The percentage of electricity generation from zero carbon sources in Connecticut has been declining.
On September 3, 2019, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order No. 3 that seeks to address climate change adaption and resiliency, and calls for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), in consultation with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), to “analyze pathways and recommended strategies for achieving a 100 percent zero carbon target for the electric sector by 2040”. As depicted in the chart (above), the percentage of zero carbon electric generation** in the State has decreased while total electric generation has increased.68
Since 2013, the state has procured approximately 710 megawatts (MW) of grid-scale solar capacity and 1,108 MW of offshore wind capacity from several separate procurements. In addition, “Connecticut entered into a long-term contract with the Millstone facility for 9 million MWh of energy (approximately 36 percent of Connecticut electric distribution companies’ load) and all environmental attributes associated with the plant through 2029.”69 While these recent procurements will eventually increase the amount of zero-emission energy available for the state’s residents and businesses, Connecticut is currently less than half way (44.1 percent) to the target for 100 percent zero carbon generation and projected increases in electric demand (transportation and thermal) and the possible retirement of one or more of the Millstone units will make achieving the 100 percent zero carbon target by 2040 very challenging.
In addition, electric generation from solar photovoltaic capacity is considerably lower during the winter. For the 2020-2021 winter season, the Independent System Operator for New England (ISO-NE) assumed that both behind the meter and grid scale solar generation will provide no electric generation capacity supply obligations (CSOs)*** to the regional electric grid.70
Goal: There is an ambitious goal of 100 percent zero carbon for the electric sector by 2040. By statute, a minimum percentage of electricity, which is sold to Connecticut customers, must be generated from renewable energy sources. That minimum amount is 21 percent in 2020 and will escalate to 40 percent in 2030 (Class I).
Technical Notes: *Personal Impact indicators illustrate trends in behavior or practices that can be expected to influence the condition of tomorrow’s air, water, land and wildlife. ** Zero carbon generation includes utility scale renewables and nuclear generation and it is not the same as Class I renewable sources. Reliance on intermittent renewable technologies, which have capacity factors between 17 and 50 percent, in order to achieve the 100 percent zero carbon target, may raise reliability concerns and would require a significant amount of energy storage and/or upgrades to the electric transmission system. ***Capacity supply obligation (CSO) is a commitment to provide capacity resources that result from the annual forward capacity auction (FCA) in three years’ time.
68 DOE, Energy Information Administration (EIA), Electricity Data Browser, Net Generation for Electric Power, (Connecticut - All Fuels); www.eia.gov/electricity/data/browser/#/topic/0?agg=2,0,1&fuel=vtvv&geo=008&sec=008&freq=A&start=2001&end=2019&ctype=linechart<ype=pin&rtype=s&maptype=0&rse=0&pin=
69 DEEP, 2020 Draft Integrated Resources Plan; portal.ct.gov/-/media/DEEP/energy/IRP/2020-IRP/2020-CT-DEEP-Draft-Integrated-Resources-Plan-in-Accordance-with-CGS-16a-3a.pdf
70 ISO New England, 2020 CELT Report, 2020-2029 Forecast Report of Capacity, Energy, Loads, and Transmission, May 1, 2020; www.iso-ne.com/system-planning/system-plans-studies/celt