New NECEC Report Underscores Connecticut’s Important Role in Driving New England’s Renewable Energy Economy
Analysis shows that without adjustments to RPS, growth of the clean energy sector and other economic benefits are at risk
A new report released by NECEC (the Northeast Clean Energy Council and the NECEC Institute), today found that increasing and extending Connecticut’s annual Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) growth rate would help diversify the region’s energy sources, lower wholesale electricity prices, create new jobs in the state and the region, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) are the foundation of clean energy markets and a proven policy tool to support successful, cost-effective renewable energy development in 29 states and Washington, D.C.
Currently, Connecticut’s RPS target will reach 20 percent by 2020 and remain at that level thereafter. To continue to drive the economic, environmental and energy benefits that the development and build of clean energy projects bring to the state and region, today’s report found that increasing Connecticut’s annual 1.5 percent RPS growth rate and extending it beyond 2020 would be critical.
“Connecticut has made remarkable progress as a regional leader in driving clean energy economic growth and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, to maintain its position, this modeling suggests that Connecticut’s RPS growth should not stop in 2020,” said Peter Rothstein, NECEC President. “Based on the analysis released today, it is clear that extending the annual 1.5 percent RPS growth rate beyond 2020 will better position the Connecticut to meet its goals of diversifying its energy sources, driving job growth and enhancing its leadership on clean energy.”
NECEC, in partnership with Mass Energy Consumers Alliance, commissioned An Analysis of the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard to analyze the economic, energy and environmental impacts of increasing the RPS in New England’s two largest markets: Massachusetts and Connecticut. The report was developed by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc. and Sustainable Energy Advantage, LLC.
In Connecticut, the RPS increases by 1.5 percent per year and plateaus in 2020 at 20 percent renewables. Currently, the RPS in Massachusetts increases by 1 percent per year indefinitely, putting it on track to be 25 percent renewable by 2030. The report examines increasing the RPS under four scenarios with varying natural gas prices, and with increased levels of electricity use that would result from greater electric vehicle deployment.
According to the report, an extension of the 1.5 percent annual increase to the RPS in Connecticut paired with increasing Massachusetts’ annual RPS growth rate by 2 or 3 percent would:
- Diversify the region’s energy sources – New England currently relies heavily on natural gas to generate electricity. An increased RPS would diversify the region’s energy generation and could save consumers up to $2.1 billion if gas prices increase significantly.
- Create new jobs – Collectively, an increase in the Connecticut and Massachusetts RPS could create as many as 43,000 net jobs over a 12-year period across the region, or about 3,500 jobs in each year.
- Lower wholesale prices – Sources such as wind and solar have zero fuel costs, enabling utilities and suppliers to lock in rates through long-term pricing and pass along savings to consumers on their energy bills. This new report found that an increased RPS will decrease wholesale market prices by up to 8.1 percent
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions – Under the current RPS, the report found that emissions levels from the electric sector in New England would decrease by 60 percent of 1990 levels. Additional renewable sources could increase this reduction to between 62 and 71 percent by 2030.
To read the report in its entirety, visit: http://bit.ly/NECECRPS.
NECEC is the premier voice of businesses building a world-class clean energy hub in the Northeast, helping clean energy companies start, scale and succeed with our unique business, innovation and policy leadership. NECEC includes the Northeast Clean Energy Council (a nonprofit business member organization), and NECEC Institute (a nonprofit focused on industry research, innovation, policy development and communications initiatives). NECEC brings together business leaders and key stakeholders to engage in influential policy discussions and business initiatives while building connections that propel the clean energy industry forward.