PA 16-116—sHB 5427

Energy and Technology Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE SHARED CLEAN ENERGY FACILITY PILOT PROGRAM

SUMMARY: This act establishes a financing mechanism for, and makes other changes to, the shared clean energy pilot program. It requires the program to be financed by one or more tariff mechanisms (rate schedules) approved by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) for the state's electric distribution companies (EDCs, i. e. , Eversource and United Illuminating). It allows the EDCs to (1) purchase power from facilities in the program, (2) issue billing credits to the facilities' subscribers, and (3) recover their costs for implementing the program. It also extends certain program deadlines.

In general, a “shared clean energy facility” in the program is a clean energy-powered electricity generating facility to which a customer subscribes for a portion of the total electricity produced. The electricity produced under the subscription is then used to offset the subscriber's electric costs at another billing meter (e. g. , a subscription for 100 kilowatt hours (kWh) produced by the facility would reduce the subscriber's residential electric bill by 100 kWh).

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

SHARED CLEAN ENERGY FACILITY PILOT PROGRAM

PA 15-113 required DEEP to establish a two-year pilot program to support the development of shared clean energy facilities. Among other things, it required DEEP to (1) develop and issue a request for proposals (RFP) to develop shared clean energy facilities and (2) establish a billing credit and certain consumer protections for the facilities' subscribers.

This act extends the deadline for DEEP to issue the RFP from January 1, 2016 to July 1, 2016 and requires the department to seek public comment on the RFP. It specifies that DEEP must establish the billing credits and consumer protections after it receives the proposals.

The act requires DEEP to consider all proposals it receives, including those for cost-effective projects of various nameplate (i. e. , generating) capacities that may allow for the construction of multiple projects in each EDC's service area. It also allows the billing credits to be issued through the EDCs' monthly billing systems and extends the deadline for DEEP to report on the program to the Energy Committee from January 1, 2018 to July 1, 2018.

Program Financing

The act requires the program to be financed using one or more tariff (rate) mechanisms with the EDCs, subject to approval by PURA, to (1) pay for EDC purchases of energy products produced by a facility that DEEP identifies in the RFP or (2) provide billing credits to a facility's subscribers. The tariffs' terms cannot exceed 20 years and must be consistent with the program requirements DEEP establishes in the RFP. The EDCs must submit any proposed tariffs under the program to PURA for review and approval, including those for (1) any shared clean energy facility projects selected in DEEP's RFP or (2) a shared clean energy facility project's subscribers.

The act entitles the EDCs to recover the reasonable costs and expenses they prudently incur implementing and operating the program through an adjustable electric rate component, as determined by PURA. They must submit their proposals to recover their costs for PURA's review and approval and can recover them for the pilot program's term or while any facility is enrolled in the tariff, whichever is longer.

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