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January 10, 2019

Lamont Energy Policy Committee Recommends “Green New Deal”

The Lamont Energy Policy Committee (part of the Lamont Transition Team) recommended the Governor-elect to adopt a “Green New Deal” with Connecticut and its ratepayers. The suggested Green New Deal includes a reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions to Carbon Neutral by 2050.

The Committee recommended three priorities to the Governor-elect. Those priorities are greenhouse gas emission reduction, developing a Green Economy and Jobs Fund and forming a Council on Energy Affordability and Equity. To implement these priorities, the Committee recommended a “top 10” action list. The top 10 items are:

  1. Expand Energy Efficiency. Energy Efficiency programs are the largest job creator of Green Jobs and support 38,000 jobs in Connecticut. Energy Efficiency Programs also reduce the use of natural gas and electricity and increases the affordability of energy.
  2. Protect Ratepayers. The committee is seeking to prevent diversions of ratepayer funds for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs to the General Fund. In the last legislative session, the Legislature diverted all of the energy efficiency fund and a significant amount of the Green Bank funds to help balance the budget. This action has significantly decreased the ability of energy efficiency projects to move forward. In addition, the committee recommended reviewing actions by alternate residential electric suppliers to ensure consumers are receiving clear and adequate information relating to electricity costs and make reforms where necessary.
  3. Amend Section 7 of Public Act 18-50. In the last legislative session, the Legislature passed Public Act 18-50, which required significant changes to the State’s net metering rules and the available incentives to renewable energy projects. The Committee recommended substantial changes to the Public Act 18-50 including expansion of the yearly caps for commercial and shared clean energy facilities, removing caps on the size of individual projects tied to the load of host sites, ensuring an orderly transition from the current net metering to a new tariff-based structure of compensation, and ensuring accessibility and affordability of low and moderate income households to renewable energy.
  4. Expand “Lead by Example”. This is the largest recommendation to cut government expenses by (1) reducing energy consumption in state buildings, including State-Owned Housing, by 40% from current levels by 2030, (2) converting state vehicles to zero emission for 50% of light duty and 30% for buses from current levels by 2030, (3) ensuring proper building codes for energy and transportation-related measures, and (4) implementing a pilot carbon charge across state buildings and vehicles. The Committee also recommended the appointment of an interagency liaison to implement and report on these cost-saving items.
  5. Expand Renewable Portfolio Standards. The Committee recommended expanding the Class I RPS to 35% by 2025, 50% by 2030, 80% by 2040, and 100% by 2050, while (1) reducing policy cost exposure through reducing compliance payments, (2) reducing emissions by phasing out certain “dirty biomass”, and (3) procuring 2,000 MW of zero emission offshore wind resources by 2030 using competitive procurements with labor and wage provisions that ensure high-quality jobs for Connecticut workers.
  6. Modern Grid and Resiliency Planning. The Committee recommended supporting the buildout of a modern and efficient grid that maximizes distributed energy resources including energy efficiency, renewable energy and demand management, battery storage, electric vehicles, renewable heating and cooling, smart meters and other technologies while ensuring increased cyber security efforts and peak demand reduction. The Committee also recommended supporting a resiliency planning processes to ensure that the energy infrastructure is done responsibly given anticipated future natural disasters (e.g., coastal flooding, snow storms, heat waves, etc.)
  7. Invest in Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure. The Committee recommended supporting the private sector and utility buildout of the nation’s leading electric car charging and hydrogen fueling infrastructures, including utilization of VW settlement funds to support transportation decarbonization goals. The Committee also recommended ways to ensure accessibility and affordability zero emission vehicles to low and moderate income households.
  8. Promote Regional Energy and Environmental Collaboration. The Committee recommended providing leadership to re-initiate and guide the pursuit of necessary regional solutions to help advance Connecticut’s and New England’s energy and environmental policy goals.
  9. Expand CHEAPR Incentives – The Committee recommended that the Governor-elect commit to establishing a sustainable funding source for the Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate (CHEAPR).
  10. Lead on Transportation Climate Initiative – The Committee recommended that Connecticut lead the regional cap-and-invest program for transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, and convene a summit to initiate the design phase of the program.

The Committee also recommended two significant innovative and “cross-cutting” items. They are a Connecticut State and Northeast Regional Infrastructure Bank (“I-Bank”) and a Green and Healthy Homes Initiative.

For more information, please contact Brad Mondschein at bmondschein@pullcom.com and 860-424-4319 or your Pullman Relationship Attorney. Attorney Mondschein was a member of the Energy Committee of the Lamont Transition Team and Co-Chaired the Renewable Energy Subcommittee.

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