Connecticut Governor releases energy overhaul plan

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has released a new $2.2 billion energy plan for his state that includes dramatically increasing the number of homes that use natural gas power. Natural gas is a lower cost energy option for households although its availability can be somewhat limited, the Governor wants to increase access to it and a variety of other power options in Connecticut.

Malloy’s plan also includes reexamining the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards, which currently calls for 20 percent renewable power by 2020, to raise the standard and increase the mix of renewable options. The Governor expects that the plan will create 10,000 jobs in the state.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), which drafted the plan, will hold a series of public meetings about the draft in order to get comment and feedback from the public and private sector stakeholders. Malloy, rolled out the new policy in a speech in Cromwell to Connecticut’s largest business group – Connecticut Business & Industry Association. He is seeking bipartisan support for the plan which will have to be approved by the state legislature before going into effect.

Of the $2.2 billion investment, about $850 million would be financed by the state’s natural gas companies who would work to connect residents and businesses to natural gas main lines; the rest would be funded through a bond issue and local private investment.

A local petroleum interest group, the Independent Connecticut Petroleum Association has already voiced opposition to the plan which would threaten the primacy of heating oil use in the state. “Our environmental, energy, and economic challenges are all related – and tackling them together offers the best chance to lower the cost of electricity and heat for our families and seniors, the best chance to lower the cost of power and make our businesses and industries more competitive so you can create the jobs that our residents need, and the best chance to reduce air emissions and other harmful impacts on our land and water,” the Governor said in his rollout speech.