HARTFORD – With the Senate’s approval Tuesday, wind turbines will be placed off the Connecticut shoreline, which supporters say will help the state meet its clean energy goals while providing job and economic development opportunities.
The bipartisan proposal cleared the Senate unanimously and the House last month on a 134-10 vote, and now moves to Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk.
If the governor signs the bill into law, 14 days later the commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection would issue a procurement.
The 14-day period is an attempt to benefit from a federal tax credit that expires at the end of the year and may not be renewed.
Every developer would have to submit at least one bid for enough turbines to generate 400 megawatts of offshore wind power. A plan that DEEP must submit to the legislature by Jan. 1 would have to include a schedule for solicitations of 2,000 megawatts by 2030.
The measure is an attempt to prepare the state for relying less on the Millstone nuclear power plant in Waterford, which supplies the state with 30 percent of its energy.
Connecticut has a goal of generating 40 percent of its energy from class 1 renewable sources by 2030, around the time an energy agreement with Millstone will expire.
While the legislation would be a significant move toward meeting the state’s energy goals, it also is one of the largest job creation bills the legislature is considering this session, Sen. Norman Needleman, D-Lyme, said.
Renewable energy is “the energy of the future,” but acquiring land for large solar projects is difficult in Connecticut because of the expense, Sen. Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, said, adding that offshore wind is an emerging opportunity for the state. It has large ports that can serve as staging areas to get turbines 40 to 60 miles off the coast.
The legislation includes several protections for the fishing industry and marine life, as well as the price of energy.
The bill requires the DEEP commissioner to consider numerous factors when selecting any proposals that respond to solicitations, including whether they are in the best interest of energy ratepayers, consistent with the state’s statutory requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigate impacts to wildlife, natural resources, ecosystems, and fisheries.
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