Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced yesterday the selection of two commercial renewable energy projects using a new competitive process designed to help bring cheaper and cleaner energy to Connecticut.
The two projects, East Lyme Solar Park and Somers Solar Center, were selected after a competitive evaluation of 21 projects submitted in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) from Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).
The East Lyme Solar Park is a 5MW large scale ground mounted photovoltaic solar development project will be situated on a vacant lot in East Lyme, Connecticut. The developer, GRE 214 East Lyme LLC, owns the site, (44 Grassy Hill Road)which was originally intended for the development of residential homes that has sat idle since 2008.
HelioSage Energy, LLC, a developer of solar energy projects throughout the Northeastern United States. The proposed project features ground-mounted solar photovoltaic panels which will be sited on 50 acres in Somers, CT (407 South Rd.) which is anticipated to be operational by November 2013. While the HelioSage Somers facility is expected to have an operating capacity of 5 (MW), the project has a flexible design that will allow it to have a capacity of between 2 MW and 5 MW.
As a result of the selection, the developers of East Lyme Solar Park and Somers Solar Center will have the right to enter into 20-year power purchase agreements with the state’s two electric distribution companies, Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) and United Illuminating (UI). Each of the projects is designed to provide five megawatts (MW) of solar energy for the electric grid. The 20-year average cost of the power from the two projects is 22.2 cents per kilowatt hour. The process employed in selecting these two renewable energy projects represents a fundamental shift from how states have promoted renewable energy in the past. Connecticut has broken new ground by harnessing market forces, encouraging competition, and leveraging private capital to drive costs down for renewable energy.
“This selection process validates our new approach to energy policy in Connecticut,” said Governor Dannel P. Malloy. “The number and quality of applications – and the prices we were offered – show that we can drive down the price of clean energy and succeed in our push to bring cheaper and cleaner energy to our state. The fact that 21 projects – representing 70 Megawatts (MW) of clean renewable power – applied under this program is a clear sign that entrepreneurs and clean technology innovators are excited about the new approach Connecticut has taken.”
“We believe the installed costs of these two solar projects,” Governor Malloy said, “are among the lowest offered by any comparable solar projects in the nation.”
“While the evaluation and selection process involved a number of factors, price was a key as we are committed to closing the gap between the cost of renewable energy and power generated from fossil-based sources,” said DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty. “The success of this process can be measured by both the number of quality project proposals we received, and the fact that quite a few of these solar proposals were cost competitive. Connecticut’s new approach, championed by Governor Malloy, serves as a model of how the nation could move towards a cheaper, cleaner and more resilient energy future.”
The program was authorized under provisions of last year’s energy bill, Public Act 11-80, An Act Concerning the Establishment of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Planning for Connecticut’s Energy Future. Section 127 of that law authorized the state to select to select projects that would lead to the development of zero emission Class I renewable energy that would develop 30 megawatts of clean energy. Projects representing 10 megawatts of this allocation have now been selected through the process being led by DEEP. CL&P and UI will submit projects for approval to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to share the remaining 20 MW.