- About Us
- News & Events
- Career Center
- Our Blog
Policy & Advocacy
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 September 18 NECEC presented a federal policy panel with The Pew Charitable Trusts at WilmerHale in Boston. NECEC’s VP of Policy and Government Affairs Janet Besser moderated the panel, which featured AEE Vice President of Federal Policy Todd Keller; Jessica Lubetsky, Clean Energy Officer at Pew Charitable Trusts, and WilmerHale Partner Mark Kalpin.
On December 12, NECEC will host 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. NECEC is also developing its federal policy platform.
NECEC issued a statement supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed regulations to curb carbon emissions at new power plants.
In July, NECEC wrapped up action-packed legislative sessions in several states with numerous policy wins and a renewed outlook on issues to focus on this fall. Activity continued through the summer and into September with the Policy & Government Affairs team advocating for strong clean energy policies on the regulatory front and in the implementation phases that followed legislative successes.
NECEC's "New England Legislative Session Round-up" Policy Series event took place in early August, with a state legislative wrap up to review the recent successes in the New England 2013 Legislative Sessions. Download the summary from the State Policy Series event.
In July, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) proposed regulations to implement the emissions cap reductions agreed to by the RGGI states earlier in the year by releasing a notice of intent to amend the section of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies (RCSA) overseeing the implementation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). NECEC issued a press statement applauding DEEP for moving quickly on this important issue.
Wind siting regulations are headed back to the legislative review committee. NECEC will continue to advocate for their adoption to enable Connecticut to reap the local economic, energy and environmental benefits of siting wind in the state. We will be coordinating with other stakeholders in this effort. The regulations are needed to allow wind development to move forward in Connecticut.
In late August, the Connecticut DEEP released its tentative approval of the 2013 – 2015 Electric Gas Conservation and Loan Management (CL&M) Plan for public comment. NECEC encouraged members to submit public comment supporting the increase in energy efficiency funding.
Connecticut is hard at work on the 2013 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The draft IRP for 2014 will be issued in January 2014, followed by a 60-day comment period and public hearings in January and February, with a final deadline of March or April 2014.
The Omnibus Energy Bill, LD 1559, "An Act To Reduce Energy Costs, Increase Energy Efficiency, Promote Electric System Reliability and Protect the Environment," was passed in July over Governor Paul LePage's veto. This bill will save Maine energy consumers and businesses over $200 million per year by increasing investments in energy efficiency, spurring additional gas infrastructure and funding programs to reduce home heating costs. NECEC strongly supported and advocated for its passage.
On July 17, E2Tech hosted (and NECEC sponsored) an event with Maine's energy leaders as they examined the recently enacted energy law and provided guidance on next steps, implementation of key provisions, and impacts on businesses and homeowners. Governor LePage’s Energy Director Patrick Woodcock, PUC Chairman Tom Welch, Efficiency Maine Executive Director Michael Stoddard and Public Advocate Tim Schneider met with E2Tech members.
At the same time and after last-minute negotiations, the Legislature approved Governor LePage's amendment to LD 1472, which reopened a contracting process for offshore wind. This change allowed the University of Maine to submit a bid for its own offshore wind demonstration project against a proposal from Norway's Statoil, which was already reviewed and approved by the Maine Public Utility Commission (PUC). Citing uncertainty in the contract process, Statoil has suspended work. The University of Maine proposal was submitted in early September from a newly formed company - Aqua Ventus I, GP LLC and a decision is expected by the end of the year.
NECEC supports pathways to commercialization of University of Maine's unique floating platform technology, and also supported the Statoil proposal. We expressed concern about this last minute change to the process under which Statoil has invested millions of dollars in planning for the country’s first offshore wind floating platform project off the coast of Maine. NECEC encourages global leaders to come to New England and invest in projects here, while also partnering on commercialization of new breakthroughs from the region's research universities.
On September 20, the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee held the first of five interim meetings to discuss energy bills that will be carried over from the last legislative session for consideration in 2014. These bills cover two major areas: incentives for renewable energy that will be paid for by electricity ratepayers and revisions to expedited wind permitting laws. Issues include changes to the renewable portfolio standard to allow large-scale hydropower from Canada; pilot programs for community energy systems; RPS carve-outs for thermal energy sources, particularly wood pellets; reinstatement of rebates for solar installations; long-term contracts for renewable energy; and feed-in tariff programs. Legislators will also consider proposals intended to slow down or halt wind projects in Maine.
On September 23, Massachusetts announced that three of the state’s utilities will purchase 565 MW of power from six wind projects in Maine and New Hampshire. NECEC President Peter Rothstein was quoted in MA the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs press release: “NECEC is thrilled to see these proposals submitted and looks forward to a thorough and swift review by the Department of Public Utilities. Massachusetts is truly a leader in the effort to bring lower cost, clean energy to consumers. Massachusetts’ long-term contracting process should serve as a model for other states as they seek to develop power purchase agreements for renewables.”
The NECEC has been active on Solar Renewable Energy Credit II (SREC II) and net metering issues in Massachusetts. NECEC's Dan Bosley attended the solar policy stakeholders meeting held on August 12 by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), where DOER presented its latest proposal for the SREC II program. NECEC and SEIA filed comments on SREC II August 26 and are collaborating on next steps.
On July 2, 2013, the Massachusetts DPU's Grid Modernization Steering Committee filed its report with the DPU. As a member of the Grid Modernization Steering Committee, NECEC led a "Clean Energy Caucus," including clean energy company representatives, ISO-NE, MassCEC and ENE, to make recommendations on principles and the regulatory framework to advance grid modernization in Massachusetts to achieve the Commonwealth’s energy and environmental objectives to improve efficiency, manage costs, integrate distributed resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. NECEC, several Caucus members and several of our members submitted comments in support of our recommendations in the Report. Janet Besser, NECEC's VP of Policy and Government Affairs, spoke on a panel about grid modernization at the September 20 New England Restructuring Roundtable.
In July and September, the Massachusetts Legislature held hearings on nearly 40 bills on renewable energy and energy efficiency and NECEC testified in support of numerous bills, including the Renewable Thermal Act (S1593), which would add thermal renewable energy to the state’s Alternative Portfolio Standard; the Oil Heat Efficiency Bill (H879); the combined heat-and-power (CHP) bill (S1599), and the Commercial PACE bill (S177). NECEC will closely monitor these bills as the Legislative session continues.
The New Hampshire legislative session wrapped up with the passage of two RPS-related bills. Unfortunately, at the end of the session, $16 million of Renewable Energy Fund monies were taken to balance the budget.
NECEC and other clean energy supporters successfully turned several anti-wind and other siting bills into a requirement for the Office of Energy Planning (OEP) to conduct a study of New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee structure and process. The study process has begun with the engagement of a consultant, Raab Associates, and the formation of a Coordinating Committee. NECEC VP of Policy and Government Affairs Janet Besser has been invited to join the Site Evaluation Coordinating Committee, which held its first meeting on September 19. The Office of Energy and Planning will also be setting up stakeholder focus meetings and public input sessions as part of this process.
The development of 10-year state energy strategy, required by SB191, is also in its early stages. OEP is crafting the scope and an RFP to bring on a consultant to work with the eight-member council to create the energy strategy.
NECEC is also watching developments on Commercial PACE financing and competitive electricity markets in New Hampshire.
Thank you to NECEC members who attended a very productive Policy Planning Meeting on September 12 in Providence. NECEC’s Charity Pennock and Dan Bosley met with the RI Senate President's and Speaker's staff following the meeting.
NECEC Utility Affiliate National Grid hosted a Policy Series event on November 1st to discuss the importance of grid modernization and what kind of regulatory framework utilities need to make investment decisions. Full slides from this event are available here.
NECEC issued a press statement applauding the Department of the Interior’s success with the first offshore wind lease auction on July 31. Rhode Island-based Deepwater Wind won both leases.
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.
Janet Besser participated as a speaker at REV’s Annual Conference on October 29, 2013.
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
This summer, NECEC worked with other clean energy and environmental advocates to protect RGGI revenues in Massachusetts, successfully urging the adoption of the Senate version of language regarding the use of RGGI funds to compensate Somerset for lost tax revenues due to the closure of the Brayton Point power plant. This followed successful efforts in the spring in Connecticut and New Hampshire to ensure RGGI revenues were properly used.
NECEC filed comments on the draft regulations to implement the RGGI cap reductions agreed by the governors in February 2013. In Massachusetts, comments were filed on August 12th, and in Connecticut, comments were filed August 16th. On August 14th, NECEC's Dan Bosley attended New Hampshire's RGGI bill signing ceremony. Governor Maggie Hassan signed legislation including implementation arrangements for new RGGI provisions, and group net metering.
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
The Policy Committee meets regularly to set the Council's advocacy agenda. To join the Policy Committee, contact Janet Besser, jbesser [at] cleanenergycouncil.org.
Report to the Department of Public Utilities from the Steering Committee - D.P.U. 12-76, Investigation by the Department of Public Utilities on its Own Motion into the Modernization of the Electric Grid - 6/24/13