Connecticut's Comprehensive Energy Strategy
WHY IS ENERGY POLICY IMPORTANT?
Energy policy has crucial environmental implications. Different energy sources have different impacts on local air pollution and global climate change. Of all energy sources, renewables, such as wind and solar, are typically the best for the environment. In addition, reducing energy usage is an environmentally friendly choice. For example, a more efficient water heater can provide a consumer with the same experience while consuming less electricity or fossil fuels and commensurately less environmental harm.
In Connecticut, the most effective way to meet our energy needs while simultaneously improving our environment is through energy efficiency investment. Our state contains a large stock of drafty, old buildings where investment in modern insulation and more efficient heating systems can provide major immediate benefits. Energy efficiency investment also can improve the broader Connecticut economy by putting more money in the pockets of consumers to spend here at home.
WHAT IS THE COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY STRATEGY?
As a part of legislation reforming Connecticut’s energy policy in 2011, the Department of Energy and Environmental Policy (DEEP) is required to prepare a "Comprehensive Energy Strategy" (CES) to assess and plan for all energy needs in the State of Connecticut. The Strategy is intended to guide actions by the legislature, DEEP, and the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA).
The draft CES was released on October 5, 2012 and offers recommendations in five different areas:
- Energy Efficiency
- Industrial Energy
- Natural Gas
PROMOTING A CLEAN ENERGY AGENDA
The draft CES contains many great ideas that will make Connecticut a leader on clean energy, notably:
- Full funding for all cost-effective energy efficiency measures for all fuels;
- Continuing roll-out of innovative financing measures for energy efficiency and renewable energy;
- Ensuring that minority and low-income communities benefit from energy efficiency investment; and
- Improvements to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
But we think that the final CES can be even better. Here are some ideas that we think should be included in the final document:
- Supporting partnerships to ensure broader and deeper energy efficiency measures;
- Concrete legislative proposal for benchmarking and disclosure of energy usage;
- Opposing dilution of Connecticut’s Renewable Portfolio Standard;
- Full evaluation of environmental and economic costs of natural gas expansion; and
- Establish specific program to promote transit-oriented development.
Comments on the draft CES were due on December 14, 2012. We are currently waiting the release of the final CES. You can read our full comments here.