Legislative solutions currently under consideration in 2016:
HB 5427, AN ACT CONCERNING THE SHARED CLEAN ENERGY FACILITY PILOT PROGRAM: Shared solar is not yet in working order after the 2016 legislative session. Changes needed to be made to 5427 to require utility companies to buy generated power for the "life of the facility," as recommended by the CT Academy of Science and Engineering. Passage of the changes would also have removed the limit of 6 megawatts (too small). More importantly, there was and is no need for a pilot project at all! Shared solar is working in a dozen states already. Anything but full roll-out is mere delay by reluctant utilities. CCAG opposed this bill without proposed changes.
SB 334, AN ACT CONCERNING MINOR REVISIONS TO THE ENERGY AND TECHNOLOGY RELATED STATUTES:
The bill did not pass. Passage would have implemented technical fixes to existing statutes governing shared solar development. This bill should have been passed instead of H.B. 5427 (above), a deeply flawed bill that includes financing requirements designed to make projects uneconomic and insure failure. CCAG also continues to fight for a full roll out of shared solar, not pilot programs.
HB 5299, AN ACT CONCERNING TOXIC FLAME RETARDANT CHEMICALS IN CHILDREN’S PRODUCTS AND UPHOLSTERED RESIDENTIAL FURNITURE: This bill was submarined by 1 Senator, when it was on the verge of passage. Again, we see the extreme power of money in politics using obscure levers to block the common good. The bill would have banned any product containing the flame retardant chemicals TDCPP, TDCP or TCPP that was marketed for the use of children three years of age or younger. Momentum for passage was large, and it had overwhelmingly passed the House before that single Senator killed it by threatening to run out the clock with a flood of amendments.
RB 5618 AN ACT REQUIRING THE DEVELOPMENT OF A CARBON FOOTPRINT METHODOLOGY TO ANALYZE STATE PROCUREMENT CONTRACTS: Did not win passage in 2016. CCAG followed and advocated for several bills that would have increased green procurement by state government, including this foundational one.
From the 2015 legislative session:
SB 928 Shared Solar: A shared renewable energy program would have allowed a broader group of energy consumers to meet their energy needs with clean, renewable energy. Whether or not they own an appropriate rooftop or property themselves, Connecticut families and businesses would have been able to subscribe to a local shared renewable energy project and get credit on their utility bills for their portion of the clean power produced.
This legislative season, the Energy and Technology Committee received not one but two bills concerning shared renewables. One called for a full-scale program. The other, supported by the state’s major electric utilities, called for a three-year pilot which has been amended to two-years. In spite of a high-quality study by the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering supporting full roll-out, the committee endorsed the pilot.
Since shared clean energy programs and policies have been developed in over a dozen states, it is difficult to understand exactly what we need to pilot. CCAG is disappointed with this outcome as it will only serve to ensure most Connecticut families and businesses do not have access to renewable energy for years to come.
Connecticut’s timid approach to clean energy penalizes consumers, costs state jobs- CT Mirror May 19th
570 AAC Electric Savings and Fixed Bill Fee: This bill initially capped at $10 the fixed charge all electric customers pay regardless of how much power they use. That charge has skyrocketed to $19.25 for Eversource and $17.25 for United Illuminating, though each company requested much more. By lowering and capping fixed charges, all consumers, including the most vulnerable, would have had a real chance to benefit economically from the rapid advances in technology that are already modernizing the power grid.
The bill — which passed the Senate but never made it to the House floor — eliminated a specific cap and replaced it with a new delineation of what could be calculated as part of the fixed charge, a prospect that had us worried as it could not be determined how this would play out. Some calculations actually projected that the fixed rate would go up! There is some possibility that elements of SB570 may get folded into the "budget implementer" bills during special session.