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Support Continues for Connecticut Renewable Energy

SmartPower Connecticut, Environment Northeast, The Clean Water Fund and The Interreligious Eco-Justice Network delivered testimony to the Connecticut Legislature’s Energy and Technology Committee in support of renewable, green power and urged the legislators to make every effort to foster a market for clean, Renewable Energy.

Hartford, Connecticut – February 20, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The Energy and Technology Committee is expected to review on Wednesday, February 25 a number of pieces of legislation that directly affect the struggling green power market in Connecticut. “Connecticut has the opportunity to lead the nation on the development of a green power market,” said Brian F. Keane, executive director, SmartPower Connecticut, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Renewable Energy across the state. “As we sit here today our nation is on the brink of a war in Iraq. The oil markets today are responding because of the instability in the Middle East. And because of our reliance on oil, this instability is very directly affecting and determining our way of life here in the Unites States. A strong commitment to Renewable Energy by this committee, and this state, will begin to reverse what has become a very dangerous over reliance on fossil fuels.” This announcement comes little over a month after Green Mountain Energy, a provider of Renewable Energy, pulled out of Connecticut, citing the state’s less than stellar green energy legislation. “The bills being considered today will determine the energy future of this state,” said Dan Sosland, executive director, Environment Northeast, an environmental advocacy organization based in Hartford. “When Connecticut restructured its electricity system, we created the most successful energy efficiency program in the country, we unshackled ratepayers from the financial risk of nuclear and other power generation, we established new programs to support Renewable Energy, and we tried to give consumers the ability to choose ‘green’ power options. Today we urge legislators to maintain the state’s leadership in energy efficiency programs. Environment Northeast agrees that the state government should lead by example, committing to purchase 20 percent of its power supply from clean, Renewable Energy by 2010. We applaud proposals to require minimum levels of Renewable Energy in all power supply, and endorse innovative policies that give consumers multiple green power choices. If we can make these mid-course corrections, we can say with conviction that Connecticut is leading the country on efficiency, clean energy and climate change.” The groups are pushing several pieces of legislation which collectively enhance the environmental provisions of the Electric Restructuring Legislation. Specifically, the groups are pushing for the protection of the Conservation and Load Management Fund and the Connecticut Clean Energy Funds – two funds which are currently being eyed as a possible avenue for revenue by state budgeters. The groups are also calling for the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to be “fixed.” Fixing the RPS simply means amending the statute to include all electric suppliers in the state. Currently, the RPS exempts the largest suppliers and thus creates an uneven playing field for any green power company who wishes to do business in Connecticut. Further, the groups are pushing for a “Preferred Green Option Framework” – basically, a system which makes it easier for consumers to incorporate clean, Renewable Energy into their supplies. “Creating a green power market here in Connecticut is imperative for the health of our citizens and our environment,” said Brooke Suter, Connecticut director, Clean Water Fund. “The solutions are relatively easy – protect the conservation fund; protect the clean energy fund; apply the Renewable Portfolio Standard to all electric suppliers and allow multiple green option offerings. Our opposition to the excess pollution of the Sooty Six plants was simply the first step in creating cleaner air, creating healthy communities and ensuring energy independence. The legislature has the opportunity to apply a strong remedy which will last for generations.”