State Senator Bob Duff (D-Norwalk), Senate Chairman of the General Assembly’s Energy & Technology Committee, joined Governor Dannel P. Malloy on Friday to applaud his announcement that two new, large-scale clean energy projects have been selected to help Connecticut's renewable energy goals at a lower cost to ratepayers.
The pair called the projects steps toward achieving a cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable energy future for residents and businesses.
The cost of power from the two projects – a solar installation slated for land in Sprague and Lisbon, CT, and a wind energy farm in Maine – will average under eight cents per kilowatt hour (k/Wh), a price close to matching the cost of power generated from conventional fossil fuel plants and some of the lowest costs ever obtained for solar and wind power in the region, according to a release from Duff.
“I am thrilled to see that we are moving forward with renewable energy projects that provide environmental benefits, diversify our energy portfolio, and improve reliability while leveraging federal tax credits to benefit Connecticut ratepayers," Duff said in the release.
“The selection of these two projects is a major milestone in implementing our Comprehensive Energy Strategy,” said Governor Malloy in the release. “This announcement is truly a historic moment in Connecticut’s energy history.”
The two projects have signed long-term contracts with the state’s two major electric distribution companies – Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating – for the purchase of the combined 270 megawatts (MW) of electricity and related renewable energy credits they will produce.
The two projects, both expected to be operational by the end of 2016, are:
- Number Nine Wind Farm, a 250 MW land-based wind farm to be located in Aroostook County, Maine. EDP Renewables North America LLC, an international leader in large-scale wind installations, is the project developer.
- Fusion Solar Center, a 20 MW AC solar photovoltaic system which will be located in Sprague and Lisbon, CT on land primarily owned by the Connecticut-based Fusion Paperboard Company. The project developer is HelioSage Energy, known nationally for its solar expertise.
Executive Director of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment Don Strait said in the release, “This procurement will provide cleaner generation for Connecticut residents at costs that are competitive with fossil fuel-based generation, which is a major breakthrough.”
The two projects were selected after extensive analysis and ranking of 47 proposals submitted in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by DEEP on July 8. The RFP was released just weeks after the General Assembly approved and Governor Malloy signed into law Public Act 13-303, An Act Concerning Connecticut’s Clean Energy Goals, according to the release. This Act restructured Connecticut’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), authorizing the state to go forward with this clean energy procurement process for up to four percent of Connecticut’s total electricity load and recommitted Connecticut to obtaining 20% of its electric power from clean energy sources by the year 2020.
The two projects selected will provide 3.5 percent of Connecticut’s total energy load, which represents almost one-fifth of the RPS goal (20% by 2020), according to the release.
The quick timeframe for the procurement process allows the projects to take advantage of federal tax credits for renewable energy projects that expire at the end of 2013, which is helping to reduce the cost of the power they will provide. The procurement team that reviewed the proposals consisted of members of DEEP’s Bureau of Energy and Technology Policy, the Offices of the Consumer Counsel, and Connecticut’s Attorney General.
Next Steps in the Process The power purchase agreements signed by both projects and the state’s electric distribution companies will be submitted to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) for review and approval. Under provisions of Public Act 13-303, PURA has 30 days to act on the contracts. The projects will also be required to obtain all other necessary local and state approvals.
As the next step in broadening Connecticut’s energy mix and achieving the state’s RPS goals, DEEP anticipates moving forward this fall with an additional procurement under Public Act 13-303 that will focus on biomass projects that can meet state requirements.