Posted in Utility Dive
July 13, 2022

Connecticut approves 3-year, $708M energy efficiency plan with focus on equity, affordability, decarbonization

Utility Dive

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Dive Brief:

  • The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has approved a $708 million, three-year energy efficiency plan projected to generate $1.7 billion in total benefits and avoid 4.6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
  • The 2022-2024 Conservation and Load Management Plan focuses on equity, decarbonization and affordability, DEEP said in a Thursday statement.
  • The plan prioritizes energy efficiency efforts directed towards electric and gas utility customers with the largest past due balances and most frequent shutoffs, the department said. It also calls for identifying areas of Connecticut with lower energy efficiency program participation in order to develop new customer outreach strategies.

Dive Insight:

DEEP officials say they approved the energy efficiency plan at a time when the state’s residents are facing higher energy costs as a result of global supply chain issues and inflation.

“This effort to bring the benefits of energy efficiency to more residents across Connecticut couldn’t be timelier,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “Energy efficiency is one of the best tools to tackle the climate crisis and energy affordability issues.”

The state’s energy efficiency and demand management initiatives will create $2.41 in benefits for every dollar spent, according to the plan. And energy efficiency programs create and support 33,573 jobs annually in Connecticut, according to DEEP.

The plan budgets almost $200 million this year for electric efficiency programs, $178 million in 2023 and $174 million in 2024. The gas efficiency budget will rise from $45 million this year to $56 million in 2024.

 

The 2022-2024 plan is expected to save 4.8 billion kWh of electricity, and result in an annual peak demand reduction of 409 MW.

Equity is a major aspect of the plan, and it includes priorities such as:

  • Customer outreach in non-English languages to increase audience engagement;
  • Analyzing customer data to target distressed and environmental justice communities and market sectors where there are energy efficiency opportunities; and
  • Giving additional consideration to certified minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses when evaluating proposals for program vendors.

The plan also calls for developing a process to leverage federal weatherization funds for low-income programs, and includes a workforce development strategy focused on recruiting and training workers from underrepresented communities.

“Effectively scaling our programs in an equitable manner that can address the state’s energy affordability needs and the broader climate crisis is a balancing act made easy by the win-win nature of energy efficiency,” Neil Beup, chair of the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Board, said in a statement.

Robert Walton

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