The bill was a major issue in the energy landscape that met Gov. Lamont when he took office with an agenda that was at odds parts of the 2018 law.
“This was a big one coming into this year,” Arconti said just prior to the committee vote, two days before its deadline to act. “I think we have a really good framework going forward to a final product, and not having to address it for a while after the session.”
“It’s way better than it was, and it’s going to save Connecticut jobs, but it won’t expand the solar industry,” said Amy McLean Salls, senior policy advocate for the Acadia Center.
Anyone who thought legislation passed last year would extinguish controversy over the transition away from that widely used method of compensating solar energy customers for their excess power would have been wrong.
The direction from the Lamont administration has been clear, said Acadia Center Connecticut Director Amy McLean Salls.
“I don’t understand why, in my opinion, we’re regressing back to a place where we are not paying attention to Lamont administration goals,” she said. “We need to be moving forward here and fixing the problem.”
Acadia Center, among the top tier of regional environmental advocacy groups, had no representative on the committee, but put together its own priority plan – a memo to the incoming governor.
That plan offers specific prescriptions, bolstered by data, for how to achieve changes in five key areas: transportation, including infrastructure and adoption of electric vehicles which while steady, has been slow; transition to cleaner more resilient local power; improving energy performance and emissions reductions in buildings; reforming rules for the grid; and improving community and individual energy choice – essentially the ability to use more distributed and flexibly designed generation.
“We’re taking an approach that’s not just about clean energy. We’re taking an approach that’s about economic competitiveness,” said Amy McLean Salls, Acadia’s Connecticut director and senior policy advocate. “We also need to put into place the policies and the personnel who also can be thinking innovatively and not looking at the past as the way to the future.”
New Analysis Released to Incoming Connecticut Administration
HARTFORD, CT – Today, Acadia Center released new analysis showing the impact a shift toward better transportation infrastructure and cleaner energy would have in improving Connecticut’s economic and environmental future. Acadia Center’s “Memo to the Next Governor of Connecticut” recommends concrete steps that will deliver significant economic, consumer and public health benefits to the state. The analysis shows that modernizing the state’s transportation system alone could produce over $6.9 billion in new economic benefits, add 14,900 new jobs, and create $3.7 billion in public health and other benefits. All told, Acadia Center’s analysis indicates that the state could add about $11 billion in new economic benefits and create about 33,000 new jobs through five transportation and energy reforms.
“Making Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure and its energy system work better for all state residents and businesses is smart economic strategy,” said Daniel Sosland, Acadia Center’s President. “This analysis focuses on five transportation and energy reforms that will have the most direct impact on Connecticut’s economy while also enhancing quality of life for its people and communities. The recommended reforms are achievable, the benefits are concrete, and the time is now to build a stronger Connecticut.”
The memo calls on the new administration to undertake five reforms to achieve these goals and benefits:
1. Modernize transportation infrastructure to improve safety, access, and convenience;
2. Transition power generation to cheaper, cleaner, and more resilient local sources;
3. Improve energy performance in buildings to reduce costly energy use and emissions;
4. Reform energy grid rules to reduce high energy costs and speed energy innovation;
5. Give communities and consumers more control over their energy choices.
“This new analysis underscores how important it is to remake Connecticut’s transportation and energy systems as a core part of the state’s new economic strategy,” said Amy McLean Salls, Acadia Center’s Connecticut Director. “Newly-unleashed investments and innovation will drive economic progress, improve quality of life, and extend benefits to communities and residents who have historically been overlooked.”
“The five recommended reforms complement Governor-Elect Lamont’s plans to create new economic growth and jobs in the state. These reforms will help make that vision of a more prosperous and livable Connecticut a reality,” said McLean Salls.
This legislation effectively gets rid of net-metering, making Connecticut one of the first states to do that. For commercial projects, that would come in about a year and a half. For residential customers it will be in a few years. Existing customers would be grandfathered for about 20 years.
In place of net-metering consumers would have a choice. One would be rates – known as tariffs – and formulas for applying them that would be determined by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. Some argue those unknown factors might be disruptive, if not downright stagnating for the solar industry in the state.
Along with many allies, Acadia Center has worked for months to fix this critically flawed bill, which will imperil the future of distributed solar in Connecticut,” Amy McLean Salls, Acadia Connecticut director, said in a statement. “Several improvements were made, but it is unfortunate that important progress on grid-scale renewables was paired in S.B. 9 with a severe setback on distributed solar.”