Energy efficiency must be the first order of business as Connecticut moves forward over the next 20 years to make the state’s electric supply cleaner, greener, secure, reliable and affordable. That’s according to the energy-procurement plan that the Connecticut Energy Advisory Board (CEAB) has submitted to the State Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC).

In 2007, the state legislature passed a law that requires annual, comprehensive assessments of electric system needs and recommendations on energy resources best suited to meet those needs. The Connecticut Light and Power Company and The United Illuminating Company, the state’s electric distribution companies (EDCs), prepare the assessment that’s reviewed and modified by the CEAB, and ultimately given to the DPUC for action on the plan’s recommendations.

This year’s CEAB plan lays out a vision for the next two decades, during which time the group says:

  • At least half the generation sources Connecticut has relied upon for decades will likely be replaced with new clean, efficient, low-carbon -emitting, and renewable facilities.
  • Markets and technologies will make the state’s usage of electricity much more efficient.
  • The electric system will have a much lower impact on our environment. 
  • Electric rates will be more competitive with regional and national markets.

Cost-effective energy efficiency programs provide options for consumers to control and reduce their energy consumption, says the CEAB, which have the power to improve the economy and reduce bills, overall electricity demand and emissions from power plants.

Renewable energy also features prominently in the CEAB plan. In Connecticut and the region, standards call for as much as a fourfold increase in the amount of renewable energy in the coming decade, with some further increases scheduled beyond 2020.

Current in-state renewable resources are limited, and regional renewable sources are expensive. That’s why the CEAB is calling for a formal review of Connecticut’s renewable-energy policy to make sure that it best meets the state’s needs and considers the policy’s implications on costs.

Electric energy businesses, representatives of the environmental community, elected officials, and the general public should be involved in the process, says the plan. The CEAB and EDC plans have been filed with the DPUC and will come under review in the coming months. The CEAB Plan and all materials assembled in the planning process are posted on the CEAB website.