewable Energy Investment Fund, including, but not limited to, development of a comprehensive plan and expenditure of funds. The advisory committee shall include not more than twelve individuals with knowledge and experience in matters related to the purpose and activities of said fund. The advisory committee shall consist of the following members: (1) One person with expertise regarding renewable energy resources appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives; (2) one person representing a state or regional organization primarily concerned with environmental protection appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate; (3) one person with experience in business or commercial investments appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives; (4) one person representing a state or regional organization primarily concerned with environmental protection appointed by the majority leader of the Senate; (5) one person with experience in business or commercial investments appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives; (6) one person with experience in business or commercial investments appointed by the minority leader of the Senate; (7) two state officials with experience in matters relating to energy policy and one person with expertise regarding renewable energy resources appointed by the Governor; and (8) three persons with experience in business or commercial investments appointed by the board of directors of Connecticut Innovations, Incorporated. The advisory committee shall issue annually a report to such chairperson reviewing the activities of the fund in detail and shall provide a copy of such report to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to energy.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective from passage) Notwithstanding any other provision of the general statutes, no state agency, including, but not limited to, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Connecticut Siting Council, shall consider or render a final decision for any applications relating to electric power line crossings or gas pipeline crossings of Long Island Sound including, but not limited to, electrical power line or gas pipeline applications that are pending or received after the effective date of this section for a period of one year after the effective date of this section.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) Any application for an electric power line or gas pipeline crossing of Long Island Sound that is considered by either the Department of Environmental Protection or the Connecticut Siting Council after the creation of a comprehensive environmental assessment and plan, shall additionally be evaluated for such application's: (1) Likelihood to impair the public trust in Long Island Sound based on the information contained in a comprehensive environmental assessment and plan; and (2) the extent to which the application is consistent with the recommendations of a comprehensive environmental assessment and plan.

(b) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes or any approval received pursuant to any other provision of law prior to the effective date of this section, no electrical power line crossing shall be constructed within Long Island Sound for a period of one year to allow for a comprehensive environmental assessment and plan to be completed. Nothing in section 2, 3 or 4 of this act shall be construed to affect projects in the mile-wide corridor across Long Island Sound, from Norwalk to Northport, New York, presently occupied by electric cables that cross the sound.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective from passage) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, the Connecticut Siting Council, within fifteen days of the effective date of this section shall submit the state's advisory opinion to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requesting that, on behalf of the state, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission not approve any individual new electric power line crossing or gas pipeline crossings for one year to allow for completion of a comprehensive environmental assessment and plan, and that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission avoid environmental damage to Long Island Sound to the greatest extent possible when licensing any future gas pipelines by considering the recommendations contained in a comprehensive environmental assessment and plan.

Vetoed April 19, 2002