HARTFORD, CT - Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Dan Esty, released on Tuesday Connecticut’s first-ever Comprehensive Energy Strategy, a plan that establishes a clear path toward cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable energy for Connecticut consumers.
“The Comprehensive Energy Strategy sets Connecticut apart by bringing down energy costs for both residents and businesses,” said Governor Malloy. “Focusing on innovative approaches to energy efficiency—cost effective renewable power, smarter building management, and expanded use of low-cost natural gas, we are reducing consumer costs, making the state more competitive, and creating good jobs with good benefits.”
The Governor released the new energy plan and highlighted key elements during events at Royal Ice Cream, a Manchester-based small business that converted to natural gas to save 50 percent on energy costs annually, and La Plaza del Mercado, a shopping plaza in Hartford that engaged energy efficiency initiatives to reduce energy consumption and save nearly $20,000 this year.
The Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES) includes:
Low-Cost Natural Gas as a Consumer Choice
The CES provides consumers more options in how they heat their homes and businesses. The plan calls on Connecticut’s gas utilities to detail how to make low cost, domestic natural gas an option available to hundreds of thousands of residents and 75 percent of the state’s businesses in the next seven years. It also includes a proposal to offer a $500 tax credit to consumers who switch to natural gas.
“Royal Ice Cream is one of Connecticut’s iconic small businesses. Handed down over three generations, this is a family businesses that helps drive our state economy—and a great example of why the option to switch to natural gas is so important,” said Governor Malloy. “In switching to natural gas, Royal has reduced their heating costs by more than 50 percent—a margin that is very important to operations.”
“The opportunity to connect to a natural gas line cut my heating costs and is making a real difference for my business,” said James Orfitelli, president of Royal Ice Cream Company. “I was able to accomplish this by working closely with CNG and with my longtime oil dealer who installed the new gas furnace and will be servicing it.”
Energy Efficiency Initiatives to Reduce Costs and Lower Consumption
The CES strengthens energy efficiency programs for consumers and positions Connecticut as a leader in the emerging clean energy economy. The plan also establishes an innovative approach to target spending to increase private investment.
“The owners of La Plaza del Mercado in Hartford are showing us the way to a cheaper, cleaner energy future by demonstrating that the least expensive energy is the energy you don’t use,” said Commissioner Esty. “They did this by making good use of grants and financing available to small businesses to install more efficient lighting, refrigeration, and air conditioning. This slashed their electric bill, providing a five-year payback on the efficiency investment.”
To help connect residents and businesses with an expanded range of energy efficiency programs:
Energizect.com, a new website that provides one place for all of the state’s energy efficiency programs. Connecticut consumers, businesses, and communities can find the resources and information they need to save energy and lower costs. The site is a joint project of the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority, DEEP, and the electric and gas utilities.
Office of Energy Efficient Businesses (OEEB) will help small businesses identify and implement steps they can take to reduce their energy bills. The program features direct outreach to small businesses; single point of contact for all energy services; information on loans and grants for energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy; audit assessment services and on-site outreach by independent staff; and information on accessing Connecticut’s competitive electric and gas suppliers.
Lower Energy Use in the Transportation Sector
The Governor’s plan provides a platform for the use of alternative fuels and vehicles to help reduce energy use in the transportation sector. The strategy includes a network of charging stations for electric cars, natural gas filling stations for fleet vehicles, proposes continued investment in public transportation, and encourages land use policies that promote pedestrian and bicycle access.
Improve the Resiliency of the Electric Grid and Invest in Microgrids
The CES calls for infrastructure investments that will improve the resiliency and reliability of the statewide electric grid. The plan calls for investments in hardware as well as better management of trees located near power lines and transmission routes. Investment in microgrids—small scale, distributed generation networks—will help facilities like hospitals, wastewater treatment plants, and town centers remain energized in the event of a larger power outage.
A draft of the Comprehensive Energy Strategy was released for public comment in October 2012 and was the subject of five public hearings and five technical meetings held throughout the state. DEEP received 915 written comments from more than 500 different stakeholders. Comments on the plan sharpened many elements and led to the addition of a section on cybersecurity, which recommends a review of all major utilities to assess their ability to deter electronic attempts to disrupt service.
The Comprehensive Energy Strategy was developed to meet the requirements of landmark energy legislation, Public Act 11-80, which was signed into law by Governor Malloy on July 1, 2011.