Connecticut high court rejects challenge to gas expansion plan

Dive Brief:

  • The Connecticut Supreme Court last month upheld the state's authority to expand natural gas infrastructure to retail customers, quashing a challenge brought by a group of heating oil companies, Natural Gas Intelligence reports.
  • The Connecticut Energy Marketers Association sued in 2014 after a plan to expand gas service to 300,000 customers was included in the state's comprehensive energy strategy. 
  • According to CEMA, the state should have required an environmental assessment before approving a plan to add 900 miles of gas pipe, potentially increasing methane emissions, but the court ruled that the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was not required to do so. 

Dive Insight:

Natural Gas Intelligence reports the court determined such an assessment would only be necessary if the projects were being completed by the state. In this instance, however, the energy plan signed by Gov. Daniel Malloy in 2013 initiated a plan that would be carried out by private companies.

In October, DEEP canceled a natural gas request for proposals after a court decision made spreading out the cost of pipeline development more difficult. The state issued a RFP for gas capacity projects during the 2016 summer, including incremental natural gas pipeline capacity, liquefied natural gas, and natural gas storage.

Seven bids were submitted, but legal developments have put a hold on those proposals.

At the same time it canceled the RFP, however, Connecticut's DEEP, along with Massachusetts and Rhode Island, selected six large renewables projects totaling 460 MW to move forward to contract negotiations. Those projects included proposals by Deepwater Wind, Antrim Wind, Ranger Solar, Cassadaga Wind, RES Americas and Ameresco.

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