U.S. Northeast, New England Encourage Solar Project Growth
States in the Northeast and New England market regions are experiencing rapid growth in utility- and residential-scale solar generation projects, with the help of state programs like the NY-Sun solar incentive in New York, which aims to add more than 3,000 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity to the state by 2023, and the New York State Energy Plan, which calls 50% of the state's electricity to be generated by renewable energy sources by 2030.
These programs were created to drive economic and environmental benefits by reducing emissions, lowering electrical costs for consumers and creating jobs.
Industrial Info is tracking 18 planned solar projects in the Northeast (Delaware, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) and New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) market regions, with a combined investment value of $969 million. There are 124 total renewable energy projects in these market regions, valued at $31.3 billion.
Opponents of the renewable energy programs and incentives cite the already high cost of electricity in the region and say renewable energy has not helped lower the cost.
Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts officials and their electric utility counterparts hope to leverage their combined purchasing power and are evaluating over 50 solicitations from renewable energy developers. The clean energy requests for proposals from these states will be awarded by the end of 2016 and solicitations include companies as varied at Ameresco (Framingham, Massachusetts), EDP Renewables North America (Houston, Texas), RES Americas North America (Broomfield, Colorado) and NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) (Juno Beach, Florida).
Other state energy regulators in the region are investigating how the electric grid can better accommodate renewable energy and energy storage projects, advanced electrical metering and distributed resources such as rooftop solar.
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources recently released a report that provides a roadmap of policy recommendations in order to grow the energy storage market. If adopted, Massachusetts has the potential for 600 megawatts of energy storage by 2025 in hopes of diversifying its energy portfolio, lowering costs, reducing greenhouse gases and improving reliability of the regional electrical grid.
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