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May 5, 2016 Connecticut Green Guide

Virtual Net Metering bill headed to governor's desk

Though the legislature failed to pass a budget by Wednesday’s midnight deadline, lawmakers did move along some energy bills in the waning hours of the session, including one on virtual net metering.

Among them was Senate Bill 394, which is expected to clear a backlog of “stranded” towns that have started developing solar and other renewable energy projects for the virtual net metering program. The program allows government to allocate the power to municipally-owned facilities.

The House passed the legislation Wednesday, following similar action by the Senate late last month.

The legislation requires the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to authorize an additional $6 million of virtual net metering credits annually to municipal customer hosts that submitted applications to one of the state’s two utilities by April 13.

With a special session expected next week, much is still unclear about the budget and its impact on clean-energy funding.

The Acadia Center’s Connecticut Director William Dornbos said Thursday that his nonprofit remained concerned about whether a proposed raid of clean energy funds would end up in the final budget. That raid, originally proposed at $42 million, was reduced to just over $3 million recently.

“...the raid, at any amount, still sets a bad policy precedent for future legislative sessions,” Dornbos said. “We are worried that these funds, which come from the state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, will be increasingly looked to as a budget band-aid in future sessions, especially since the state’s long-term budget picture still looks difficult.”

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