New Clean Energy Communities program begins

Aug 17th, 2012 | By | Category: Energy, Featured Story

Towns sign pledge to reduce energy consumption and purchase renewable energy

Berlin, Conn. (August 14, 2012) – As part of the Energize Connecticut initiative, the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund and the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) have joined forces to launch a new and improved version of the nationally recognized Clean Energy Communities program, an initiative that incentivizes Connecticut municipalities to improve energy efficiency and promote the use of renewable energy.

With the expansion of the program, communities across the state are being asked to renew their pledges to support renewable energy and energy efficiency. The addition of the Energy Efficiency Fund as a program administrator provides support and incentives for municipal energy reduction. Cities and towns will now pledge to incrementally reduce their municipal building energy consumption by 20 percent by 2018, and to voluntarily purchase 20 percent of their municipal electrical needs from clean renewable sources by 2018.

“Streamlining the efforts of CEFIA and the Energy Efficiency Fund makes it easier for communities to commit to the program and empowers them to make smart energy choices,” said Dan Esty, Commissioner, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “By participating in the Clean Energy Communities program, Connecticut towns and cities have the opportunity to cut costs by supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy.”

The following 10 communities have already signed the new Clean Energy Communities Pledge: Bridgeport, Bristol, Easton, Fairfield, Hamden, North Haven, Plainville, Stafford, Trumbull and Woodbridge.

Through participation in renewable energy and energy-saving programs offered by CEFIA and the Energy Efficiency Fund, a community can earn points towards rewards.  For example, when residents or businesses in a town or city install a clean energy system, enroll in the CTCleanEnergyOptions program, or sign up to receive a Home Energy Solutions assessment, they earn points for their community.

For every 100 points earned for renewable initiatives, a community will earn a clean energy system equivalent to a 1 kW solar photovoltaic system.  Earned systems could include a solar photovoltaic array, solar hot water system, solar trash compactor or solar-powered lights.  Under the original program, 60 communities met the minimum program requirements and earned a collective total of 346 kilowatts (kW) of solar photovoltaic systems.

Similarly, points are earned when residents, businesses, or municipalities participate in Energy Efficiency Fund programs, such as the Home Energy Solutions, Small Business Energy Advantage or Retro Commissioning programs, all of which are energy improvement services designed to help people or businesses use energy more efficiently and save money on their monthly energy bills.

For every 100 points earned through participation in energy efficiency programs, the community will receive a “Bright Idea Grant” ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 that can be used toward a community-selected energy-saving project, such as hiring an energy auditor to assess/benchmark municipal buildings or to leverage existing funds to make energy-saving improvements to a school.

As in previous years, Clean Energy Communities program administrators will work with towns and cities to help establish a local Clean Energy Task Force and aid them in developing a plan of action to reduce their overall energy consumption and to support renewable energy.

Communities interested in renewable energy and energy efficiency that want to become a Clean Energy Community should visit www.ctcleanenergy.com/communities.

About Energize Connecticut

Energize Connecticut – an initiative to help consumers save money and use clean, affordable energy – is a partnership of the Energy Efficiency Fund, the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority and your local electric and natural gas utilities to provide cleaner, more affordable and more reliable energy for this generation and the next. Energy efficiency and renewable energy programs are funded by a charge on customer energy bills.

Energy efficiency programs are administered by Connecticut Light and Power, United Illuminating, Yankee Gas, Connecticut Natural Gas, and Southern Connecticut Gas. Information on energy efficiency programs can be found at EnergizeCT.com or by calling 1.877.WISE.USE.

Renewable energy programs are administered by the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA). The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) was established by Connecticut’s General Assembly on July 1, 2011 as a part of Public Act 11-80. This new quasi-public agency supersedes the former Connecticut Clean Energy Fund. CEFIA’s mission is to help ensure Connecticut’s energy security and community prosperity by realizing its environmental and economic opportunities through clean energy finance and investments. As the nation’s first full-scale clean energy finance authority, CEFIA will leverage public and private funds to drive investment and scale-up clean energy deployment in Connecticut. Renewable energy information can be found at EnergizeCT.com or by calling (860) 563-0015.

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