Connecticut renewable energy policy revisions await gubernatorial approval

Connecticut’s Senate has approved revisions to a bill that would modify the state’s renewable portfolio standards, leaving Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s signature as the last piece required for it to be enacted as law.

The bill, called An Act Concerning Connecticut’s Clean Energy Goals (or officially State Bill 1138), would expand the state’s definition of “Class I” hydropower resources to include hydroelectric projects with capacities up to 30 MW.

The state’s current renewable portfolio standards (RPS) limit hydropower eligibility to plants with capacities of up to 5 MW, meaning some existing larger hydroelectric plants could then contribute toward the state’s goal of producing 20% of its power from Class I green sources by 2020, assuming the project began operation on or after Jan. 1, 2003.

The new measure is intended to further increase development opportunities for other renewables like wind, biomass and solar, though critics say another of S.B. 1138’s provisions — that hydro power imported from Canadian sources can qualify toward the state’s RPS — negates it.

The state’s Senate first approved the act in April before the Connecticut House of Representatives returned a modified version this past week.

This final version passed the Senate, 26-6, earlier this week.

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