In 2013, there were several attempts in Connecticut to incorporate hydropower into the state’s RES law. One of these passed the legislature and was signed into law, resulting in a minor change to existing law.
The bill incorporating hydropower, SB 1138, was co-sponsored by ALEC member and Representative DebraLee Hoven, former State Chair in Connecticut, and passed after multiple amendments as a minor change to the renewable energy standard (RES). According to ALEC’s bylaws, State Chairs are responsible for making sure that ALEC bills are introduced. The law now allows hydroelectric power to qualify for the RES, but only if utilities prove that they cannot get enough power from solar, wind, and fuel cells.
A previous bill to add existing hydropower into Connecticut’s RES, HB 6086, was solely sponsored by ALEC’s Former National Chairman, Connecticut Representative John Piscopo. Rep. Piscopo has been a member of ALEC’s Energy, Environment, and Agriculture (EEA) task force, where the RES rollback model bills originated.
Other bills were also introduced to weaken the state’s clean energy law. HB 5475, sponsored by ALEC member Rep. Lawrence G. Miller (a member of the EEA task force), would have slowed the implementation of the RES by five years. Finally, the state’s Energy & Technology Joint Committee introduced HB 6532, which stalled after public hearing. It would have lessened the non-compliance fee for utilities not meeting the RES goals. Three known ALEC members sit on the committee: Rep. Dan Carter, Rep. Lawrence Miller, and Rep. John Piscopo.
Fossil fuel front groups including Heartland Institute, Institute for Energy Research, and SPN member The Yankee Institute, applauded the use of existing hydro in Connecticut’s RES law, but also included a call for full repeal of Connecticut’s RES. The Yankee Institute made repealing the RES a policy priority in their 2012 Policy Road Map.