Connecticut’s headaches over two long-term deals for renewable power, including a large contract with a Maine Wind Farm, now include a lawsuit by a New York firm that owns competing solar generation facilities.
Allco Renewable Energy Ltd., based on Wall Street in New York City, submitted bids from five solar facilities when the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection sought bids in July for 15-year contracts to sell power to Connecticut Light & Power. In September, the department awarded contracts to a Maine wind project and a solar project located in Connecticut – but not to Allco.
Allco filed a lawsuit against Dan Esty, the DEEP commissioner, in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, claiming the contracts amount to the state setting wholesale power rates. That’s against the Federal Power Act that gives U.S. regulators the exclusive right to oversee wholesale markets, Allco said in the lawsuit, which was filed Nov. 27 and seeks to have the deals revoked, along with other relief.
Allco’s lawsuit also said the pricing of the contracts was not done properly under federal law, and that its offer was for a lower amount than one of the winning bids.
The most controversial of the contracts is for 250 megawatts, with the so-called Number Nine Wind Project in Maine, which has not yet been built. Critics say that agreement raises concerns about transmitting the power, and could lead the state to ignore renewable energy sources that are based locally.
Allco “will suffer irreparable harm” because its solar facilities “are competing for a limited supply of long-term renewable energy contracts in Connecticut, and the defendant’s interference with the wholesale energy market in violation of the FPA will cause the Plaintiff to suffer substantial economic losses,” the lawsuit said.
The Department said it conducted the bidding and awarded the contracts properly after working closely with the state Attorney General’s office, the Office of Consumer Counsel and outside lawyers.
“We are confident we followed all legal requirements during this process and are eager to advance Governor Malloy’s agenda of bringing cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable energy to the residents and businesses of Connecticut,” said department spokesman Dwayne Gardner in a written statement.
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