Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island are working together in order to gain cheaper renewable energy for their taxpayers.
The West Hartford News reports that the three New England states have agreed to work together by issuing a joint request for proposals (RFP) for clean energy projects. Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokesman Dennis Schain said that the states released a draft for the RFP on Wednesday, March 4th. The draft will be reviewed until March 26th and a final draft will be released later in the spring.
Schain mentioned diversifying New England’s fuel mix and improving winter compatibility systems as other key priorities for the RFP.
Issuing an RFP is “the way we can make the most efficient use of our resources to attract new clean energy projects at the lowest possible cost for ratepayers while advancing our interests in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said. “The joint procurement process opens the possibility of procuring large-scale projects and transmission to deliver clean energy on a scale that no single state could secure on its own.”
Bill Dornbos, senior attorney with the Acadia Center, a non-profit organization that works with government agencies and energy companies for renewable energy initiatives, said that the three states have the largest demand for electricity in New England and therefore, have an advantage.
The states “are significant consumers of energy and so they have a lot of bargaining power,” Dornbos said. “I think it is a smart strategy. Whoever wins the competition is going to have fairly cost effective pricing.”
“There’s a lot of details that need to be worked out,” he said, explaining how the Acadia Center will review the RFP draft for the three states. “We need to see what costs will or will not be have to be included in the contract.”
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker also commented on the partnership, expressing his desire for more cooperation between the states and, in particular, “the growing need for regional cooperation in pursuing natural gas expansion.”
The RFP will ask for wind, solar, small hydro, biomass, and fuel cell energy that produce at the minimum 20 megawatts of electricity each. In addition, the proposal will include provisions for projects to provide Connecticut 500 megawatts’ worth of clean energy over new or existing transmission lines.