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State Senator

Norm Needleman

Representing Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook

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Senator Needleman Leads Senate Approval of Bills Bolstering Connecticut Green Energy Production, Economic Growth

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HARTFORD, CT – This week, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) led the Senate’s approval of legislation that positions Connecticut as a clean energy leader, bolstering its energy grid and clean energy production, while paving the way for the state to financially benefit with the creation of new jobs and an infusion of new technologies.

“Connecticut’s energy industry and energy production is well positioned to benefit from the approval of this legislation,” said Sen. Needleman. “These bills directly support our state’s energy grid while expanding its ability to utilize eco-friendly power generation sources. They represent a sharp increase for Connecticut’s green energy industry. This is one of the largest economic development initiatives in Connecticut, impacting towns including New London and its surrounding areas. It represents up to $2 billion in total economic impact and the creation of numerous jobs as we push toward a cleaner future. As the Chairman of the Energy and Technology Committee, I am overjoyed to see our state move forward.”

House Bill No. 7156, “An Act Concerning the Procurement of Energy Derived from Offshore Wind,” authorizes state officials including the Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Attorney General, the Commissioner of the Office of Consumer Counsel and the state’s electric procurement manager to solicit proposals for wind energy projects of up to 2,000 megawatts.

Not only is wind energy ranked as a class 1 renewable production source, meaning it is carbon free, but its rate of 2,000 megawatts represents up to 40 percent of the state’s total energy needs. This legislation, as a result, positions Connecticut to drastically improve its production and consumption of clean energy. Officials can start soliciting projects this year.

Further, the legislation requires that these projects provide good-paying jobs to workers across Connecticut. These projects must also come with mitigation plans for environmental issues and fisheries, protecting businesses and natural resources alike.

Officials including DEEP Commissioner Katie S. Dykes and Office of Consumer Counsel Commissioner Elin Swason Katz applauded the bill during public testimony, noting it would help the state’s commitment toward a cleaner energy network while creating new jobs in the state.

House Bill No. 5002, “An Act Concerning a Green Economy and Environmental Protection,” bolsters several green economic strategies that the state can use. Among its many purposes:

  • It expands residential and commercial solar incentive programs, which promotes municipalities’ and businesses’ use of solar power
  • It increases virtual net metering caps from $10 million to $20 million, allowing towns to invest more in clean energy for powering towns
  • It creates a study for the state to check inventory of land for class 1 renewables, allowing for better information about installation of solar panels on public land
  • It updates state building contract standards to meet national energy efficiency standards
  • It expands state anaerobic digestion programs, which use food waste and animal waste to generate energy
  • It allows electric distribution companies to own their storage systems and storage infrastructure.

Prior to its acceptance by the Senate, this bill passed the House, the Appropriations Committee and the Energy and Technology Committee. It received support from dairy farms, environmental representatives and the Connecticut Citizen Action Group among numerous others. It awaits the Governor’s signature.

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