Hartford – A coalition of environmental and consumer advocates, faith-based organizations, businesses, and labor joined together today supporting Connecticut's premier renewable energy law. The advocates urged the legislature to strengthen the law, which requires electric utilities to gradually increase the amount of the state's electricity coming from new, renewable sources like wind and solar. They also urged rejection of a proposal rolling back the state's commitment to renewable electricity by allowing large Canadian hydropower to displace the existing requirement that 20% of the state's electricity come from new renewable sources by 2020.
“Connecticut should go big on renewable energy, not back,” said Chris Phelps, State Director of Environment Connecticut. “Connecticut can cut pollution and build a clean energy economy by steadily increasing our renewable electricity requirement to require utilities to get 25% of our electricity from new renewables like wind and solar by 2025.”
Connecticut was one of the first states in the nation to require utilities to use more renewable energy sources. Today, our utilities are required to obtain 20% of Connecticut's electricity from new, clean, renewable sources by 2020. 28 other states have followed Connecticut's lead, with renewable energy requirements that have played a major role in our nation's 20-fold increase in wind power and 40-fold increase in solar power since 2000.
John Olsen, President of the Connecticut AFL-CIO said, “Connecticut's renewable energy law is already driving major investment across the region and supporting new clean energy jobs.” He spoke out against the inclusion of Canadian Hydropower stating, “We cannot support policies that shift investment and jobs across the border to Canada while providing substantial economic benefits to the corporations involved in the hydropower projects.”
Reverend Tom Carr from the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network agreed, “We have a moral imperative to heal the planet while protecting the livelihoods of workers here in our own communities.”
“We know there are developers across New England waiting to build projects like wind farms. Let's take the same competitive approach that has driven down the cost of small-scale renewable energy and built some largescale clean energy projects,” said Roger Smith, Co-Director of Clean Water Action Connecticut. “Connecticut can continue our clean energy leadership by passing the long-term contracts provision of SB 1138.”
While reiterating their opposition to the current version (SB 1138) of renewable energy legislation before the General Assembly, the groups made recommendations on how to achieve Connecticut's goals for cheaper, new, homegrown renewable electric generation. They urged the legislature to:
- Partner with Massachusetts and other state to purchase long-term contracts with wind and other renewables developers to drive down renewable energy costs.
- Extend the current renewable electricity requirement from 20% of the state's total electric demand in 2020 to 25% in 2025 and 30% in 2030.
- Tigthen rules ensuring that environmentally harmful sources such as large-scale hydropower and nonsustainable biomass plants do not displace new, clean renewables like wind and solar.