The Connecticut General Assembly on Tuesday will consider including hydropower from Canada and sustainable biomass in the definition of renewable power.
The Energy & Technology Committee will hold a hearing at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday to discuss the proposal that could shift the funding availability for renewable technologies such as solar, wind, and fuel cells.
The state’s definition of renewable power is split into three classes. Class I is the most exclusive – with solar, wind, fuel cells, and tideal power – and those technologies receive around $55 in renewable credits for every megawatt. Class III includes biomass and trash-to-energy and are paid $10 per megawatt. Connecticut’s goal is to have 20 percent of its electricity come from renewables by 2020.
Hydro currently is only allowed as a Class I if it comes from river flow and generates less than five megawatts. The new proposal opens up Class I to large-scale hydro, which is in abundance in Canada.
Since large-scale hydro is cheaper than the average price of electricity in New England, the state could meet its renewable electricity goals while not relying on the more expensive power from technologies such as solar and fuel cells. The shift would pull money away from those technologies, as the state’s renewable portfolio standard originally was created as a funding source to make renwables cost-competitive with grid power.
Under the proposals, Connecticut can use large-scale hydro to meet 20 percent of its renewable goals.
The proposal also includes biomass facilities in Class I, provided they use a sustainable fuel and emit little particulates.
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