June 21, 2018

Malloy inks climate change, renewable energy bills

Photos / Pablo Robles
Photos / Pablo Robles
A solar thermal system at Dowling on Main in Manchester.
PHOTO | Gov. Malloy office
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Wednesday signing two bills on climate change and renewable energy.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has signed a pair of bills aimed at boosting the state's clean energy portfolio and limiting greenhouse gas emissions and coastal development.

The governor on Wednesday inked Senate Bill 7, which targets reducing greenhouse gas emissions 45 percent below 2001 levels by 2030. It also requires future coastal developments built by the state and funded by the state or federal grants or loans to consider a projected sea level rise of two feet by 2050.

Under S.B. 9, the new law requires by 2030 that 40 percent of electricity from any supplier or distribution company is purchased from renewable energy sources. The measure is expected to increase electricity costs for ratepayers, although it's not clear by how much.

The new law also removes a cap on virtual net metering, setting a flat rate for solar power, as businesses and homeowners currently collect a credit for excess power generated by their systems.

The two bills were overwhelmingly backed by the House and Senate.

"The time to act is now," Malloy said. "The effects of climate change, which is unquestionably man-made, can be felt in Connecticut and poses a threat to our residents. Rising sea levels are putting our coastal communities in harm's way."

State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Rob Klee said the environmental bills signal Connecticut's bold actions to address climate change.

"While the current federal administration continues to deny human induced climate change as real, it is incumbent upon states to take action," Klee said. "For the sake of future generations to follow, I encourage other states to look at what we have done as a state and follow our lead."

In May, environmental groups supporting the majority of S.B. 9 criticized the revised net metering structure, a process that now tasks the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to determine what price utilities should pay owners for their electricity.

Opponents of the provision had argued the process could lead to owners receiving less than retail rates for their solar output.

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