Sierra Club: Connecticut bill encourages too much large-scale hydro

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Connecticut House of Representatives recently passed legislation that would authorize Connecticut to enter into long-term contracts either on its own or in cooperation with other New England states, for purchase of renewable energy, but which still creates loopholes to weaken existing renewable energy programs. The measure followed weeks of delay and controversy as lawmakers responded to pressure from advocates not to weaken Connecticut’s existing renewable energy programs as proposed in a senate version of the bill.

In response, Martin Mador, Legislative Chair of the Connecticut Sierra Club issued the following statement:

We are disappointed that language adopted by the House could weaken existing programs by creating unnecessary incentives and loopholes for destructive large-scale hydro that ships jobs and energy dollars out of our state and region. While the bill wisely authorizes the state to work with our New England neighbors to procure renewable energy on a regional basis, it could still undermine investments in home-grown renewable energy sources from CT and the New England Region. We have great concern that the new bill grants broad discretionary authority to the DEEP commissioner, whose vision so far has not embraced fully the renewable energy principles we believe the state needs to embrace. His consistent support for large-scale hydro is not at all what we need and, in our view, unlikely to substantially reduce long term energy prices.

The state made a commitment to promoting energy efficiency as our first priority in 2007. The Sierra Club believes that is our best strategy for reducing both greenhouse gas emissions and the prices consumers pay. We still have a ways to go to meet that promise, and urge the legislature to support and fully fund energy efficiency programs in the legislation yet to be passed before the end of the session next week.

We look forward to working with the legislature and the governor’s administration to continue the progress we have made to support a green economy that is healthy and safe for all Connecticut residents as well as the planet we live on.