An Outsized Clean Energy Opportunity

Connecticut has been a catalyst for advances in clean energy and climate goals in the region. It was the first state to set greenhouse gas targets for 2050 and the first to create a stakeholder board to advance energy efficiency improvements. Connecticut set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030, and 80% by 2050 and Governor Lamont’s executive order mandates that Connecticut’s electricity sector reach zero emissions by 2040. Acadia Center has played a leading role in advancing climate and energy reforms in the state and is integrally involved with all clean energy efforts as Connecticut seeks to meet its climate goals.

Energy Efficiency & Buildings

Connecticut’s energy efficiency programs have helped small and large businesses, homeowners and renters, and state and local governments reduce their energy use and costs in all of Connecticut’s 169 towns and delivered over 30 million MWh in avoided electricity demand (equivalent to either one year of state electricity demand or enough to power 3.6 million Connecticut homes for one year) over the life of the programs since 2012 and billions of dollars in benefits for Connecticut ratepayers. Acadia Center worked to pioneer the innovative stakeholder efficiency council model in Connecticut, then spread the example across the region. Through the Energy Efficiency Board, stakeholders from diverse backgrounds work with the electric and gas utilities to create programs to grow energy efficiency, our least-cost energy resource. Acadia Center has held a seat on the Energy Efficiency Board since its founding, and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of the Residential Committee. Our work on efficiency in Connecticut focuses on ensuring that everyone can participate in the programs, especially lower-income residents and seniors, who spend a much higher percentage of their income on energy and can most benefit from efficiency upgrades.

Transportation

Acadia Center advocates for transportation policy reforms in Connecticut that reduce emissions, improve transportation choices and equitably address the pollution issues affecting vulnerable populations that have been caused by current transportation systems. In Connecticut, Acadia Center helped found the Connecticut Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI)  Coalition. The coalition works with a variety of stakeholders such as environmental  and energy advocates, environmental justice organizations, and the business community and raises awareness about TCI through webinars, opinion pieces, and analysis developed by Acadia Center and partners. Acadia Center has been pushing hard for sufficient equity provisions, and will support the final form of TCI if states take necessary action to ensure that TCI will deliver benefits to the communities suffering from transportation pollution and lacking access to affordable, reliable, clean transportation options.

Acadia Center also serves on the newly created Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate (CHEAPR) Board, which is working on designing the electric vehicle incentive program.

Natural Gas

Acadia Center works collaboratively to reduce gas expansion in Connecticut.  Acadia Center recently published a report titled  “The Declining Role of Natural Gas Power in New England” that analyzed energy scenarios to show that demand for natural gas in the power sector, even under business as usual conditions, is projected to decline dramatically by the next decade. Accordingly, neither Connecticut nor the region needs another gas-fired electric generator. As Connecticut moves ahead into a new legislative session, Acadia Center will address potential strategies for making natural gas a thing of the past and move forward with clean energy alternatives.

Clean Power & Utility Innovation

Acadia Center has long advocated for policies and programs to expand clean energy in the state, working on the state’s first Renewable Portfolio Standard that requires utilities to purchase minimum amounts of qualifying clean energy, and setting up the state’s first green energy investment fund.  Acadia Center continues to work with coalitions and partners to advance clean energy. Acadia Center was a leader in working  to pass the legislation that allowed for the first purchase of offshore wind power (in 2017) by the utilities that serve Connecticut and building coalitions to successfully support increased purchases of offshore wind.  In 2020, Connecticut approved the purchase of offshore wind power that will be equivalent to 14% of the state’s energy needs.  Acadia Center is also working to ensure that homeowners, businesses and communities have access to clean energy.  We work to support solar net metering – a program that gives credits to consumers when they contribute energy to the grid from solar panels that produce more than the customers use – and related programs that are building a solar power industry in the state, serving the interests of building owners to install solar power on site.

Acadia Center is active in the following groups:

  • Board member of Energy Efficiency Board – Vice Chair
  • Residential Committee of the Energy Efficiency Board- Chairperson
  • Board member of the CHEAPR Program
  • Board member of Operation Fuel
  • Coalition member of the TCI Coalition
  • Participating in the PURA Dockets and DEEP Dockets addressing Utility Innovation
  • Coalition member of the CT RENEW