Federal Appeals Court Gives Go Ahead to Connecticut’s Renewable Energy Programs

Phelps Turner | @phelpsturner

In a case challenging Connecticut’s authority to implement two key renewable energy programs, a federal appeals court issued a ruling yesterday, allowing the programs to proceed. The Court’s ruling, coming just a day after it heard oral arguments in the case, reinforces the viability and legitimacy of Connecticut’s renewable energy programs and similar programs being implemented around New England.

At stake in Allco Finance Limited v. Klee, et al. was Connecticut’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which requires that electricity companies in the state obtain an increasing percentage of their power from renewable sources. Also under fire was Connecticut’s renewable energy procurement program, which allows the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to solicit proposals from renewable energy generators to supply up to 4% of the state’s total electricity demand. A federal trial court in Connecticut initially ruled in favor of both programs, but Allco appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Second Circuit then issued an injunction on the two programs pending the outcome of the appeal.

In response to that injunction, CLF filed a joint friend-of-the-court brief in support of Connecticut’s renewable energy programs, arguing that the programs were lawful exercises of the state’s authority over resource planning and were not preempted by federal law.

Yesterday’s Court ruling indicates that a full opinion will follow. Pending that decision, Connecticut’s renewable energy programs can proceed. And none too soon. Under Connecticut law, the state must reduce climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below the 2001 level by 2050. CLF will continue to be vigilant in promoting and protecting the development of clean, renewable energy in Connecticut and across New England.

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