Governor Dannel P. Malloy today reaffirmed his determination to make Connecticut a national leader in energy efficiency, to reduce electric and heating bills for homeowners and businesses, and to improve our state's ability to compete economically.
In a speech before the annual summit meeting of the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP) in Stamford, Governor Malloy said that while Connecticut is currently ranked 8th in energy efficiency "we can do better and we can benefit from doing better."
Governor Malloy said energy efficiency programs will help us reduce the amount of fossil fuel we burn, which is "the only way to untether ourselves from the price volatility of fossil fuels, from the political risks of relying on the Mideast or a host of other unstable countries for oil supplies, and from the environmental disaster we face by spewing growing levels of carbon emissions into our atmosphere."
To achieve the goal of increased efficiency, the Governor said Connecticut must move forward to increase funding for efficiency programs, strengthen and broaden these programs, and build greater awareness of them through an improved marketing effort.
Governor Malloy told NEEP that the state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is recommending an increase in the budget for efficiency programs from $105 million to $158 million for this year. This funding would expand programs offered to homeowners and businesses that are overseen by Connecticut's Energy Efficiency Board.
The increased funding for efficiency programs is a major recommendation contained in a key energy strategy document -- Connecticut's Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) -- which was released today and available online at www.ct.gov/deep.
The IRP, which was completed by DEEP as called for in last year's landmark energy legislation (P.A. 11-80), looks ahead to trends in the electricity market over the next decade and sets out a plan for supplying electricity and meeting demand in a manner that minimizes costs and maximizes benefits for Connecticut's electric customers.
"The IRP tell us that we should invest more in efficiency now to immediately begin reaping the efficiency benefits of reduced demand and make the biggest possible dent in the impact of rate increases projected over the longer-term future," Governor Malloy said.
He also explained that Connecticut is already acting to strengthen efficiency programs. Legislation approved in this week's session of the General Assembly will:
expand the reach of efficiency programs by removing a funding cap to ensure home heating oil customers, which represent nearly half the homes in the state, can participate;
increase the bond authority of Connecticut's "Green Bank" -- the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) -- so that it can provide additional financial incentives for efficiency and renewable energy projects; and
create an innovative financing option -- known as Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (CPACE) -- to encourage efficiency projects at commercial properties.
The state is focused on setting a real example for efficiency through a Lead By Example program designed to reduce energy consumption in state buildings by 10% before January 1, 2013 and an additional 10% five years later. The state has allocated $15 million in bond funds for this program, and 34 projects -- with an average payback of under 5 and a half years -- have already been approved.
Governor Malloy also told NEEP that public awareness is the key to success for efficiency programs. "We can have the best programs in the world, but they won't help us meet our objectives if people don't know about them," he said.
He also announced that a new marketing initiative will roll out this fall bringing together all efficiency and renewable energy programs into a single easy to find and easy to identify brand and website, under the name energizeCT. "This campaign and website will make it easy for everyone to obtain information on our efficiency programs, easy to understand the benefits of them, and easy to sign up."