Acadia Center, among the top tier of regional environmental advocacy groups, had no representative on the committee, but put together its own priority plan – a memo to the incoming governor.
That plan offers specific prescriptions, bolstered by data, for how to achieve changes in five key areas: transportation, including infrastructure and adoption of electric vehicles which while steady, has been slow; transition to cleaner more resilient local power; improving energy performance and emissions reductions in buildings; reforming rules for the grid; and improving community and individual energy choice – essentially the ability to use more distributed and flexibly designed generation.
“We’re taking an approach that’s not just about clean energy. We’re taking an approach that’s about economic competitiveness,” said Amy McLean Salls, Acadia’s Connecticut director and senior policy advocate. “We also need to put into place the policies and the personnel who also can be thinking innovatively and not looking at the past as the way to the future.”
After a protracted primary campaign and a long week of ranked-choice tabulation, Maine’s gubernatorial slate is set. As voters assess their options for state leadership, two intertwined issues need to rise to prominence: Maine’s economy and environment. To advance both, Maine’s next governor must prioritize a clean energy future.
The good news is that this future is close at hand. With smart energy policy reform based on proven results in other states, Maine can lower energy costs; save residents and businesses money on their utility bills; boost its own economy; grow its workforce with good-paying efficiency, HVAC and solar jobs; and dramatically reduce air pollution.
Read the full article from Bangor Daily News here.
HARTFORD – Today, Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) selected Deepwater Wind’s proposal for 200 MW of offshore wind as one of the winning bids in an open request for proposals to support nascent energy technologies, including fuel cells and anaerobic digestors in addition to offshore wind. The selection builds on the regional momentum for offshore wind, following the selection of two projects totaling 1200 MW by Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Deepwater Wind’s winning project is estimated to power about 91,000 homes.
“Connecticut today is showing the region that it wants to participate in the budding offshore wind market and will share in the benefits of being an early mover in adopting this technology,” said Emily Lewis, a policy analyst at Acadia Center. “Acadia Center commends DEEP on taking this important step to procure offshore wind for the state. We hope Connecticut continues to build on this commitment by setting an ambitious offshore wind mandate that creates a sustainable offshore wind industry and continued economic growth.”
The full details of the bid are still hidden until the contracts are completed, but information released to the public indicates that Deepwater Wind’s bid includes:
A commitment of at least $15 million for the New London State Pier;
Plans for significant in-state construction and assembly operations, leading to 1400 direct, indirect, and induced jobs in Connecticut;
Collaboration with local entities to support workforce development, research and economic growth.
“This announcement, combined with the state’s recent commitment of bond funding to revitalize the State Pier, demonstrates that Connecticut is serious about securing its share of the highly-paid offshore wind jobs coming to the Northeast,” said John Humphries, lead organizer for the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs. “Whether it’s on the docks, in the water or on the factory floor, Connecticut has the skilled labor needed to jumpstart this new industry bringing clean energy to the region.”
“The building trades workforce of Eastern Connecticut is eager to do whatever is needed to support this growing industry,” said Keith Brothers, president of the New London-Norwich Building and Construction Trades Council. “We urge the Administration and developers to ensure the highest quality construction and timely completion by negotiating project labor agreements for both the port infrastructure and offshore wind projects. Connecticut’s workers are ready to build and maintain the turbines and all the onshore facilities.”
That message was echoed by Sean Daly, Business Manager and member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 90. “IBEW’s skilled electricians have already installed grid-scale solar projects and onshore wind turbines here in Connecticut. Now we’re eager to help bring this new source of clean energy to the state. And if the legislature authorizes more offshore wind purchases, we look forward to hiring and training new workers. This new industry will be good for our workers and their families, and it will be good for our communities.”
Tony Walter, President of the CT State Council of Machinists, also urged state leaders to encourage Deepwater Wind to invest in local supply-chain development. “From aerospace to submarines, Connecticut’s Machinists provide precision manufacturing outcomes every day. The offshore wind industry will need high-quality parts and equipment, and we should be building them here in Connecticut.”
Monday’s session came a few days after the state Bonding Commission backed Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s push to revitalize State Pier with a $15 million investment. Hosted by RENEW Northeast, Acadia Center and the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, the discussion was part of an offshore wind roadshow organized by the Trade Council of Denmark in North America and featuring about 15 companies across the supply chain.
As a deepwater port with no overhead obstructions, New London could, with upgrades, accommodate some assembly of wind turbines, foundations and substations while providing space for staging the large components for delivery to wind farms, state and local officials say. No turbines are planned for off the southeastern Connecticut coastline.
Read the full article from The Day here (article may be behind paywall).
William Dornbos, Connecticut director and senior attorney at Acadia Center, said Wednesday that the proposal by Senate Republicans to divert $160 million annually from the state’s energy efficiency programs over the next two years “would effectively end Connecticut’s energy efficiency programs for the next two years, and perhaps beyond.”
“Cost-effective energy efficiency is at the center of any modern clean energy strategy, and so this troubling cut would be a needless step backwards for Connecticut, almost certainly crippling the emerging clean energy economy that will be so crucial to our future.” Dornbos said.
The cut being proposed by Republicans represents a two-thirds reduction from current funding levels, he said.
That kind of funding reduction would eliminate incentives available to homeowners to have energy audits done. About 40 companies do the audits around the state, Dornbos said, and “if vendors and contractors have less work, they will begin laying off staff, selling equipment, and losing trained technicians to nearby states with strong, well-funded energy efficiency programs.”
“With previous raids on the energy efficiency programs, we have seen major disruption and job losses in the home performance and efficiency contractor sectors that lingers well past the raids and takes years to overcome,” he said.
Dornbos projected that job reductions attributable to funding cuts in energy efficiency programs could top 12,000 workers in Connecticut. Over time, the cuts might result in the loss of another 28,000 jobs as a result of a reduction in consumers using disposable income created through energy efficiency efforts.
Beyond the jobs that will likely be lost, Connecticut residents of modest means will be more likely to see their energy bills rise if efficiency programs are drastically cut, he said.
“It would deprive many consumers — especially residents with low or fixed incomes — of their best protection against high energy costs,” Dornbos said.
Read the full article from the New Haven Registerhere.