State Roundup: NJ Scales Back Renewables; NY Expands Net Metering; CT Supports Solar

New Jersey Governor Cuts Renewable Energy Goal

New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie announced last week he will scale back the state’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES). 

Christie says he modify the RES in state’s new 10-year energy master plan, to make it more "achievable," implying the previous administration’s goals were not achievable. 

His new RES would require utilities to source 22.5% of electricity from renewables by 2021, down from 30%. Public hearings will be held before the new target is finalized.

His announcement follows a decision earlier in the month to pull the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the multistate system for trading carbon credits in the Northeast US. 

Christie’s 10-year plan does provide increased support for offshore wind power development. The governor says he believes New Jersey can be "first in the water" with regard to planned offshore wind projects. The master plan details an offshore renewable-energy credit program – similar to a current solar power reimbursement program that has made New Jersey the #2 state in the country for solar development.

Christie says the master plan also calls for a focus on building large solar systems on landfill sites and conserving energy in state-owned buildings. 

New York Allows Remote Net Metering

New York’s Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation that allows the use of remote net metering. 

The Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY) says the law broadens the opportunity for New Yorkers to install on-site renewable energy generating systems.

Farm and nonresidential utility customers who install renewable energy systems will no longer be required to have that system physically connected to the site where the energy is used to receive billing credits for the energy produced. The new statute also accounts for customers with multiple electric meters.

"Governor Cuomo’s signing of this legislation is an important step forward in continually improving and expanding the opportunities for New York to build its clean energy economy, and we commend and appreciate his endorsement," says Carol Murphy, executive director of ACE NY. "The ability to remotely net meter is essential in making renewable energy a viable option for customers whose energy resource may not be located directly adjacent to where electricity is used."

Connecticut Passes Clean Energy Bill

The Connecticut state assembly passed a comprehensive clean energy bill that will help make the state a leader in residential solar and energy efficiency.

Key clean energy provisions in SB 1243 include:

  • Creates the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection by combining the Department of Public Utility Control and Department of Environmental Protection.
  • Creates a renewable energy credit incentive program supporting construction of hundreds of megawatts of larger scale distributed renewable energy systems like solar and wind.
  • Requires the new Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority to create a residential solar rebate program to install at least 30 megawatts of new residential solar systems.
  • Adopts strong efficiency standards for televisions and other products.
  • Allows municipalities to create property assessed financing programs for efficiency retrofits and clean energy systems.
  • Requires state buildings to reduce energy use 10% by 2013 and another 10% by 2018.
  • Creates incentives for utilities and private developers to build 30 megawatts of new large-scale renewable energy systems including solar and wind power.
  • Authorizes the new Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority to invest in energy efficiency retrofits, renewable energy systems, as well as electric and alternative vehicle infrastructure. 

Following unanimous approval in the state Senate and a vote of 139 to 8 in the House, Democrat Governor Dannel Malloy is expected to sign the bill into law any day.

Environment Connecticut Program Director, Christopher Phelps, praised the bill, saying it "moves Connecticut closer to an efficient, affordable, and clean energy future.”

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado could incorporate approximately 70% renewable energy in the first year of a new franchise agreement between the city and Xcel Energy, the utility says.

Xcel presented its plan to the City Council last week.

By 2020, the proposal could help the city approach 90% renewable energy, which could make it the greenest city in the world, Xcel says.

The plan centers around a power purchase agreement that would allow for the construction of new wind farms elsewhere in the state. Xcel also is asking the city to pay for the cost of construction.

While ambitious, the agreement would have to be approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and city residents, many of whom have been frustrated over the last two years by Xcel’s involvement in Boulder’s groundbreaking smart grid project.

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Comments on “State Roundup: NJ Scales Back Renewables; NY Expands Net Metering; CT Supports Solar”

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