NECEC actively advocates for a slate of federal policy positions aimed at accelerating the regional and national clean energy economy. As we know from our members and our economic and policy analysis, putting a price on carbon is essential to catalyze the innovation, development and deployment of clean energy technologies.
On December 12, NECEC held its DC Fly-In to reconnect with members of the New England Congressional delegation, Congressional leaders, and key Administration stakeholders to share our perspectives on the growth of the industry and on clean energy-related issues, programs and legislation under consideration. Read NECEC's federal policy platform.
In December, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) issued its RFP for biomass, landfill gas and hydro projects and announced the winning bids (PSNH’s Schiller plant and Burlington Electric’s McNeill plant) in late January.
Wind Siting Regulations
Local wind development in Connecticut has been stymied by the temporary moratorium on wind siting that has been in place since 2011. To capture the local benefits of wind, this moratorium should be lifted and wind siting regulations approved. NECEC focused much of its efforts this fall on gaining legislative committee approval of wind siting regulations. However, despite several attempts, the Regulations Review Committee has not approved them. We are working with CT policymakers to achieve adoption in the spring.
On January 15, 2014, CT DEEP Commissioner Dan Esty (keynote speaker at NECEC’s 2011 Green Tie Gala) announced his resignation effective February 3, 2014. Former chief of staff Robert Klee has been nominated to succeed him as DEEP Commissioner.
Maine’s Carry Over Energy Legislation
Throughout the fall and into January, the Maine Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee held meetings to discuss renewable energy legislation that will be carried over from the last legislative session for consideration in 2014. The carry over bills cover two major areas: incentives for renewable energy that will be paid for by electricity ratepayers and revisions to expedited wind permitting laws. Legislators will also consider proposals intended to slow down or halt wind projects in Maine.
In early January, the bill An Act to Support Solar Energy Development in Maine, LD 1652, was introduced. This bill would establish specific goals for the installation of solar energy in Maine and encourage the state to support solar energy generation, development and manufacturing. NECEC supported this legislation by submitting comments in support of its passage.
The week of February 24, NECEC VP, Policy and Government Affairs, Janet Gail Besser and NECEC President Peter Rothstein testified before the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) Grid Modernization hearing. The hearings are the latest step in the DPU’s Grid Modernization proceeding, which began on December 23, 2013. The DPU outlined a straw proposal to require electric distribution companies to file 10-year Grid Modernization Plans that include Comprehensive Advanced Metering Plans. NECEC filed comments on the straw proposal on January 17, 2014. Reply comments are due March 21, 2014.
SREC II Program
The proposed SREC II regulations were filed in early January and are expected to take effect the beginning of the second quarter of 2014.
In early January “An Act Relative to Net Metering” was introduced in the Massachusetts Legislature. The bill, would include a time-based net metering cap allowing all qualified projects requesting net metering before December 31, 2016 to qualify. It would also establish a Net Metering Commission to evaluate the long-term viability of net metering. In 2012, the Massachusetts Legislature raised the Net Metering Cap and it is already being exceeded due to the success of the Massachusetts solar programs. The bill was subject of a hearing at the State House on March 11, 2014. NECECVP Policy and Government Affiars Janet Gail Besser testified.
NECEC’s Policy and Government Affairs team will be working with NECEC members to file comments in related proceedings opened by the DPU on electric vehicles and time varying rates. NECEC has been participating in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)’s Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Initiative (MEVI), represented by Charity Pennock and Janet Gail Besser.
Also on the regulatory front, the MA Department of Energy Resources issued its Determination of Eligible Technologies for the Section 83 A Long Term Contract Carve Out for newly developed, small, emerging or diverse technologies. The electric distribution companies must solicit proposals for long-term contracts for these technologies by December 31, 2016. (Related legislation, supported by NECEC, to clarify that fuels cells qualify for these contracts was filed in January 2014.)
Renewable Thermal and PACE
NECEC’s legislative efforts in the fall were focused on the Renewable Thermal Act (S1593), which was reported out of the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee in early January, the PACE bill (S177), which is still held up in the Economic Development Committee, the Oil Heat Efficiency Bill (H879) and the combined heat-and-power (CHP) bill (S1599).
Clean Energy Procurement Bill
Representative Mark Cusack and Senator Barry Finegold filed the bill An Act relative to Clean Energy Resources, which would require the state’s utilities to jointly solicit proposals for approximately 2,400 megawatts of clean energy, which includes wind and solar and hydropower. The bill would also set up a structure to encourage coordination among other New England states.
Wind siting was a large focus in New Hampshire this fall. NECEC VP, Policy and Government Affairs, Janet Gail Besser served as a member of the Site Evaluation Coordinating Committee, advising the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning (OEP), which was directed to undertake a study of siting processes in legislation last year. OEP held a series of stakeholder focused meetings and public input sessions as part of this process and filed its report with the legislature at the end of December 2013. Further action is expected in 2014.
Additionally, on January 29, 2013, the New Hampshire House voted down HB 580, which would have, which would have imposed a wind moratorium in New Hampshire. .
State Energy Strategy
New Hampshire is in the early stages of developing a 10-year state energy strategy, required by legislation passed last year. NECEC is collaborating with the New Hampshire Clean Technology Council, an arm of New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association to engage in this process.
Distributed Generation Legislation
S-2690, the Distrivuted Generation Growth Program, is pending in the Rhode Island General Assembly. The bill would establish a 160-megawatt, five-year program (four times the size of the current program) that will provide 20-year tariffed payments to a variety of distributed generation technologies. It also includes provisions for the procurement of the remaining megawatts in the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Standard (RES) long term contracting program and would require a rate design review proceeding that could provide a forum for changes to the regulatory framework to advance grid modernization and support distributed energy resources. NECEC lead a very active Policy Committee Rhode Island Distributed Generation Working Group, working with National Grid and Conservation Law Foundation in Rhode Island, to develop the draft legislation.
Rhode Island State Energy Plan
NECEC continues to be involved in the development of Rhode Island’s State Energy Plan. NECEC’s Rhode Island State Coordinator, Charity Pennock, serves on the State Energy Plan Advisory Council and also serves on the state’s Distributed Generation Standard Contracts Board.
The Vermont legislative session wrapped up with the defeat of a 3-year wind moratorium. Other wins included $3 million for the Clean Energy Development Fund, $10 million in loans for residential and industrial efficiency and renewable energy projects and streamlined permitting process for farm methane projects.
In January 2014, the six New England governors announced a cooperative regional initiative designed to expand energy infrastructure in New England. The six New England governors sent a letter to ISO-New England that requested technical support and assistance with tariff filings related to electric and natural gas infrastructure in New England. The full letter and other information can be found on ISO-NE’s website.
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
All of the RGGI states have now adopted regulations implementing the RGGI cap reductions agreed to by the Governors in February 2013.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's May 30th, 2012 Speech - "Shaping Our Energy Future"
Courtesy of the MA Governor's Office
NECEC's First State Clean Energy Day - Massachusetts, March, 2012