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September 14, 2017 CT Green Guide

CT greenlights major renewable projects

RK008 | PURA has approved contracts for 28 renewable generation projects, including a dozen located in Connecticut.

The state's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has signed off on power purchase contracts negotiated between the Connecticut’s two utilities and the developers of 28 renewable energy generation projects, selected last year in a major government-led bidding process.

PURA recently issued final decisions for six larger projects, as big as 126 megawatts in size, and for 22 “small-scale” projects between two and 20 megawatts.

Of all generation projects with approved contracts, a dozen -- all of them solar -- would be located in Connecticut. The largest is the 49-megawatt Quinebaug Solar Project straddling the Brooklyn-Canterbury border, developed by NextEra Energy Resources.

In all, the projects are expected to generate just over 700,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year for Connecticut, according to PURA documents.

The 28 projects -- which include four wind projects outside of Connecticut -- have a combined capacity of 658 megawatts. An additional energy efficiency project included in the mix is worth 34 megawatts.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection notified winning bidders last fall.

The larger projects were a part of a three-state selection process led jointly with Massachusetts and Rhode Island, while the small-scale RFP was led by Connecticut government alone.

Connecticut will have a roughly 44 percent share of the larger projects' output, with the other two states getting the rest.

Selection of winning bidders was the first step. All developers needed power purchase agreements with utilities Eversource and United Illuminating approved by PURA as well.

Several projects dropped out during the contract negotiation process, according to PURA.

For example, an approximately 20-megawatt solar farm in Enfield that was a winning bidder dropped out of contract negotiations in the larger RFP but secured a contract in the smaller RFP. The developer had bid into both. 

As projects from the two RFPs progress, state officials are already beginning to eye another energy procurement, recently authorized by the legislature, aimed specifically at fuel cells, which struggled to compete against solar in the large and small-scale RFPs.

To see which projects received approved contracts for the large and small RFPs, click here and here.

Correction: This story incorrectly stated the developer of the Quinebaug Solar Project. NextEra Energy Resources acquired Ranger Solar's New England portfolio earlier this year and is now the project's developer. Details about an Enfield solar project have also been clarified.

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