Goldman Sachs & Citi have jumped on the renewable energy bandwagon, and in a big way—what does this mean for Connecticut?
Connecticut has established itself as a forward-thinking state and a national leader on climate and energy policy. We have the nation’s first Green Bank to invest in green infrastructure. We helped found the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the first cap and trade program of its kind. 2008’s Global Warming Solutions Act puts us on track to reduce emissions below 1990 levels by 2020 and below 2001 levels by 2050. Just last year, we released a new Comprehensive Energy Strategy to power Connecticut for the future. Big investors including Goldman Sachs and Citi project solar and wind will be a big part of that future, even declaring The Age of Renewables is upon us.
Let’s look at where Connecticut stands with solar and wind, and where we hope to go from here.
Connecticut runs a solar leasing program through its EnergizeCT initiative. Solar leasing provides residents with an affordable opportunity to bring solar power to their property. Solar contractors, who own the panels, get the tax credit benefits, and the newly-green residents pay a fixed monthly lease payment that’s generally lower than their typical electric bill.
This has proved to be a great program, assisting in over 900 projects in last 4 years. But regardless of this success, Connecticut’s current solar model has limits. Our state is well known for our leafy suburban neighborhoods. Unfortunately, all that shade means nearly 80% of homes aren’t suitable for rooftop solar. But we can share!
Ten other states, including Massachusetts, have successful shared solar programs. Solar is good for the environment, and creates new non-outsourcable jobs for the economy.
Goldman and Citi focused on wind and solar in their financial analysis but we can’t forget about other effective renewable power markets, like geothermal or small, run-of-the-river hydropower. Connecticut is a world leader in the development of fuel cells, which produce energy extremely efficiently.
Our state has long been a leader on environment and climate issues. To keep at the head of the pack, Connecticut needs to focus on expanding and growing our clean energy sector.
Posted by Tyler Archer, Outreach & Development Associate for CFE & Save the Sound.