Connecticut Legislation and Executive Orders on Climate
Connecticut, a leader in developing climate change legislation, has passed several laws to better enable achievement of greenhouse gas mitigation goals, and to help prepare for, and respond to, climate-related events. Certain executive orders advance such efforts. The following list of select Public Acts and Executive Orders demonstrates Connecticut's ongoing commitment to climate change action:
Governor Ned Lamont's Executive Order 3 (issued on September 3, 2019):
  • Reconstitutes and expands the scope of the Governor's Council on Climate Change (GC3) to address climate change adaptation in addition to mitigation; and
  • Directs the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to analyze pathways to achieving zero-carbon electricity by 2040.
Public Act 19-71: "An Act Concerning the Procurement of Energy Derived from Offshore Wind"
  • Establishes a process for DEEP's commissioner, in consultation with certain other state officials, to solicit proposals from developers of offshore wind power facilities, and direct the electric distribution companies (EDCs) to enter into long-term contracts under proposals from responding bidders that meet certain criteria.
Governor Ned Lamont's Executive Order 1 (issued on April 24, 2019):
  • Directs executive branch state office buildings and vehicle fleets to become greener and more energy efficient through an expanded "Lead by Example" sustainability initiative aimed at reducing the state's carbon footprint and reducing the cost of government operations.
Public Act 18-82:"An Act Concerning Climate Change Planning and Resiliency"
  • Requires the state to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction of at least 45% below 2001's GHG emissions level by January 1, 2030;
  • Integrates GHG reductions into the Integrated Resources Plan, the Comprehensive Energy Strategy, and various other state planning documents and efforts;
  • Integrates new sea level change projections into various municipal and state planning documents, including plans of conservation and development, and municipal evacuation or hazard mitigation plans; and
  • Applies the new sea level change projections to the state’s coastal management and flood management laws.
  • Directs relevant state agencies to conduct a resource assessment to evaluate the current and projected economic viability for the continued operation of the Millstone nuclear generating facilities in order for the state to determine a path forward that best benefits its residents.
Public Act 17-218: "An Act Concerning the Installation of Certain Solar Facilities on Productive Farmlands, Incentives for the Use of Anaerobic Digesters by Agricultural Customer Hosts, Applications Concerning the Use of Kelp in Certain Biofuels and the Permitting of Waste Conversion Facilities"
  • Makes various changes in the environment and energy statutes, including:
    • Requires DEEP's commissioner and the Connecticut Siting Council to consider the impact of certain proposed energy-related projects on prime farmland or forest land before allowing them to proceed;
    • Requires the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to authorize additional funds for agricultural hosts using an anaerobic digestion Class I renewable energy source as a virtual net metering facility;
    • Authorizes DEEP, with the state Department of Agriculture, to help businesses apply to the EPA for approval of kelp oil as heating oil feedstock;
    • Removes certain waste conversion facilities from laws that apply to resources recovery facilities; and
    • Includes mixed municipal solid waste composting facilities as waste conversion facilities.
Public Act 17-144: "An Act Promoting the Use of Fuel Cells for Electric Distribution System Benefits and Reliability and Amending Various Energy-related Programs and Requirements"
  • Allows electric distribution companies (EDCs), under certain conditions, to:
    • Build, own, and operate new fuel cell generation facilities;
    • Enter into power purchase agreements negotiated with people to build, own, and operate new fuel cell generation facilities; and
    • Provide financial incentives to install fuel cell-powered combined heat and power (CHP) systems.
  • Authorizes DEEP's commissioner to solicit proposals for procurement from fuel cell, offshore wind, or anaerobic digestion facilities, and direct the EDCs to enter into contracts with them if the proposals meet certain conditions.
  • Makes certain changes to the Class II Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), including limiting Class II renewable energy sources to trash-to-energy facilities.
Public Act 16-212: "An Act Concerning Administration of the Connecticut Green Bank, the Priority of the Benefit Assessments Lien under the Green Bank's Commercial Sustainable Energy Program and the Green Bank's Solar Home Renewable Energy Credit Program"
  • Eliminates prior laws that placed the bank within Connecticut Innovations, Inc. (CI), thereby making the Green Bank independent of CI.
  • Maintains the Green Bank's existing powers to carry out its statutory purposes (generally, to develop programs to finance, support, and promote investment in clean energy projects, and to stimulate demand for clean energy and the deployment of clean energy sources in the state).
  • Expands the Green Bank's powers to, among other things, allow it to hire its own employees, enter into and invest in joint ventures that advance its purposes, and form subsidiaries to carry out its purposes, subject to certain conditions.
  • Makes certain changes to the Green Bank's residential solar investment program.
Public Act 16-196: "An Act Concerning the Use of Microgrid Grants and Loans for Certain Distributed Energy Generation Projects and Long-term Contracts for Certain Class I Generation Projects"
  • Expands the type of projects from which EDCs must purchase renewable energy credits in 2017 to include larger, low-emission generation.
  • Allows DEEP's microgrid grant and loan program to provide matching funds or low interest loans for energy storage systems or distributed energy generation projects placed in service on or after July 1, 2016 and derived from Class I or Class III energy sources for eligible microgrids.
Public Act 16-135: "An Act Concerning Electric and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles"
  • Includes several provisions related to electric vehicles, including requirements related to data collection, electric vehicle charging stations, and electric rate structures.
  • Directs Department of Administrative Services (DAS), DEEP, and the Insurance Department to work with the State Building Inspector to ensure that the next revision to the State Building Code contains standards that increase the resiliency of new and renovated homes and buildings.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy's Executive Order 50 (issued on October 26, 2015):
  • Establishes the State Agencies Fostering Resilience Council, which is responsible for strengthening the state's resiliency from extreme weather events.
Public Act 15-194: “An Act Concerning the Encouragement of Local Economic Development and Access to Residential Renewable Energy”
  • Expands the Connecticut Green Bank's residential solar investment program.
  • Standardizes certain steps in the municipal permitting process for installing residential solar systems. 
Public Act 15-113: “An Act Establishing a Shared Clean Energy Pilot Program”
  • Requires DEEP to establish a two-year pilot program to support the development of shared clean energy facilities using Class I renewable energy sources. 
Public Act 15-107: “An Act Concerning Affordable and Reliable Energy”
  • Authorizes DEEP to solicit and select proposals to meet winter reliability needs using Class I renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, Class III energy sources, large-scale hydropower, and natural gas.
Public Act 15-21: "An Act Concerning the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program"
  • Authorizes the participation of third-party capital providers in the commercial property assessed clean energy program (C-PACE).
  • Establishes the GC3 to monitor the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and make recommendations to meet the 2050 target fo the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA).
Special Act 13-9: "An Act Concerning Climate Change Adaptation and Data Collection"
  • Endorses the establishment of a Coastal Climate and Resiliency Center to provide resources and technical support.
Public Act 13-303: "An Act Concerning Connecticut's Clean Energy Goals"
  • Allows for large-scale procurement of regional renewable power, commencing immediately with policy tools (long-term contracts, reverse auctions, reduced reliance on older biomass projects, etc.) to ensure that projects get built at the lowest possible cost to ratepayers.
  • Tightens standards for biomass to qualify as a Class I Renewable, ensuring the most effective use of limited clean energy incentive dollars.
  • Increases competitiveness in the clean energy marketplace by introducing large-scale hydropower, which will result in lower electricity rates to consumers.
Public Act 13-298: "An Act Concerning Implementation of Connecticut's Comprehensive Energy Strategy and Various Revisions to the Energy Statutes"
  • Doubles funding for residential, commercial, and industrial energy efficiency investments throughout the state.
  • Creates a robust "decoupling" mechanism to ensure that utilities are properly incentivized for investments in energy efficiency.
  • Ensures availability of energy efficiency financing to lower income households.
  • Allows for submetering for all residents and businesses that use a Class I renewable or CHP unit for generation, which will result in increased energy efficiency gains and lower energy demand.
  • Allows for residents to utilize on-bill financing to pay for heating systems and energy efficiency upgrades.
  • Creates a new "Energize" program that drives energy efficiency upgrades and natural gas conversions through community aggregation.
  • Expands virtual net metering for government entities to include critical facilities, and enables agricultural virtual net metering.
  • Requires gas utilities to create an action agenda that will convert roughly 300,000 non-gas customers to a cheaper and cleaner natural gas supply.
  • Revises the "hurdle rate" from 15 to 25 years to facilitate the expansion of the natural gas infrastructure by better aligning financing in terms with the life expectancy of gas mains and allowing gas companies to finance more gas main extensions.
  • Enables the state to use non-taxpayer dollars to help deploy electric vehicle charging stations through the EVConnecticut initiative.
  • Allows for the adjustment of the rate structure for electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Adjusts the regulatory framework to allow for municipal ownership of microgrids that cross a public right of way.
Public Act 13-285: "An Act Concerning Recycling and Jobs"
  • Helps Connecticut increase the recycling rate and lower per capita disposal costs by recapturing more of the valuable materials in the waste stream.
Public Act 13-239: "An Act Authorizing and Adjusting Bonds of the State for Capital Improvements, Transportation, Elimination of the Accumulated GAAP Deficit and Other Purposes"
  • Commits an additional $25 million for energy efficiency upgrades in state buildings, on top of an existing $43 million investment.
  • Commits an additional $30 million for the build-out of microgrids across the state.
  • Provides $20 million for state acquisition of open space lands under the Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Program.
  • Provides $20 million for grants to municipalities and land trust organizations to support local open space purchase under the Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program.
Public Act 13-179: "An Act Concerning the Permitting of Certain Coastal Structures by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection"
  • Requires development of best practices for permitting of coastal structures and refines coastal regulatory procedures for ease of use by the public.
Public Act 13-116: "An Act Concerning the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program
  • Adds district heating and cooling and solar thermal or geothermal system projects to the types of energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements that may be financed under the C-PACE program.
Public Act 13-78: "An Act Concerning Water Infrastructure and Conservation, Municipal Reporting Requirements and Unpaid Utility Cost Accounts at Multi-Family Dwellings"
  • Promotes water conservation - and conservation of the energy used to treat and deliver it - through changes in water company rate structures.
Public Act 13-61: "An Act Concerning Property Tax Exemptions for Renewable Energy Sources"
  • Creates a property tax exemption for Class I Renewable power projects.
Public Act 13-15: "An Act Concerning Sea Level Rise and the Funding of Projects by the Clean Water Fund"
  • Takes a forward look at sea level rise to guide state investments. 
Public Act 12-148: "An Act Enhancing Emergency Preparedness and Response"
  • Establishes a pilot program to fund microgrids for critical facilities.
  • Expands the depth of the state's civil preparedness and training requirements.
Public Act 11-80: "An Act Concerning the Establishment of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Planning for Connecticut's Energy Future"
  • Creates the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection through the combination of the former Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC). The former DPUC becomes the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA).
  • Requires DEEP to prepare a Comprehensive Energy Strategy for Connecticut on a tri-annual basis and requires DEEP to prepare an Integrated Resources Plan.
  • Creates a CHP pilot program.
  • Authorizes state agencies and municipalities to enter into energy saving performance contracts with energy service companies.
  • Requires that energy consumption in state-owned or state-leased buildings be reduced 10% by 2013, and an additional 10% by 2018.
  • Creates the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA), the "green bank."
  • Initiates a residential solar investment program, operated by CEFIA.
Governor M. Jodi Rell's Executive Order 34 (issued on November 10, 2009):
  • Creates an Electric Vehicles Infrastructure Council for the purpose of making recommendations concerning the State's investment in and the standardization of infrastructure in Connecticut.
Public Act 08-98: "An Act Concerning Global Warming Solutions" (Global Warming Solutions Act, or GWSA)
  • Sets forth the following GHG emissions reduction requirements:
    • By January 2020, reduce GHG emissions to 10% below 1990 levels; and
    • By January 2050, reduce GHG emissions to 80% below 2001 levels.
  • Requires DEEP to:
    • Publish on this website, by December 2009, a baseline inventory of GHG emissions to establish a baseline for such emissions in the state, and a summary of GHG emission reduction strategies;
    • Publish on this website, by July 2010, the results of GHG reduction modeling scenarios, including, but not limited to, the evaluation of potential economic and environmental benefits and opportunities for economic growth based on such scenarios;
    • Analyze GHG emissions reduction strategies and, after an opportunity for public comment, make recommendations by July 2011 on which such strategies will achieve the GHG emissions levels specified in the GWSA; and
    • Beginning in July 2012 and every three years thereafter, develop, with an opportunity for public comment, a schedule of recommended regulatory actions by relevant agencies, policies and other actions necessary to show reasonable further progress towards achieving the GHG emissions levels specified in the GWSA. 
Governor M. Jodi Rell's Executive Order 15 (issued on October 6, 2006):
  • Establishes an Office of Responsible Growth within the Office of Policy and Management that is charged with coordinating transportation, land use, and economic development priorities.
Public Act 04-252: "An Act Concerning Climate Change"
  • Requires mandatory reporting of GHG emissions and creates a GHG registry.
  • Adopts GHG emissions reduction targets established by the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers of achieving 1990 (regional) baseline GHG levels by 2010; 10% below 1990 levels by 2020; and 75-85% below 2001 GHG levels by 2050 (unless otherwise dictated by the Conference).
  • Requires a Climate Action Plan be created that outlines steps to achieve the 2010 and 2020 GHG reduction targets.
  • Requires DAS to identify and purchase when possible, recycled and/or environmentally preferable products, services, and practices.
Public Act 04-231: "An Act Concerning Clean and Alternative Fuel Vehicles"
  • Promotes clean and alternative fuel vehicle adoption through provision of tax incentives.
Public Act 04-85: "An Act Concerning Energy Efficiency Standards"
  • Establishes energy efficiency standards for products and appliances.
Public Act 04-84: "An Act Concerning Clean Cars"
  • Adopts California light duty motor vehicle emissions standards.
  • Requires Connecticut to purchase renewable energy in increasing amounts, leading to 100% renewable energy by 2050.
Content last updated in September 2019