At the Bright Idea Grant Ceremony, Left to Right: Robert Schmitt, CEFIA; Sheri Borelli, UI; Bob Wall, CEFIA; United States Senator Richard Blumenthal; Rebecca Meyer, CL&P; Ron Araujo, CL&P; Katie Dykes, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection; Pat McDonnell, UI (contributed photo)
Hartford, CT - Thirty-five Connecticut municipalities were recognized on Wednesday during a ceremony at the State Capitol for their participation in the statewide Clean Energy Communities program, an Energize Connecticut initiative that incentivizes cities and towns to support energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Municipal leaders from the communities were joined by their state senators and representatives to celebrate their city or town earning its first “Bright Idea Grant” through the program. These communities earned the grants based on the level of community participation in Energy Efficiency Fund programs. Bright Idea Grants awarded range from $5,000 to $15,000 and can be used toward a community-selected energy-saving project.
Together these cities and towns have collectively saved more than 441 million kilowatt-hours and 5.8 million ccf through their energy efficiency efforts. Those savings are equivalent to the amount of electricity 52,000 homes would typically consume in one year, and result in avoided emissions of approximately 250,000 tons of CO2, which is the equivalent of taking 43,000 cars off the road for a year.
“We are here today to recognize these Connecticut municipalities for their commitment to energy efficiency and environmental stewardship, which has allowed them to cut costs and earn money towards future energy-saving projects,” said Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Katie Dykes, who presented each community with a special plaque at the ceremony. “These cities and towns are proof that energy efficiency can benefit an entire community, and I hope that other Connecticut municipalities are encouraged by their efforts and join the program.”
Under the Clean Energy Communities program, municipalities sign a pledge to reduce municipal building energy consumption by 20 percent by 2018, and to voluntarily purchase 20 percent of its municipal electric needs from renewable sources by 2018. Through community-wide participation in energy-saving and renewable energy programs, including resident and business participation, the community receives points toward rewards. For every 100 points earned through participation in energy efficiency programs, a community is eligible to receive a Bright Idea Grant. Similarly, for every 100 points earned through participation in renewable initiatives, a community can receive a renewable energy system equivalent to a one kilowatt solar photovoltaic system.
The nationally recognized Clean Energy Communities program expanded in 2012 to include energy efficiency. To date, 78 Connecticut cities and towns have signed the new pledge to support both renewable and energy efficiency initiatives. The Clean Energy Communities program is managed by Connecticut Light & Power’s Diana McCarthy-Bercury and Rebecca Meyer, the United Illuminating Company’s Sheri Borrelli, and Clean Energy Finance & Investment Authority’s Bob Wall and Robert Schmitt.
Following the signing of the pledge, Clean Energy Communities program administrators work with municipalities to establish a local Clean Energy Task Force and aid them in developing a plan of action to reduce overall energy consumption, support renewable energy, and earn rewards for their efforts. Program administrators often host workshops at local public libraries and other municipal buildings to educate residents and businesses on available energy-saving and renewable energy programs that can help them earn points for their community.
The following Connecticut municipalities were recognized for earning a Bright Idea Grant during the December 4, 2013 ceremony at the State Capitol in Hartford:
Beacon Falls, Bethany, Cornwall, Durham, Easton, Orange, Portland, Somers, Weston, Woodbridge
Avon, Berlin, Bloomfield, East Haven, Farmington, Glastonbury, Guilford, Madison, Mansfield (has earned 2 Bright Idea Grants), New London, Newtown, North Haven, Southbury, Trumbull, Westport, Wilton
Bridgeport, Enfield, Fairfield, Hamden, Hartford, Middletown, Milford, Stratford, West Hartford
For more information on the Clean Energy Communities program, visit EnergizeCT.com/communities.