Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has signed into law an act raising the limit of qualifying hydropower facilities under the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 30 MW. The previous limit for a given facility had been set at 5 MW.
The state's RPS requires 27% of utilities' electricity to come from renewable energy resources by 2020, with a Class I requirement of 20% by 2020. Previously, qualifying Class I resources included solar, wind, fuel cells, biomass and hydropower facilities up to 5 MW.
The legislation first passed the state Senate in early May, followed by the passage of a companion bill in the state House. The legislation then went back to the Senate to iron out some differences between the two versions.
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Malloy recommended the change to the RPS in March. According to a statement from the governor's office, the new law will ‘allow Connecticut [to] move away from dirtier fuels like biomass to cleaner large-scale hydroelectric power.’
‘Updating our renewable energy portfolio strengthens Connecticut's competitiveness while also protecting our environment for future generations,’ Malloy says in a statement. ‘This legislation creates clean energy jobs right here in Connecticut, moves us away from polluting fossil fuels, and provides cleaner, cheaper more reliable energy to ratepayers." ‘
Several environmentalist and energy groups have criticized the hydropower measure, claiming it could sidetrack local renewable energy development and provide an advantage to companies such as Canada's Hydro-Quebec. The New England Clean Energy Council, for example, has warned the new RPS' emphasis on hydropower could hurt CT's market for solar and other renewable energy resources.