DEEP Launches Updated Statewide Energy Efficiency Plan Focused on Decarbonization, Equity, and Affordability
(HARTFORD)—The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced its final approval of the 2022-2024 Conservation and Load Management Plan with modifications to transform the way Connecticut invests in energy efficiency while focusing on the following areas: equity, decarbonization, and affordability.
Developed every three years in collaboration with the state’s electric utilities with input from stakeholders and members of the public, the Conservation and Load Management Plan (C&LM Plan) guides the direction, incentives, and programs for Energize CT, Connecticut’s flagship energy efficiency initiative. Energize CT helps residents save energy and money in their homes and businesses with building assessments, rebates, financing, and other services for energy efficiency and clean energy improvements.
The energy-saving investments funded by the 2022-2024 Plan are projected to provide over $1.7 billion in cumulative benefits and result in 4.6 million tons of CO2 emission reductions, equivalent to the annual energy-related emissions of 580,000 homes. Energy efficiency programs funded by C&LM are instrumental in achieving cost-effective decarbonization in Connecticut’s residential and commercial buildings and are ranked among some of the best state programs nationwide.
“This effort to bring the benefits of energy efficiency to more residents across Connecticut couldn’t be timelier, ”DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “Energy efficiency is one of the best tools to tackle the climate crisis and energy affordability issues. At a time when global supply chain issues and widespread inflation are exacerbating Connecticut consumers’ struggles with high energy costs, the Energize CT program has been a critical source of savings. I applaud the hard work of all who participated in this process to develop a plan that continues to refine our successful efficiency programs in very important ways.”
The new C&LM Plan incorporates the following changes:
With a finite program budget, it is critical that the economic, environmental, and public health benefits of energy efficiency are dispersed equitably. DEEP has taken several actions to achieve equitable program delivery outcomes such as:
- Prioritizing residential energy efficiency program support for those customers with the largest past due balances and the most frequent shutoffs.
- Developing a process to leverage federal weatherization funds for low-income programs and coordinating between the Home Energy Solutions - Income Eligible and federal Weatherization Assistance Program.
The fact that Connecticut is not on track to meet economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets that were established in the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act brings a newfound urgency to ramp up greenhouse gas emission reductions in both residences and commercial buildings. The 2022-2024 Conservation and Load Management Plan commits the State to a set of incremental steps designed to pave the way to more widespread building decarbonization. These steps include:
- Refined calculations that will more accurately capture and value the impact of energy efficiency programs on greenhouse gas emissions. This includes incorporating the emission reduction benefits of energy efficiency into cost-benefit analyses used to shape C&LM programs and incentives.
- A planned timeline for phasing out natural gas equipment incentives in the residential portfolio.Phasing out natural gas equipment incentives will send a steady yet strong market signal to ramp up renewable alternatives such as heat pumps, solar hot water heaters, geothermal heat pumps, and more.
- A transition for the Residential New Construction program into an all-electric offering.Building electrification, which refers to the process of replacing technologies that run on fossil fuels with alternatives like heat pumps, and induction stoves that run on clean electricity, can be a feasible, cost-effective, and impactful strategy for emissions reduction.
The Plan also strives to address Connecticut’s significant energy affordability concerns, through programs such as Home Energy Solutions – Income Eligible, a residential energy efficiency program with increased incentives for income-eligible customers. New elements added to the Plan to increase access to these programs and further address energy affordability, include:
- Implementing programmatic changes to make energy efficiency programs more accessible and provide vendors with tools to reach priority customers.
- Enhancing the promotion of loan products for businesses and prioritizing customers in distressed communities.
“Transitioning to efficient, grid-interactive, electric buildings is critical to meet the region’s climate stabilization goals,”Arah Schuur, Executive Director of Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, said. “With these changes to statewide program delivery, Connecticut is poised to take a regional and national leadership role in ensuring the transition to a decarbonized, affordable built environment.”
“The benefits of energy efficiency are far-reaching, with over 1,000,000 instances of consumer participation in Energize CT offerings,”Neil Beup, Chair of the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Board, said. “Effectively scaling our programs in an equitable manner that can address the state’s energy affordability needs and the broader climate crisis is a balancing act made easy by the win-win nature of energy efficiency.”