OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 928 (File 490, as amended by Senate "A")*

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A SHARED CLEAN ENERGY FACILITY PILOT PROGRAM.

SUMMARY:

This bill requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), in consultation with the electric distribution companies (EDCs, i.e., Eversource and United Illuminating), to establish a two-year pilot program to support the development of shared clean energy facilities. In general, a shared clean energy facility under the bill is a clean energy-powered electricity generating facility to which customers subscribe for a (1) percentage interest in the total amount of electricity produced or (2) set amount of electricity produced. The subscriber's share of the electricity produced is then used to offset the subscriber's electric costs at another billing meter identified by the subscriber.

The bill requires DEEP, by January 1, 2016, to develop and issue a request for proposals (RFP) to develop shared clean energy facilities from entities that (1) own or operate such facilities to benefit subscribers or (2) contract with third parties to build, own, or operate them. Under the RFP, DEEP must select a project or projects with a total nameplate capacity rating (i.e., generating capacity) of up to

1. two megawatts (MW) in the service area of an EDC that serves 17 or fewer cities and towns (United Illuminating) and

2. four MW in the service area of an EDC that serves more than 17 cities and towns (Eversource).

The bill specifies that the selected projects together must not exceed a nameplate capacity rating of six MW.

Under the bill, DEEP must establish a billing credit for the facilities' subscribers and consumer protections for subscribers and potential subscribers that at least include disclosures that must be made when selling or reselling a subscription.

Starting within one year after being awarded the projects by DEEP, the bill requires each recipient to submit three successive annual reports to DEEP and the Energy and Technology Committee with information on its facility's status. By January 1, 2018, DEEP must file a report with the Energy and Technology Committee that (1) analyzes the pilot program's success, (2) identifies and analyzes the success of similar programs in other states, and (3) recommends whether a permanent program should be established, and if so, any necessary legislation.

*Senate Amendment “A” (1) shortens the pilot program's duration from three to two years, (2) removes a provision that limited the program to two projects, (3) specifies how the projects must be allotted to each EDC's service area, and (4) shortens the deadline for DEEP's report on the program.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

SHARED CLEAN ENERGY FACILITIES & SUBSCRIBERS

Under the bill, shared clean energy facilities are Class I renewable energy sources that (1) are served by an EDC, (2) have a nameplate capacity rating of four MW or less, and (3) have at least two subscribers. By law, a Class I renewable energy source is electricity derived from, among other things, solar power, wind power, fuel cells, landfill methane gas, anaerobic digestion or other biogas, and certain run-of-the-river hydropower facilities.

Under the bill, a shared facility's subscriber must be an EDC's in-state retail end user who has (1) contracted for a subscription and (2) identified an individual billing meter within the EDC's service territory to which their subscription will be attributed (i.e., their share of electricity produced at the shared facility will be used to offset costs at this meter). Individual billing meters can include a set of electric meters that are combined for billing purposes. A shared facility must be in the same EDC service territory as all of the individual billing meters identified by its subscribers.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Energy and Technology Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

22

Nay

1

(03/24/2015)

Environment Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

27

Nay

1

(04/20/2015)