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Connecticut Commits to Renewable Energy

Through an Executive Order, Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland announced that 20 percent of the state governments’ total electricity needs will come from clean, renewable energy by the year 2010. The shift to clean power is the most significant commitment to zero-polluting energy by any state in New England and among the most aggressive in the nation.

Hartford, Connecticut – April 27, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] To comply with the Governor’s order, all state government and university buildings will begin replacing an increasing share of their current fossil fuel and nuclear electricity sources with renewable energy. In addition to 20 percent by 2010, the Governor set longer-term clean energy goals of 50 percent by 2020 and 100 percent by the year 2050. No state has ever before set a goal of 100% clean energy use for all state buildings. Connecticut’s switch to clean energy is the latest in a series of high profile clean, renewable energy purchase announcements in Connecticut. These announcements have been primarily driven by the efforts of Hartford-based SmartPower – a non-profit marketing campaign dedicated to promoting clean, renewable energy. SmartPower conducts, as its core mission, the 20 percent by 2010 campaign across the Northeast region as a means of increasing clean air, healthy communities and energy independence. “When the discussion began over a year ago on how to improve air quality in Connecticut and simultaneously help decrease our dependence on foreign oil we brought the concept of 20 percent by 2010 to the table because we knew the impact would be so great,” said SmartPower Executive Director Brian F. Keane. “Governor Rowland’s Executive Order helps prove to the nation that clean energy is real; it’s here; and it’s working. If more state and business leaders were to follow this Governor’s lead on this issue our children’s health will be improved, more clean, renewable sources would be developed, and our reliance on foreign oil will be reduced.” Earlier this year, Connecticut’s third largest city – New Haven – became the first municipality in the state to purchase 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2010. Many Connecticut faith organizations have also made the pledge to include renewable energy in their church, parish and synagogue’s electric purchases. Keane said a marketing strategy for Hartford is being formulated. City churches have already formed a coalition to support renewable energy, and Trinity College made a small purchase of clean energy for the campus during a spring weekend last year as well as for their 2003 graduation day. The affect of displacing 20 percent of the Connecticut’s electricity, in excess of 104 million kWh, with renewable energy is equivalent to removing 17,000 passenger cars from Connecticut’s roads for one year and avoiding millions of tons of air pollutants. The Governor’s Executive Order will result in the removal of 160 Million Pounds of carbon dioxide by 2010, and 420 Million Pounds of carbon dioxide by 2020. 420 Million Pounds of carbon dioxide is the equivalent of 45,455 passenger cars being removed from the roads for one year or eliminating pollutants from the electricity needs of 26,958 homes in a given year. “The quickest path to cleaner air and reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil is to increase demand for non-polluting electric power made from cleaner, renewable sources such as wind, solar, and fuel cell power,” said Rowland. “With my order today, we can begin to clean our air, improve the health of our children and ensure our long-term energy security.” Only a handful of other states have implemented clean energy purchase programs for government-operated facilities according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a national laboratory working with the United States Department of Energy. “This commitment by the state of Connecticut accurately represents the desire of Connecticut residents to move away from polluting energy sources and towards cleaner air and better health through clean energy,” added SmartPower collaborator, Brooke Suter, Executive Director of the Connecticut Clean Water Fund. “Citizens have evidenced this desire through the successful 5 year campaign to clean up the old, fossil-fuel burning Sooty Six power plants, and now through the swell of support in municipalities around the state to commit to 20% by 2010 in their towns, with the city of New Haven being the first to formally pass a resolution. We commend this intelligent step towards supporting a healthier future.”