A plan to get Connecticut to a zero-carbon electricity supply by 2040 nears approval
Connecticut lawmakers are expected to vote on a slate of climate and transportation bills next week, including eliminating carbon-emissions from the state’s electric supply by 2040 and getting more electric vehicles on the road.
The state energy and technology committee, alongside the transportation committee, voted on legislation in support of energy resilience this week, moving multiple bills to the state House and Senate.
Governor Ned Lamont proposed legislation in February 2022 to improve climate change mitigation in the state. Committee members approved the legislation with bipartisan support to set a goal for Connecticut to achieve zero-carbon electric supply by 2040.
The measure updates existing aims to reduce greenhouse gases 45% in 2030, and 80% in 2050, compared to levels emitted by the state in 2001.
State Representative Thomas Ackert was among five Republicans who voted in opposition to the bill, saying he wanted a clearer plan.
“Until we have something that is realistic, I think for right now, I’m a ‘no’ on this,” Ackert said. “Very laudable goals — like to know how we’d get there.”
More electric vehicles
A bill allowing for the direct sales of electric vehicles in Connecticut was advanced by the state transportation committee.
The goal of adding more electric vehicles on the road is to reduce air pollution and increase the job market as technology advances, said Samantha Dynowski, the state director of Sierra Club Connecticut.
“Direct sale of electric vehicles by manufacturers is an important strategy to accelerate the adoption of zero emission vehicles to reduce emissions,” Dynowski said in a statement.
Car dealerships had lobbied against the bill, saying it would harm business if consumers bought cars directly from manufacturers.
Lamont pulled a similar plan out of his original 2022 budget proposal.
Powering energy storage
The state energy and technology committee voted in favor of expanding energy storage systems and improving the reliability of electric distribution. The bill requires the chairperson of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to conduct a study on grid resilience 2023.
The Conservation Law Foundation described the bill as a “critical first step” to advance in understanding the direction of the risks that infrastructure may face and how grid reliability can be ensured.
A separate bill advanced to the state General Assembly would include:
- Regulating distribution companies’ use of energy storage systems.
- Pre-authorizing reliable systems.
- Creating a pilot program to show how energy storage systems can help the resiliency of critical infrastructure.
- Requiring the state Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and electric distribution companies to set plans to keep reliable emergency or backup power for critical infrastructure.