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No ‘big splash’ as Connecticut continues slow wade into offshore wind

On Dec. 28, then-Gov. Dannel Malloy and former Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Robert Klee announced 100 megawatts from Revolution Wind as the sole offshore wind project. Two nuclear plants and nine solar projects were among the other successful bids.

“What’s curious is they went with the smallest rather than the largest of orders,” said Emily Lewis, senior policy analyst with the environmental nonprofit Acadia Center. “This seems like the next incremental step to take. It wasn’t the big splash some of us were hoping for.”

Read the full article from Energy New Network here.

Connecticut Finally Makes a Commitment to Offshore Wind

The 200-megawatt project that DEEP officials selected in June represents only 3 percent of Connecticut’s electric load, according to Emily Lewis, a policy analyst with Acadia Center, a New England-based environmental group with offices in Hartford. The output is expected to power about 100,000 homes. Connecticut’s neighbors have far more ambitious offshore wind plans moving forward.

New Jersey’s goal is to have 3,500 megawatts of power in its portfolio by 2032, for example. Massachusetts has been a trailblazer in the wind power movement. Even tiny Rhode Island — with less than a third of Connecticut’s population — is procuring 400 megawatts of offshore wind power, Lewis says.

“It seems like Connecticut has been playing catch-up for years,” Lewis says.

Read the full article form Connecticut Magazine here.

CT’s natural gas expansion plan well behind schedule

While utilities are still gung-ho on natural gas conversions, Emily Lewis, policy analyst at the nonprofit Acadia Center, says Connecticut should shift its incentives away from the heating fuel and toward heat pumps, which in colder months capture outdoor heat energy and transfer it inside a home or building.

Technological improvements in heat pumps have made them more efficient than natural gas heat in many instances, she said, as well as more effective in cold winters.

And according to Acadia’s projections, Connecticut simply cannot meet its emissions-reduction targets over the next three decades without a big increase in the number of households using heat pumps (it’s about 2 percent or less currently, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection).

Read the full article from Hartford Business here.

Labor, Environmental Leaders Urge Connecticut Action on Offshore Wind

HARTFORD, CT — More than sixty labor, religious, environmental and business leaders gathered on Wednesday to discuss the development of offshore wind energy in New England and to call for Connecticut to act quickly to secure a share of the jobs and economic activity.

The half-day forum, hosted by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (“IBEW”) Local 90 in Wallingford, was organized by the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs and Acadia Center, with co-sponsorship from the Connecticut Port Authority and the Greater Hartford-New Britain Building and Construction Trades Council.

Following the gathering, the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs is submitting a letter, endorsed by more than 120 people representing more than 55 towns across the state, as a public comment on the state’s Draft Comprehensive Energy Strategy (“CES”). The letter urges the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (“DEEP”) to revise the draft CES to incorporate a meaningful commitment to offshore wind energy, taking advantage of planned development in pre-designated federal waters south of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

“By taking advantage of lessons learned from neighboring states, Connecticut can develop a robust offshore wind strategy that leverages our modern port facilities and skilled labor pool to capture a share of the benefits of this emerging regional resource,” said John Humphries, organizer for the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs.

“Under legislation passed this year, DEEP now has the authority to procure offshore wind energy. Rather than including any recommendation that Connecticut take advantage of even that limited authority, however, the draft CES downplays the opportunity,” said Kerry Schlichting, Policy Advocate at Acadia Center. “The state must establish a clear path to securing a share of the regional economic and environmental benefits from offshore wind or risk losing out to its neighbors like New York and Massachusetts.”

So far Connecticut has lagged behind its neighboring states in creating a long-term energy strategy that embraces offshore wind. The Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island is operational, Massachusetts is actively reviewing offshore wind project bids, and New York, Maryland, and New Jersey are all developing their own ambitious programs. The scale of this offshore wind development presents an enormous economic opportunity for Connecticut’s deep-water ports, coastal communities and workers. To catch up and capture its share of this new economic opportunity, the state needs to develop a sound policy framework for offshore wind procurement.

The coalition’s CES comment builds on this week’s forum and argues that the final CES should ensure alignment of the state’s energy strategies with its mandated climate goals, while also envisioning a clean energy future that prioritizes local economic development and job creation.

Wednesday’s forum featured a panel discussion with labor leaders from Rhode Island and New York. Construction of the region’s first offshore wind farm off the coast of Block Island employed more than 300 union workers, including some from Connecticut. Advocacy by New York’s labor movement was critical in securing Governor Cuomo’s January 2017 executive order addressing the procurement of offshore wind energy.

For more information on Connecticut’s offshore wind opportunity and steps for state policy makers, please see Acadia Center’s analysis.

The letter submitted to DEEP by the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, including the list of endorsers, is available at bit.ly/RTstatement9-17prn.


Media Contacts:
Kerry Schlichting, Policy Advocate, Acadia Center
kschlichting@acadiacenter.org, 860-246-7121 ext. 208

John Humphries, Organizer, CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs
john@ctclimateandjobs.org, 860-216-7972