Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell vetoed Senate Bill 493, which would pave the way for an SREC Program in the state. Rell argued that the Bill, titled An Act Reducing Electricity Costs and Promoting Renewable Energy, will fail to accomplish both aspects of its stated intent. The Bill declared that “The Division of Research, Energy and Technology shall, in accordance with the comprehensive plan approved pursuant to section 16a-3a of the general statutes, as amended by this act, (1) increase the state’s energy independence and security by promoting conservation and efficiency and the use of diverse indigenous and regional electric resources; [and] (2) encourage the use of renewable energy resources and new electric technologies, particularly technologies that support economic development in the state and promote environmental sustainability.” While the Bill never directly mentioned SRECs among a wide variety of energy related topics, Rell’s veto will slow the process of the creation of an SREC market in Connecticut.
The Bill’s proponents claim that the legislation would reduce energy costs, spark growth in the state’s renewable energy industry, create jobs, and stabilize the state’s electricity market. Senator Rell argues that these claims are “eerily reminiscent” to those made on a bill in Connecticut a decade ago, which has since failed to reduce utility prices or help spawn renewable energy in the State. Rell claims that the bill “is not in the best interests of the ratepayers or taxpayers of our state.” Rell never directly mentioned any effect on an SREC market, instead attacking the fiscal irresponsibility of the Bill.
The effect of the veto is being felt heavily in the state’s solar power industry. When asked about the prospects of solar power in the state, Mike Silvestrini, president of Middletown-based Green Skies Renewable Energy replied, “There is absolutely zero opportunity in Connecticut without the energy bill. Eventually we will have to make a decision on whether we can remain in this state.” The legislation would have provided the solar industry with incentives to build large projects on commercial facilities, much bigger business than small residential jobs. The idea was to bring in enough business that Economies of scale could kick in and the business could become self-sustaining.
Although Rell has vetoed the Bill, it could still pass if Democrats are able to drum up enough of a majority to override the veto. If they are unsuccessful, any hopes for an SREC market in Connecticut will have to be put on hold until the next round of legislative sessions.
Meanwhile, SRECTrade is exploring ways to help solar owners in Connecticut generate and sell SRECs outside of the state until the government puts a local market together.