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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, D-Conn., has signed into law S.B.1138, An Act Concerning Connecticut's Clean Energy Goals. The legislation amends the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS), allowing large-scale hydropower to qualify as a Class I resource.

Connecticut's RPS requires 27% of utilities' electricity to come from renewable energy resources by 2020, with a Class I requirement of 20% by 2020. Previously, qualifying Class I resources included solar, wind, fuel cells, biomass, and hydropower facilities up to 5 MW. However, S.B.1138 now increases the hydropower limit to 30 MW.

The legislation first passed the state Senate in early May, followed by the passage of a companion bill in the state House. The legislation then went back to the Senate to iron out some differences between the two versions.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Gov. Malloy recommended the change to the RPS in March. According to a statement from the governor’s office, the new law will "allow Connecticut [to] move away from dirtier fuels like biomass to cleaner large-scale hydroelectric power." 

"Updating our renewable energy portfolio strengthens Connecticut’s competitiveness while also protecting our environment for future generations," Malloy said. “This legislation creates clean energy jobs right here in Connecticut, moves us away from polluting fossil fuels, and provides cleaner, cheaper more reliable energy to ratepayers."

Several environmentalist and energy groups have protested the hydropower measure, claiming it could sidetrack local renewable energy development and provide an advantage to companies such as Canada’s Hydro-Quebec.

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