But in a letter to Klee last week, 24 environmental groups — including the Acadia Center, the Sierra Club and the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters — challenged Klee’s assumption, saying DEEP’s plan is too modest to achieve those goals.
Read the full article from the Connecticut Post here.
Two dozen officials from groups like Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Acadia Center, Sierra Club, CT Roundtable on Climate & Jobs and Connecticut Citizen Action Group signed a letter delivered to DEEP ahead of its Thursday afternoon public hearing on the draft Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES), released last month.
Read the full article from the Hartford Business Journalhere.
A group of 24 energy and environmental groups submitted a letter to state officials in advance of Wednesday’s public hearing detailing their fears that the new plan falls short of what is needed to achieve Connecticut’s energy goals.
The coalition protesting different aspects of the proposed energy strategy includes the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Acadia Center, and Clean Water Action. Among the other organizations signing on to the letter were the Connecticut Sierra Club, Solar Connecticut Inc., the Connecticut Citizens Action Group, and the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters.
Read the full article from the Hartford Courant here.
The Acadia Center said Thursday that while Connecticut’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased over the past five years the reforms proposed as part of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy “appear to raise significant new challenges to distributed solar deployment that put its crucial climate mitigation at real risk.”
Renewable power is of particular concern to those who champion solar power, such as the Acadia Center.
“While nationwide, forward-thinking states are looking towards smart, interconnected homes, often powered by rooftop solar, the draft CES recommendations for customer-sited solar are a major step away from that future,” Kerry Schlichting, policy advocate for the Acadia Center, said.
“The new policy package for rooftop solar outlined in the draft CES will create barriers for Connecticut residents and businesses who want to install solar, limiting their right to produce and consume their own clean energy,” she added.
The Acadia position paper stated that the draft CES recommends a cap of 20 MW (megawatts) a year through 2030 for customer-sited solar installations.
“In 2016 alone, Connecticut installed about 90 MW of customer-sited solar,” according to Schlichting. “The new cap would result in a nearly 80 percent cut in new installations in 2021 compared to 2016.”
The group is also advocating for a way that allows residents to bank unused kilowatt hours from their solar installations in a way that benefits all ratepayers. There’s a dispute over how much value to give the solar kilowatt.
The report estimates the value of a solar kilowatt hour at 15 cents, but doesn’t, according to Schlichting, go into detail about how it arrived at that number.
“There’s a risk that the draft CES, if enacted, would cut the legs out from under solar PV deployment in our state – effectively preventing consumers from having the choice of rooftop solar. To meet our climate targets and continue to grow the state’s clean energy economy, we need policies that enable even more customer-sited solar, not restrict it.” Schlichting said.
Dennis Schain, a spokesman for the DEEP, said the draft report “presents DEEP’s best thinking about how to meet the goal of deploying the maximum amount of clean energy resources to reduce carbon emissions in the most cost effective manner for ratepayers.”
He said the report is open for comment and that includes comments from the Acadia Center.
In its position paper, Acadia Center said it has four high priority concerns regarding distributed solar, stating each concern must be resolved in the final CES for it to be satisfied.
Those concerns are: continue the expansion of new distributed solar capacity; improve, but do not end, net metering; properly account for all ratepayer benefits from distributed solar; and, seriously commit to a full statewide community solar solar program.
“Connecticut should be heading down a path towards consumer choice and ambitious goals, not new arbitrary limits,” Schlichting said.
The nonprofit Acadia Center says it’s concerned about a possible decline in the growth of customer-sited solar installations.
In a report, Acadia, which advocates for clean energy and consumers, said the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy, a draft of which was released last week, calls for an “arbitrary limit” on the growth of Connecticut’s in-state market for distributed solar.
“Distributed” means the electricity is generated near where it’s used. The most common type of distributed solar is on rooftops.
Although DEEP is pushing for an overall expansion of renewable energy in the state, Acadia said provisions laid out in the draft CES would lead to a nearly 80 percent decline in distributed solar installations in 2021 compared to 2016.
If policymakers move ahead with the draft recommendations, there would be capacity for 20 megawatts of distributed solar per year. That would compare to approximately 90 megawatts installed in 2016.
DEEP is accepting public comments on the more than 200-page draft until Sept. 25.
Asked about Acadia’s concerns, the agency responded Thursday:
“The draft 2017 CES presents DEEP’s best thinking about how to meet the goal of deploying the maximum amount of clean energy resources to reduce carbon emissions in the most cost effective manner for ratepayers. We are now accepting comment on the draft CES and we will carefully review all responses – including those offered by the Acadia Center – to produce the strongest and most effective final strategy possible.”
DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee said last week that the agency wants to rely on larger grid-side renewables, such as solar and wind farms, which DEEP says are more cost-effective than distributed generation.
However, the agency also acknowledged that rooftop solar has “non-price advantages” for the state, such as reducing peak demand and helping large energy users reduce their bills.
Read the full article from the Hartford Business Journal here.