Senate Bill #9 (SB 9) is the Governor's energy bill, incorporating many elements of the state's Comprehensive Energy Strategy that was released in January 2018.
The Energy & Technology Committee passed an amended -- and still very flawed -- version of the bill on March 29, with most legislators saying they were voting to keep the bill alive but demanding that it be fixed before reaching the Senate floor for another vote. We worked hard with allies to ensure that legislators understood what parts of the bill needed improvement, and we were able to win a long list of changes before a final compromise document was prepared to send to the Senate floor.
This is a long bill, with many parts. Some important components:
- Expanding the Renewable Portfolio Standard: the bill would require at least 40% Class I renewables by 2030. This is an ambitious target, but it is the minimum level necessary to achieve our climate goals and create jobs in the clean energy economy we need. This higher RPS will support the growth of offshore wind in the northeast. Download a coalition RPS Fact Sheet.
- Changing the compensation structure for commercial and residential solar projects: The original SB9 eliminated net metering. We fought for changes, and the bill now allows both residential and commercial customers to choose a version of net metering as an option. We are not happy with where this portion of the bill ended up, but it is likely the best we will be able to achieve this session. (Net metering is the policy that allows customers to reduce the electricity they purchase from utilities when they consume the energy from their solar panels on-site. Basic description here.)
- Establishing a shared solar program: CT has had a very small pilot program for shared solar, allowing people who cannot put solar on their roof (renters, for example) to buy into a community project. This bill will create an expanded program for up to 25 MW of shared solar project annually for six years.
- Restructuring energy efficiency program funding and oversight: The revised version of the bill implements some changes seeking to better protect ratepayer funds from being stolen by the legislature.
While the compromise version of SB9 that is being presented for a vote is far from perfect, the Roundtable has decided that the good outweighs the bad, and we are urging legislators to pass SB9 this session. If it is passed, we will continue working to fix the problems next year, but we won't have to start from scratch.