Education and Action for Secure Energy (EASE)
Once upon a time, it was the electric company’s job to make sure the lights would stay on in an emergency. Today, planning for energy security is on the minds of local officials as well as business owners. And the range of approaches is wide – from emergency generators powered by fossil fuels, to innovative solar and storage combinations, to microgrids integrating multiple technologies. EASE (Education and Action for Secure Energy) is a planning workshop for Connecticut community representatives convened this spring by Clean Water Fund.
EASE is a focused program of education and technical assistance to help local decision makers plan for a secure supply of energy in extreme weather and other emergencies, and to plan more broadly for local energy security and independence. It brings together state and private sector experts, and a peer to peer support system, to help participants address these challenges and take full advantage of emerging renewable technologies.
EASE is designed for motivated teams from Connecticut’s cities, towns and villages, drawing from Clean Energy Task Forces, staff and elected officials. Our team of experts on energy, infrastructure, and planning, includes:
- Melissa Everett, Ph.D., CT Energy and Sustainability Program Manager, Clean Water Fund (facilitator)
- Rebecca French, Program Director, Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation
- Robert Sanders, Senior Finance Director, Clean Energy Group
- Veronica Szczerkowski, Program Coordinator, Micro-Grid Program, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection;
- Donald Watson, FAIA, architect, community planner, FEMA subject matter expert and author, Design for Flooding
- Woodie Weiss, Chair, Madison Energy and Efficiency Committee
This program provides support to establish solid frameworks and road maps to guide local planning for energy security and resiliency. It will not produce complete plans, but clear, technically sound approaches and strategies for engaging the needed local partners. EASE will address questions like:
- What is your community’s need for energy supply (and storage) in emergencies? How are your critical loads distributed?
- What are the most realistic ways to meet this need in the short, medium and long term?
- What kinds of alternatives should be considered (e.g. demand management and energy storage as well as supply alternatives)
- What is the work ahead to meet this need in your community (including construction/ installation, permitting, funding, and building political support)?
- How does planning for energy security connect with other aspects of community resiliency, and how can you improve local coordination and collaboration?
- What are the specific funding and technical assistance resources you can access to refine and implement your energy security and resiliency plans, including state, federal and private sources?
- What steps must a Connecticut municipality take to be highly qualified for the available funding?
Connecticut municipalities have access to a host of resources to support preparedness for climate change impacts including extreme weather events. EASE will help local government staff and board and commission members to reach a shared understanding of what it takes to ensure the resiliency of local energy systems and infrastructure to keep our communities safe.
Structured as an intensive training and practicum, this program will encourage participants to learn from each other as well as from the expert facilitators. EASE will help the local teams figure out what needs to be done, how to do it, how to build the local political will and find the funding to get it done.
Anyone who has responsibility for energy supply, management and security in a Connecticut municipality may participate in this program:
- elected officials
- municipal staffs
- clean energy task forces
- conservation councils,
- sustainability committees.
We encourage participation by local teams of two to five to build common understanding of the work to be done.