"They've chosen to narrowly focus on Canadian hydropower," he said. "Is that our clean energy policy? To me, it's baffling."
Malloy downplayed the increased reliance on hydropower in the legislation.
"North America is about to be energy-independent; that's the reality," he told reporters Monday. "Some of that's gas, some of it's oil, some of it's hydro, some of it's other alternatives."
The governor said he doesn't care if Canada is the source of energy "as long as it's substantially cleaner, cheaper, more reliable."
Northeast Utilities, parent company of the state's largest utility, Connecticut Light & Power, backs the legislation.
"We appreciate the bill's perspective that hydropower is a renewable resource, as the source of its generation — water — is abundant and will continue to be available," Jay Fletcher, director of regulatory policy for Northeast Utilities Service Company, told lawmakers in testimony.
Northeast Utilities and Canadian utility Hydro-Quebec are spearheading a $1.2 billion transmission project to bring 1,200 megawatts of hydropower from Canada to the New England power grid. Northeast Utilities says the project will help address New England's "acute need" to diversify its electric energy supply, which is based on more than 50 percent natural gas.
Republican Sen. Joe Markley, who voted against the legislation, said he's skeptical much can be done to restrain energy prices that are soaring with worldwide demand.
"We have to confront the fact that energy is going to get more and more expensive no matter what we do," he said. "I don't think that there's any way for us to escape that."
Associated Press writer Susan Haigh contributed to this report. Follow Stephen Singer on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SteveSinger10 .