Energy and Technology Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-6838

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND ACCESS TO RESIDENTIAL RENEWABLE ENERGY.

Vote Date:

3/24/2015

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

3/17/2015

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Governor Dannel P. Malloy

Senator Martin M. Looney, 11th Dist.

Senator Bob Duff, 25th Dist.

Representative J. Brendan Sharkey, 88th Dist.

Representative Joe Aresimowicz, 30th Dist.

REASONS FOR BILL:

To further the development of renewable resources in Connecticut by expanding the Connecticut Green Bank and requiring the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURA) to provide an incentive of up to five percent for the use of major system components manufactured or assembled in Connecticut.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Elin Swanson Katz

On behalf of the Office of Consumer Counsel

The Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC) supports the development of solar power in Connecticut through an expansion of the Connecticut Green Bank. OCC recommends considering coordinating or combining a piece of the bill and the Zero Renewable Energy Credit program. They also recommend that the purchase price of solar home renewable energy credits is capped at the lesser of the price of small zero-emission renewable energy credit projects for the preceding year or the alternative compliance payment.

The Connecticut Green Bank

The Connecticut Green Bank enthusiastically supports the bill as a way to meet Connecticut's clean energy goals at less cost to ratepayers. The policy would be a net gain for ratepayers through the projected $68 million in RPS compliance savings it finds by taking advantage of conditions in the regional Class I REC market. It supports Connecticut's RPS policy towards deploying more clean, renewable energy resources entirely in-state, and the clean energy growth within the state would generate an estimated $537 million in economic activity and create or induce over 6,300 jobs.

Lynn Stoddard

On behalf of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University

The Institute supports the expansion of the Connecticut Green Bank's resident solar investment program to 300 megawatts by the end of 2022. The Green Bank's residential solar investment program has achieved the 30 megawatt goal well ahead of schedule. Progress in achieving the expanded goal will save ratepayers money, promote economic development, create additional clean energy jobs in Connecticut and reduce Connecticut's greenhouse gas emissions.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

William E. Dornbos

On behalf of Acadia Center

Acadia Center is highly supportive of the bill, which significantly increases the pool of funding for direct financial incentives for residential solar PV, and building on Class 1 renewable energy credits (RECs) is an effective way to accomplish this overall increase in incentives. They have refinement suggestions, which focus on two areas: incentive cost-efficiency and customer choice. To address these concerns, they recommend allowing customers to choose to keep SHRECs or assign them to a third party, capping the incentives using a formula tied to the previous year's average installment costs, limiting SHREC prices to only the incentive to customers and reasonable financing costs and not including administrative costs, allowing more flexibility in changing incentive schedules in the future, and modifying the language to include the constraint that incentives are only offered when they will significantly change adoption rates.

Connecticut Conference of Municipalities

The bill would provide incentives to stimulate greater investment of residential renewable energy. The bill would require PURA provide an incentive of up to five percent for the use of major system components manufactured or assembled in a distressed municipality.

Christopher Phelps

On behalf of Environment Connecticut

The bill will position Connecticut's resident solar programs to achieve near 10-fold growth within seven years, support continued growth of solar industry jobs in Connecticut and help keep the state on pace to get as much as 20% of power from solar within 10 years. The success of the solar industry in Connecticut since 2011 shows both the economic opportunity of and consumer demand for resident solar.

Shannon Smyth

On behalf of Connecticut Fund for the Environment

Putting more solar power and other clean energy resources on the grid provides significant benefits. These clean resources reduce demand on the grid and avoid the need for new generation, peaking generation and capacity. They also have valuable environmental and climate benefits, because they emit little or no greenhouse gases or other harmful pollutants.

A solar home renewable energy credit policy would directly support in-state clean energy projects. At the moment, only a small fraction of Class I market renewable energy credits purchased to meet the state's RPS come from resources in Connecticut. The bill would generate positive economic ripple effects throughout the state.

Michael Trahan

On behalf of SolarConnecticut

The bill keeps the momentum behind the state's successful residential solar industry going. Solar installer businesses completed the sale of 30MW of residential solar systems several years ahead of the legislative schedule set in 2011. The bill would effectively result in excess of 30,000 additional home solar installations over the next five years and easily add several hundred full-time direct solar jobs to the state's economy.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Stephen Gibelli

On behalf of Eversouce Energy

Eversource applauds the goals of this bill to further the development of renewable resources within Connecticut, but has several concerns. They believe any proposed public policy initiative should be studied by PURA to determine the benefits any cost impact prior to implementation. They are concerned that the bill requires them to enter into long term contracts without their consent or approval. The bill requires PURA to approve the agreement in an uncontested case, and those proceedings should be contested. The bill allows for the recovery of the utilities reasonably incurred costs and fees through a reconciling mechanism, and should be specific that such costs are recoverable through the non-bypassable federally mandated congestion charge.

Reported by: Ben Shaiken

Date: April 1, 2015