Wind Power News: Connecticut
These news and opinion items are gathered by National Wind Watch to help keep readers informed about developments related to industrial wind energy. They are the products of the organizations or individuals noted and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of National Wind Watch.
Last week the Connecticut state Senate passed SB 1138, which would potentially add large-scale hydro to the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard — replacing more expensive wind, solar and biomass. If incorporated, it is expected that customer costs will be reduced by millions of dollars annually compared to the current system. Despite that, many are up in arms over the bill’s passage. Why all the commotion over this provision? Unfortunately, it is simply a matter of protecting market share and profits . . .
Northeast Utilities, parent company of the state’s largest utility, Connecticut Light & Power, backs the legislation.
“We appreciate the bill’s perspective that hydropower is a renewable resource, as the source of its generation — water — is abundant and will continue to be available,” Jay Fletcher, director of regulatory policy for Northeast Utilities Service Company, told lawmakers in testimony.
Northeast Utilities and Canadian utility Hydro-Quebec are spearheading a $1.2 billion transmission project to bring 1,200 megawatts of hydropower from Canada to the New England power grid. Northeast Utilities says the project will help address New England’s “acute need” to diversify its electric energy supply, which is based on more than 50 percent natural gas.
A Hartford-based public advocacy group and three others have made a broad Freedom of Information Act request for documents concerning the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s energy policy, particularly as it relates to proposed changes for the state’s renewable energy portfolio. The request made by Connecticut Citizen Action Group, the state’s chapter of Common Cause, West Hartford-based independent energy consultant Joel Gordes and Colin Bennett, a volunteer coordinator with 350 Connecticut, a grass-roots climate organization. The FOI filing . . .
The state’s energy department released a final version of its study recommending changes to how Connecticut supports clean energy Friday after weeks of public debate on the plan that initially blazed a wide path for large-scale hydropower to be included in the state’s portfolio of renewables. In the final version of the study — and pending legislation that mirrors it — big hydropower, like Hydro-Quebec, is relegated to being a contingency source of power rather than a primary one. The . . .
Hartford — Choosing Earth Day to make the announcement, state Rep. Timothy Bowles officially formed the Southeastern Connecticut Clean Energy Task Force Monday to study the possible creation of a clean energy research and generation center at the former Norwich Hospital property. Bowles, D-Preston, readily admitted it is his “bias” as a Preston state legislator, selectman and resident for building the center at the former Norwich Hospital property, but said the task force would consider other locations within the region. . . .
High court to hear wind farm project case; Opponents claim Siting Council lacked jurisdiction over proposed project
A proposal to build Connecticut’s first wind farm in the state’s Northwest Corner has been blowing around for several years. Now an appeal brought by a citizens’ group that opposes the project will be heard by the state Supreme Court in coming months. The key question is whether the Connecticut Siting Council had jurisdiction when it approved the wind turbine electric generation project. Since 2010, West Hartford-based BNE Energy Inc. has been pressing forward with plans to establish the commercial . . .
COLEBROOK — A local citizens group that opposes two wind turbine projects in town has taken its fight to the Supreme Court. Nicholas J. Harding, a Hartford lawyer representing the group, Fairwindct, along with plaintiffs Michael and Stella Somers and Susan Wagner, said he filed a 60-page statement March 22. The action follows a dismissal of their case by a New Britain Superior Court judge in October, and appeals subsequently filed in Appellate Court. A Superior Court ruled in favor . . .
Establishing a New England market to buy renewable energy seemed a laudable goal when governors committed last year to bulk purchases of wind and solar power to knock down the price while reducing the region’s reliance on fossil fuels. Consumers could benefit from price stability, even from costlier wind and energy power. But putting together details about what types of renewable energy the six states will buy in the groundbreaking deal is snared in a patchwork of rules, state laws . . .
A coalition of environmental and consumer groups as well as labor unions is criticizing efforts the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is undertaking to get the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards changed. The groups rallied at the Legislative Office Building Thursday to explain their opposition to some of the changes proposed by DEEP Commissioner Dan Esty, which include allowing energy produced by large scale hydropower plants to be included as part of the portfolio. The current standards for . . .
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is recommending that the state restructure its renewable portfolio standard (RPS). Connecticut’s RPS requires 27% of utilities’ sales to come from renewable energy resources by 2020, with a Class I requirement of 20% by 2020. Under the state’s current RPS, Class I resources include energy derived from solar power, wind energy, fuel cells, methane gas from landfills and anaerobic digestion, ocean thermal power, wave or tidal power, low-emission advanced renewable energy . . .