We need a stronger CES in Connecticut

Solar panels, blue sky. Photo credit: epicurean / iStock

Every three years, Connecticut examines and adjusts our energy policy to make sure it is serving our best interests.  But the draft Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES) for 2018-20, released in July, misses too many opportunities including delayed public health benefits from more renewable energy, economic benefits to CT from more jobs in the clean energy sector and assuring that we’ll meet our legally required green house gas (GHG) emission reduction targets.

Here are the opportunities we cannot afford to miss.

  1.  The CES strengthens the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard – the amount of utility power that must be provided by renewables – but only up to 30% by 2030.  Neighboring states like New York are going for 40% by then. We can too.
  2.  The CES focuses on large scale renewables, failing to embrace mid-scale clean energy that can generate more Connecticut jobs and a more resilient grid. It actually proposes maximum levels of rooftop solar that can be installed on our homes. And it misses the opportunity to show commitment to Community Shared Solar – a must for fair access to the benefits of solar.  The CES should remove limits on rooftop solar and commit to activating a full-scale shared solar program by the end of the 3-year period.
  3. The CES includes new natural gas infrastructure – a supply option that has been rejected by the Governor’s Council on Climate Change as a source of increasing greenhouse gas emissions.  The CES should firmly reject all new natural gas infrastructure.
  4. The CES calls for a lot of important work to create more renewables-friendly policies over the three year period:  an Electric Vehicle Road Map, a better system for valuing solar’s contribution to the grid, and more.  But it must be done right.  The next wave of energy policymaking should be an integrated, stakeholder-engaged, and transparent process.  We need a public deliberation and negotiation with everyone – from environmentalists to utility executives – at the same table, with the same data, and using the same assumptions until we have a policy framework that works for everyone. 

Add your voice to this call for a stronger Comprehensive Energy Strategy here.