Energy and Technology Committee
JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONCERNING CONNECTICUT'S ENERGY FUTURE.
Joint Favorable Substitute
Disclaimer: The following Joint Favorable Report is prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and does not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose.
SPONSORS OF BILL:
REASONS FOR BILL:
To implement the energy and technology components of DEEP's Comprehensive Energy Strategy in order to meet the state's climate change mitigation goals while ensuring the strength and viability of the state's energy industries.
JFS SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE LCO #3127:
LCO #3127 differs from the original Governors bill in several ways. The following changes are summarized by section;
● Section 1- allows PURA to reduce the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirements to account for other renewable procurements, specifies that suppliers entering contracts prior to the passage of the bill for 2020 have to meet the 20% Class I RPS, and allows PURA to reduce RPS requirements to account for other renewable procurements.
● Section 2- allows PURA to reduce RPS requirements to account for other renewable procurements.
● Sections 3-lowers the Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP) for Electric Distribution Companies (EDC) beginning on and after January 1, 2021, to four cents per kilowatt hour, if the wholesale supplier fails to comply with the RPS during the subject annual period for Class I renewable energy sources and to two and a half cents per kilowatt hour for Class II renewable energy sources.
● Section 4- lowers the Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP) for electric suppliers beginning on and after January 1, 2021, to four cents per kilowatt hour, if the wholesale supplier fails to comply with the RPS during the subject annual period for Class I renewable energy sources and to two cents and a half per kilowatt hour for Class II renewable energy sources.
● Section 5- sunsets the existing net metering program.
● Section 6- requires the expiration of LREC/ZREC funds on the date of approval of a new procurement plan
● Section 7- establishes a successor program for commercial and residential net metering. The new residential program includes two options; (1) a “buy all, sell all” model from the original Governor's bill, and (2) a structure that credits kwh charges for simultaneous consumption and provides a tariff for any other generation. A residential customer is able to choose between option (1) or (2).
● Section 8 – Prior section 8 on the Governor's original bill regarding energy efficiency was deleted.
● Section 9- Added prohibition on denying customers of electric companies' service energy efficiency service based on heating fuel type.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
Dannel Malloy, Governor: Governor Malloy submitted testimony in support of S.B. No. 9. The science behind climate change is undeniable, and the Governor believes that further action is required to follow up on the great strides Connecticut has made in addressing climate change. The deployment of clean renewable energy sources is vital to ensuring that Connecticut continues to work towards a stable climate. By setting an interim Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 40% by 2030, Connecticut will be able to continue to work towards goals of sustainability and climate change mitigation while allowing industries that rely on economic forecasts to plan for the future.
Robert Klee, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP): DEEP is in support of this bill as it makes energy efficiency the primary target of Connecticut's energy future. Increasing the RPS to 40% by 2030 will make Connecticut a national leader in cleaning up the electric grid while preparing for the future with sustainable, smart investments and containing the costs of energy for residents and businesses in the state.
Alan Addley, Granby Public Schools: Mr. Addley and Granby public schools support S.B. No. 9 but urge the expansion of the state's Virtual Net Metering (VNM) program. Expanding this program as a part of Connecticut's energy future will allow municipalities to make larger investments in renewable energy. This program allows customers who operate behind-the-meter generation to assign surplus energy from their generation methods to other metered buildings that are not physically connected to the customer's host generator. This allows excess energy to be distributed to multiple sites, which is perfect for public schools and municipalities.
Tracey Kiff-Judson, Ellington Public Schools: Ellington Public Schools supports the goals of S.B. No. 9, but like Granby Public Schools, they advocate for increasing or completely eliminating the cap on Municipal Credits for the state's Virtual Net Metering program. This action would allow all municipalities to make investments in renewable energy if they so desire.
Connecticut Green Bank: CT Green Bank is supportive of S.B. No. 9 and proposes some modifications and inclusions to improve the bill. They support raising the RPS to 40% by 2030. They recommend that shared clean energy facilities (SCEFs) have their own procurement process in order to foster competition and incentivize policy goals like locational siting and access for low-to-moderate income subscribers. They also recommend that the annual allocation for tariff purchases for energy be increased above $35 million because this allocation would cover approximately 40 mW per year. Connecticut's residential solar PV market is currently on pace for 45-50 mW in 2018, and has reached 55 mW in a year in the past, so this amount of money may be insufficient.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Claire Coleman, Connecticut Fund for the Environment (CFE): CFE supports the RPS extension, the energy efficiency mandates, and additional Green Bank funds. They oppose the elimination of net metering and the modifications to energy efficiency funding investments. They recommend that the RPS be extended to 50% by 2030 and that the alternative compliance payment levied on utilities that do not meet the RPS requirement not be reduced.
Andrew Gohn, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA): AWEA supports raising the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 40% by 2030. This expansion of the RPS will allow Connecticut to continue to lead in a growing green energy future. Recent dramatic price reductions in technologies like wind energy enable us to set more ambitious goals with less impact on consumers. AWEA believes that wind energy can be a massive help to Connecticut in pursuit of its renewable energy goals, and therefor fully supports the raising of the RPS to facilitate increased wind penetration and use.
James Schneider, Kimberly-Clark Corporation: The Kimberly-Clark Corporation shares the goal of promoting renewable generation development and support for a cleaner environment with S.B. No. 9. They recognize that the RPS is one of Connecticut's primary tools for encouraging development and operation of renewable generation, and support raising the RPS for Class I renewable sources to 40% and Class II renewables to 4% by 2030. However, they are concerned that Class III renewables have been overlooked. They argue that Class III resources have an important role in Connecticut's energy future, and urge that this bill reflect that by adding in RPS targets for that type of renewable energy source.
Cathleen Miller, New Neighborhoods Inc.: New Neighborhoods believes that incorporating energy conservation and green technologies into the management of their property portfolio is both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. They have been capitalizing on these types of opportunities, which has led to a 19% drop in energy consumption across all their properties over 3 years. This saves money and reduces emissions. Deploying legally-mandated renewable and environmental requirements can drive development and innovation, and therefore New Neighborhoods supports this bill.
Vincent Pace, Eversource: Eversource supports the increase in RPS requirements, the proposed changes to net metering, the creation of long term tariffs for Class I renewable technologies, and the use of a competitive procurement process for the state's Conservation and Load Management Plan.
Kevin Scialabba, PosiGen Solar: Mr. Scialabba supports the tax on solar lease and/or PPA payments because this will allow the industry to flourish and continue to grow and create jobs while giving Connecticut a long term reliable revenue source.
Elizabeth Galante, PosiGen Solar: Mrs. Galante and PosiGen Solar support this bill because of the positive impact it will have on the financial wellbeing of lower income families in Connecticut and the exceptional job creation and economic development benefits that it will provide to the state. However, they oppose the sales tax on materials because a recurring lower tax on lease and/or PPA offers a better long term financing plan.
Nitzan Goldberger, Energy Storage Association (ESA): ESA supports S.B. No. 9 conditional on the addition of certain amendments. They recommend the addition of policies aimed at overcoming the barriers to energy storage, including a cost-benefit study of energy storage deployment in Connecticut. Such a study would provide valuable analysis on how storage may lower costs and increase reliability.
David Giordano, Doosan Fuel Cell America, Inc.: Doosan supports raising the RPS, and point out that fuel cells will be vital to the transition to a 100% renewable world. They are very concerned about the fact that DEEP has suggested that fuel cells may no longer be considered a Class I renewable. They also believe that the LREC and ZREC programs will need to be extended while a tariff system is developed. They also recommend that any tariff program should be compatible with net metering rather than its replacement.
Len Greene Jr., FirstLight Power Resources: FirstLight Power supports S.B. No. 9 but urge the inclusion of both new and existing energy storage resources to participate on both a standalone basis or as part of a paired arrangement with clean energy resources as part of all future clean energy procurements. They argue that energy storage is crucial for Connecticut's energy future, as many renewable resources generate energy intermittently.
Robert Gibbs, Direct Energy: Direct Energy supports the installation of smart thermostats to manage energy costs. They advocate for the inclusion of incentives like state income tax credits for smart thermostats in S.B. No. 9.
Elizabeth Gara, Connecticut Water Works Association (CWWA): CWWA supports increased use of energy generated by renewable resources, but asks that policymakers assist water companies in achieving that goal. They recommend that water companies be allowed to utilize virtual net metering and that eligibility for virtual net metering be expanded to include hydroelectric projects built before 2003.
Donna Hamzy, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM): CCM supports the state's continued commitment to increase the RPS. It encourages the extension of ZREC and LREC programs until such time that a successor program is established by the relevant agencies. They also support the expansion of the Virtual Net Metering Credit Cap.
Paul Michaud, Renewable Energy and Efficiency Business Association, Inc. (REEBA): REEBA supports S.B. No. 9 but makes several suggestions on how to improve it. They recommend that the size of the behind-the-meter tariff program be expanded, that a competitive solicitation program for Grid-Connected Class I renewable energy projects be included, and that fuel cells should remain a Class I renewable resource.
Francis Pullaro, RENEW Northeast: RENEW supports extending the RPS to reach 40% by 2030 because this strategy is a ready-made, cost-effective approach to meeting environmental and economic development goals, will bring Connecticut closer to meeting its greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements, and RPS policies are needed to help small hydropower facilities. They also point out that siting laws could increase the cost to Connecticut of meeting higher RPS requirements.
Rashi Akki, AG-Grid Energy LLC: AG-Grid Energy supports the opening of a dialogue for smaller renewable energy generation projects including anaerobic digesters (AD). They believe that S.B. No. 9 will help pave the way for an increased amount of smaller generation facilities, and have some recommendations to make this legislation even more effective at accomplishing this task. They suggest that the limit of five electric accounts per AD facility be increased in order to allow these projects to sell to a greater number of towns and municipalities. They also advocate for the allowance of State meters and critical facilities not connected to a microgrid to purchase energy from an AD facility.
Michael Cuzzi, Brookfield Renewable: Brookfield Renewable supports raising the RPS to 40% by 2030 as it is an important step toward ensuring the state's 2050 carbon reduction mandate is met. However, they object to the fact that the Class I alternative compliance payment (ACP) is lowered by this legislation, as lowering the ACP increases the risk that clean energy is not actually delivered and consumed. They encourage consideration of different cost containment measures that ensure the actual delivery and consumption of energy produced from renewable sources in the state.
Jessica Bailey, Greenworks Lending: Mrs. Bailey supports S.B. No. 9 and its commitment to Connecticut's renewable energy industry. She recommends that the future of that industry be ensured by protecting the ZREC program and net metering. The renewable energy industry is taking off in CT and she believes it would be short sighted to remove these programs, which would effectively cut the program off at its knees. She recommends that ZREC and LREC be extended for an additional 10 years.
Kerry Brown, Curtis Packaging: Curtis Packaging supports S.B. No. 9 as the state's existing clean energy policies have helped strengthen Connecticut's manufacturing base, and believe that similar policies will help that base grow even stronger and more technologically advanced.
Jeff Bishop, Key Capture Energy: Key Capture Energy supports S.B. No. 9 but recommend an amendment to include an energy storage target complementary to the RPS target of 40% by 2030. Energy storage projects have many benefits, like reducing prices for electricity, capacity and ancillary services, deferring transmission investments, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A 2016 study conducted in Massachusetts found that adding 1766 MWs of energy storage would lead to $2.3 billion in ratepayer benefits.
Louis Burch, Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE): CCE supports increasing Connecticut's RPS to at least 40% by 2030, and encourages the state to go beyond the recommendations laid out in the Comprehensive Energy Strategy by removing barriers towards a more aggressive expansion of renewable resources in our state. Supporting small scale and grid scale renewable energy development, offshore wind, and virtual net metering would allow Connecticut to meet our renewable potential and keep pace with neighboring states.
Melissa Everett, Clean Water Action: Clean Water Action supports raising the RPS and believes that it would be a transformative and exciting move, but worry that other provisions found in this bill will undercut its intention. They oppose a reduction in the penalty to utilities for not meeting their RPS obligations. They oppose ending net metering for residential solar, especially since the proposed replacement tariff system is not clearly described in the bill. They believe this bill contains good and needed policy development, but also includes dangerous and destructive provisions.
John Erlingheuser, AARP: AARP supports S.B. No. 9 but asks that a number of effects the bill will have be clarified. Namely, the cost to ratepayers of raising the RPS, reducing energy consumption, establishing a new charge for a Clean Energy Fund, and new long-term contracts for demand response programs.
Peter Rothstein, Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC): NECEC supports raising the RPS, but recommends that it be expanded to achieve 50% renewable energy by 2030, which could be achieved by increasing the RPS by 3% per year as opposed to 2%. They urge the inclusion of an amendment that would establish a complementary energy storage target to encourage the most system-effective clean energy economy, and encourage maintaining fuel cells as a Class I renewable energy source.
Brendan Sharkey, Green Earth Energy Photovoltaics and Greenworks Lending: These two companies are some of the largest participants in the state's solar industry, and believe that S.B. No. 9 offers a correct approach for the renewal of existing incentive programs. LREC and ZREC have proven to be effective means of achieving the RPS and decreasing cost of solar installations have generated ratepayer savings. They do not support the requirement in Section 5 that states that all new Class I projects must be sized to only meet the customer's existing load because this requirement is anti-consumer, anti-business, anti-environment, and only benefits the utility companies.
Jason Schwartz, Independence Solar, LLC: Independence Solar supports raising the RPS to 40% by 2030, establishing a 20-year tariff term and 12 years of solicitations, the emphasis placed on storage and TOU rates, and the competitive market this legislation will foster. They recommend that LREC and ZREC programs be extended and that annual solicitations be increased to $100 million. They also suggest allowing consumers to use energy onsite and sell back exported power at a fixed, competitive bid rate.
Lori Vitagliano, South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority (RWA): The RWA strongly supports the expansion of Virtual Net Metering (VNM) to include political subdivisions of the state, because this would enable the RWA to participate and benefit from VNM. This would allow RWA to continue to reduce their carbon footprint by increasing the proportion of electricity used from clean sources.
Michele Murdick, United Church of Christ: Mrs. Murdick supports the expansion of the RPS to 40% by 2030, but opposes the proposed elimination of net metering for residential solar customers.
Jennifer Carrol, Daughters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception: This religious congregation supports S.B. No. 9 because supporting clean energy projects and investments in the state helps to protect the planet, drive economic growth, create jobs, and create savings that residents and institutions can put toward their highest priorities.
Stephen Pelton, EcoSmart Home Services: This company supports S.B. No. 9 and urges the prevention of further raids of the Energy Efficiency Fund. Taking money out of this fund has caused untold consequences to the solar and energy efficiency industry.
Eric Brown, Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA): CBIA supports S.B. No. 9 and has several recommendations for ways to reduce the cost of energy in Connecticut relative to neighboring states. Specifically, the request that there be a requirement that the annual Conservation and Load Management Plan include a metric on energy savings per ratepayer dollar collected, a requirement that future Comprehensive Energy Strategies include an assessment of the state's competitive position to other northeastern states, and that Section 20 of the bill be modified by adding “commerce” after the word “energy” in line 983 and adding “the energy savings per dollar of ratepayer investment along with” in line 988 after the word “maximize.”
Bloom Energy: Bloom supports this bill and recommends that the LREC program, one of the most successful distributed generation programs in the nation, be extended until a new program is enacted and fully in place. They also recommend that funding levels should be clarified and specified by the Legislature at the individual program level.
Kathryn Dube, Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST): COST supports efforts to expand the Virtual Net Metering cap as VNM has been a successful program in assisting municipalities to reduce their energy costs while improving energy efficiency. They also encourage the extension of the ZREC and LREC programs for two years or until a successor program is put into place.
Elizabeth Dempsey, Conservation Coalition: Conservation Coalition supports this bill, but urges that it be amended and strengthened. They recommend a change to the bill's net metering policy, because as written it will kill rooftop solar installations. They support the bill's attention to the crippling raids on the CT Green Bank. They recommend that the 40% RPS by 2030 be a minimum and that the bill should set an RPS target of 50% by 2030. They also recommend that targets for energy efficiency need to be stronger.
Sharon Anne Byron, Internet Works LLC: Mrs. Byron supports expanding the RPS requirements but opposes the elimination of net metering. Taking away the right of homeowners to consume solar power they generate from their own rooftop panels will harm the residential solar sector and only benefit utility companies, not consumers or solar companies.
Form Letter: A form letter, submitted by 70 individuals, supports S.B. No. 9 with several recommendations for modification. It calls for an RPS target of 50% by 2030, a doubling of the current annual savings target, and the removal of the proposal to eliminate net metering. It supports the increase in Green Bank funding.
Form Letter: A form letter, submitted by 19 individuals, supports raising the RPS to at least 40% by 2030 as this action will reduce emissions and drive economic growth and employment opportunities. It opposes the elimination of net metering for residential solar customers as this will negatively impact the solar market.
Matidla Young: Mrs. Young is a senior citizen who had solar panels installed on her roof by PosiGen Solar. The company also helped to make her house less drafty. Due to the savings she's seen because of her solar panels, she is now able to afford her medication.
Susan Miller: Mrs. Miller supports S.B. No. 9 and believes it is a step in the right direction, but does not think that it goes far enough in terms of cutting down on emissions and helping Connecticut achieve its climate change mitigation goals. She believes a more aggressive approach to renewable energy adoption is required; an increase in the RPS to 100% in the next 10 years.
Mike Papa: Mr. Papa is in favor of investing in green energy and decreasing the state's reliance on fossil fuels in order to better protect the environment and public health.
Gale Ridge: Mrs. Ridge supports S.B. No. 9 because of the rapidly growing environmental catastrophe of climate change which is driven by our dependence on fossil fuels. She believes our future energy strategy should be dynamic, allowing language to change as situations change, and increasing cooperation with scientists and academic institutions when writing policy.
Dr. Gary Bent: Dr. Bent supports this bill with modification. He suggests that Section 5 be completely eliminated because it does away with net metering and substitutes an unfair reimbursement to rooftop solar users for the power that they themselves produce.
Laura DePreta: Mrs. DePreta fully supports the extension of the RPS to 40% or more by 2030, but strongly opposes the provision that would eliminate net metering for residential solar customers. Net metering is critical to the success and future of solar energy in Connecticut. She is also very concerned about the recent sweeps of the CT Green Bank and urges support for the provision in S.B. No. 9 that would provide further funding to the Green Bank.
Heidi Matonis: Mrs. Matonis is supportive of the critical steps S.B. No. 9 is taking in regards to renewable energy targets, but she urges against eliminating net metering, which she believes will lead to the destruction of residential rooftop solar.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Chris Phelps, Environment Connecticut: Environment Connecticut opposes S.B. No. 9 in its current form because it undermines the state's commitment to solar and other renewable energy sources, hinders the state's progress in reducing carbon emissions and meeting climate targets, and contains multiple measures that would move the state backwards in its support for solar power, energy efficiency, energy storage, and similar technologies that are critical to meeting our state's climate goals. They strongly oppose the anti-solar, anti-consumer proposals in Sections 4 and 5 specifically.
Jennifer Arasimowicz, FuelCell Energy: FuelCell energy supports the raising of the RPS, but reminds the state that fuel cells are an important Class I resource for the state's renewable portfolio. DEEP has failed in the past to select fuel cell projects in their renewable energy solicitations. They oppose the reduction of the alternative compliance penalty for Class I RECs from 5.5 cents to 4 cents. They oppose the elimination of the net metering program. They support the creation of a tariff program to replace the ZREC and LREC programs, but recommend that the program size limitation be raised from 2 MW to 4 or 5 MW for fuel cells only.
Sean Garren, Vote Solar: Vote Solar offered testimony in opposition to S.B. No. 9 because it takes away the ability of Connecticut citizens to directly invest in solar and reap the benefits of many distributed energy resources. They also oppose the end of net metering and capping of distributed energy resources. They support the idea of opening access to clean energy, like solar, through shared clean energy facilities (SCEFs) but not as done in this bill. They argue that Connecticut should follow other states in the region to continue the success of on-site solar while expanding access to solar for other types of consumers through SCEFs.
Jeff Cramer, Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA): CCSA believes there are significant flaws relating to S.B. No. 9's approach to SCEFs, pointing to S.B. No. 336 as a much better framework for attracting new investments, creating jobs, and reducing emissions through a statewide community solar program. They oppose Sections 4 and 5 of S.B. No. 9 because they will not create a viable community solar program.
William Dornbos, Acadia Center: Acadia Center opposes this bill because it will not advance Connecticut's energy efficiency and clean energy markets. They support provisions that increase the state's Class I renewables target to 40% by 2030, but oppose the provisions relating to energy efficiency (Sections 6, 7, 8), on net metering and distributed solar (Sections 4 and 5), and on increased ratepayer funding for the CT Green Bank (Section 9).
Robin Dutta, SunPower Corporation: SunPower strongly opposes this bill as it repeals foundational solar policies like net metering while creating new solar programs that would stifle private investment and innovation. This bill would threaten solar jobs in Connecticut and prevent the innovation around solar storage projects occurring in other states from being practical here.
Michael Murray, Home Performance Alliance of Connecticut (HPACT): HPACT opposes S.B. No. 9 because they believe it does not help their industry (does not rectify the $127 million legislative diversion of electric ratepayer funding), makes energy efficiency more expensive (adds a new ratepayer cost), worsens uncertainty for the energy efficiency industry (setting the annual RFP at up to 25 mW), and fails to stabilize and safeguard energy efficiency investments (giving sole control of the RFP process to DEEP).
Stephan Hartmann, Ross Solar: Ross Solar opposes Sec. 5(3), the buy-all, sell-all provision, of S.B. No. 9 because they believe it will stunt solar technology innovation and limit its potential as a benefit to the grid and average rate payer. Just because solar export may be a burden for electric utility companies that does not mean that all solar production should go straight to the grid. If this is indeed a problem, then the host site should more of the solar power they produce, not export all of it to the grid.
New England Power Generators Association, Inc. (NEGPA): NEGPA supports the idea of further development of renewable energy resources, but opposes this legislation because of their belief that market intervention is not necessary to meet that goal of further development. They argue that increasing the state's RPS will lead to increasing costs for electric supply in the future, and that increasing the RPS is not a cost-effective way to reduce emissions across the state.
Steven Osuch, Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Consultants: Energy ESC believes that this bill is not beneficial to the state's renewable energy industry and will drive jobs from the state. They argue that the bill alters existing infrastructure and procedures to radically, which will lead to uncertainty and will damage the already fractured and bruised energy efficiency community. They argue that this legislation will drive energy efficiency and renewable energy companies out of Connecticut and dissuade new companies from coming in.
Jonathan Shapiro, Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Consultants: As an employee of a Connecticut company heavily vested in energy efficiency, Mr. Shapiro is concerned with the perceived desire of the state's legislature to come up with their own unique solar program as opposed to making small modifications to programs that have worked well in other states in the region. Several of Mr. Shapiro's clients are very excited about Massachusetts's SMART program, which has proven to be very effective and beneficial for the solar industry in that state. He believes any program Connecticut deploys should take inspiration from Massachusetts.
Sam Schneider, Earthlight Technologies: Earthlight Technologies is a family owned and operated business in Ellington that employs more than 60 people. Earthlight is concerned with several aspects of this bill, like how it puts net metering at risk and creates new solar programs that would stifle private investment and innovation. They recommend that the existing ZREC program be extended and that the plan laid out in S.B. No. 9 be altered to be more similar to the SMART Program implemented in Massachusetts.
John Smith, Earthlight Technologies: Mr. Smith is an employee of Earthlight Technologies and is concerned about the effects this bill may have on the industry he is a part of. Putting DEEP in control of management, taxation, and procurement of energy efficiency and renewable programs will create lots of red tape for a system that is currently very fluid and well-oiled. It will also increase costs of energy efficiency and drive many jobs in the solar industry out of Connecticut.
Mark Scully, People's Action for Clean Energy (PACE): PACE is opposed to the changes in net metering that this bill lays out. They are concerned that instead of reforming net metering, this bill would end it entirely, removing fundamental rights of residential solar customers like the right to store and use the electricity that they generate using panels that they purchase, install, and own themselves.
Tom Swan, Connecticut Citizen Action Group (CCAG): CCAG believes a more aggressive and radical approach is needed in renewable energy policy. They recommend that the bill should commit to raise the RPS to 100% by 2050. They also strongly oppose what they categorize as attacks on residential solar and net metering found in Sections 4 and 5 of the bill.
Patrick McDonnell, UIL Holdings Corporation: UIL supports the intent to promote the sustainability of Connecticut's energy efficiency programs, but opposes Sec. 8 of this bill. They argue that establishing a procurement process for long term contracts to deliver portions of the Conservation and Load Management Plan would unravel the collaborative process that has yielded a comprehensive suite of offerings to consumers that has reduced consumption and demand. A procurement process would create consumer confusion, harm competition of energy programs, and lead to higher costs for consumers.
Heather van Deusen, the SLAM Collaborative: Mrs. van Deusen strongly opposes the elimination of net metering for residential solar customers as proposed by this legislation. She points to a similar experience in Nevada, where curtailing net metering resulted in a 92% drop in new residential solar installations. Over the past six years, rooftop solar panel installations have exploded in growth, and removing the principles on net metering will curb this growth and lead to a loss of jobs in the state.
Lorenzo Wyatt, Home Comfort Practice, Inc. (HCP): HCP objects to the increased charges on electric bills, the lack of any language that would prevent the legislature from diverting rate payer contributions to the Energy Efficiency Fund, the lack of provisions to restore $13 million worth of funding for low-income services, and the failure of the bill to clearly define how the financial contributions of rate payers will be used to reduce their heating and electric bills by improving the energy efficiency of their homes.
David Wordell: Mr. Wordell is a Salem resident who spends his winters in Florida. During the winter, he uses a solar battery backup system he invested a significant amount of money into to store solar energy the panels on his Salem home generate while he is not there. He questions why he would no longer have the right to use energy he has generated with his own panels, and why that energy would be directed to the grid when he produced it and wants to use it himself.
John Chunis: In Mr. Chunis' testimony he points out that Connecticut has one of the highest costs of living and highest tax rates in the country. He believes that increasing the cost of living in the state by driving up energy rates through mandated renewable energy requirements would drive the state into bankruptcy.
Mark Garrett: Mr. Garrett believes the Connecticut is lagging behind its neighbors in the region in terms of innovative clean energy, especially in the residential and community solar sectors. As a solar professional, he would rather stay in state as opposed to being forced to relocate his family to New York or Massachusetts. He believes that solar policies should be pursued more aggressively, and that existing electric utility companies should have less influence on the legislative process.
Robert Fromer: Mr. Fromer is an independent environmental consultant from West Hartford. He believes that S.B. No. 9 should include a cradle to grave net energy analysis program for preparing Environmental Impact Assessments and Evaluations. This analysis would help find ways to reduce “Embodied Energy” waste. Embodied Energy is the total quantity of energy required to manufacture and supply a product, material, service, or disposal. This would ensure that we use the fossil fuel still remaining to us in efficient ways, which is critically important to any future energy plans.
Joel Gordes: Mr. Gordes believes the treatment of behind the meter renewable resources in this bill will negatively impact the residential market and lead to loss of jobs in the solar field because the bill captures only limited value streams and treats behind the meter renewables and net metering, most often used by residential solar, unfairly.
Bernard Pelletier: Mr. Pelletier opposes this bill in its current configuration. He supports certain aspects, but finds the treatment of net metering so detrimental to renewable energy in the state that he opposes the bill in its entirety if this treatment does not change. Net metering may result in lower revenue for utilities, but it also provides benefits to the rate paying public and utilities themselves, like reduced peak demand, reduced fossil fuel use, and progress towards lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Alexander Marroquin: Mr. Marroquin has worked in the solar industry since moving to Connecticut in 2010. He believes this bill is especially dangerous to that industry. He believes that the $35 million allocated to behind the meter projects will not be sufficient, and will limit the residential market to 45 mW worth of installation per year. This number has already been surpassed in prior years, and as residential solar grows, this amount will become even more insufficient.
Reported by: Spencer Ward