Friday, May 12, 2006

DeStefano Unveils New Energy Plan

Here's another example of a Democrat getting aggressive with Energy as a campaign issue.


"Governors Rowland and Rell have failed to control energy prices," said DeStefano. "Even worse, they've followed the failed policies of President George W. Bush by slashing funding for the development of clean, renewable energy technologies and for energy conservation. My plan calls for bold action that will make Connecticut a national leader in alternative energy and provide real relief for our families."


As a Democrat I especially appreciate how he connects Rell to the Bush administration. Gov. Rell has done a good job distancing herself so far, but if either DeStefano or Malloy has an actual chance of winning they need to find ways of getting voters to associate Rell with Bush. Focusing one energy seems like the most effective way to accomplish this.

The plan itself is bolder than his plan for pay equity, which I last reported on. I like that JDS is talking about energy beyond just gas prices. As many of you have pointed out they may go down again as the election nears. Speaking of plans and initiatives, I wonder how many more we'll get before the convention.

Source

DeStefano Unveils New Energy Plan. DeStefano For Governor Web Site. 5/12/06

11 comments:

Wrath of Conn said...

It's always good to hear politicians talking about these issues. Looking at DeStefano's plan, I see a couple problems however...

1 - There is still a lack of overall capacity in CT
2 - We need to fix the grid in SW CT (and really statewide) to ease the congestion, and stop the brown-outs we see EVERY August.

I think that instead of taxing the power companies, the answer could be forcing them to spend those same dollars on fixing these bigger problems.

ctkeith said...

Lisa Moody's so DONE.

She told Briam Mattiello "This meeting never Happened" as she was handing him the fundraising invitations!!

Put on CT-N

disgruntled_republican said...

It is good to see someone talking about it, yes, but how are we going to pay for this?

I read his proposal and I see:
* $300 million energy rebates
* $3 million for loan program
* $100 million for state clean energy and energy efficiency programs.
* $200 million for a new energy science center
* $25 in matching federal funds

That's $628 million before we factor in the costs of implementing the plan.

The $1.8 billion savings is a make beleive number...we won't know how much it is until we get there but I again, at least he is saying something.

Perhaps he will tax utilities to pay for it...but they will pass it on to you and me.

I agree with wrath of conn...until we have the capacity in Connecticut by fixing the grids statewide there is no solution. The idea of forcing power companies to repair the grid issues with money they would have paid in tax is a good idea but I don't think we'll ever see it happen because most of these clowns in Hartford feel our tax dollars belong to them.

cgg said...

I noticed that too DG, but then pres releases are generally short on the details. It will be interesting to see if we get more details and in what form. That's if DeStefano is the nominee.

ALittleBitDramatic said...

Just be glad he didn't say the words "pedal power."

bluecoat said...

Sprawl, healthcare and energy are the issues that need to be addressed but JDS reaally is starting to scare me with how he proposes to adress them.

bluecoat said...

The only reason CL&P and UI finally began to 'fix the grid' is they saw that the increased demand was there. CL&P and Ui need to be absorbed by well capitalized power distribution companies who are good corporate citizens - and they are out there - and not just greedy companies with high powered lobbyists manipulating our laws every coupl of years as if we have no memory of what they have asked for

GovernorCaruso said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
GovernorCaruso said...

oops, swallowed the keyboard

stomv said...

* Provide $300 million in energy rebates to Connecticut ratepayers by 2007.

Newsflash: if the problem is not enough electricity (brownouts), making electricity cheaper, even for the most poor, won't help. Instead, perhaps take that money and invest it in insulation, windows, and other facilities upgrades in public (and poor private) housing to reduce their consumption of electricity, and thereby their electric bill, while simultaneously reducing the chances of brownouts.

* Save $1.8 billion by implementing an aggressive energy efficiency plan by 2012.

Right on. Government spending on energy efficiency programs results in the creation of good jobs, both union and non-union, and saves money in the long run. It's good politics, even if it isn't sexy or exciting.

* Create a $3 million revolving loan fund to provide no-interest loans to businesses to upgrade to energy efficient equipment and support clean energy generation.

Is $3 million nearly enough? That's only a small handful of projects at any one time. It's a good idea -- let the state (slightly) subsidize the reduction in energy consumption -- and while $3M is better than $0M, I can't help but think the impact will be really small.

* Empower citizens ? remove limits on net-metering, allowing citizens to produce as much clean energy as they want, and add voting seats to DPUC for citizens and businesses.

This is outstanding. It costs the budget exactly $0, and will result in more supply showing up on the grid. Sure, the amount of extra supply is quite small, but it's a free lunch.

* Halt plans to build a liquefied gas terminal in Long Island Sound and prevent additional cables and pipelines from being buried until environmental impact studies are done.

Studies are good, but I suspect that this is classic energy NIMBYism. We want no brownouts and cheap energy, but don't want any of it stored or generated near us. I don't know much about this particular project and tend to lean against all fossil fuel based projects, but I can't help but be skeptical about his motives here.

* Reduce carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions by 3.5 million tons

Um... that's a meaningless number without context, scale, or timeline.

* Support ethanol use to reduce carbon monoxide emissions by 30 percent, greenhouse gas emissions by 35 to 46 percent, and particulate emissions by 50 percent.

How will he do that? Not tax ethanol? Subsidize ethanol fueling stations? Increase the required blend of ethanol in gasoline? Subsidize switchgrass/corn farms in Connecticut (hint: not a good idea)? Without some sense of the details, he's just throwing around a buzzword here, and one that does much more to help Iowa than Connecticut.

* Allow motorists who drive hybrid and ?flex-fuel? vehicles that get 40 miles per gallon to use High Occupancy Vehicles lanes.

The 40 MPG requirement is essential, and I would support this as incremental improvement. I wonder though: why does someone who gets a 42 MPG hybrid get to drive in the HOV lane, but not someone who's driving a 45 MPG gas or diesel only powered vehicle? Isn't the point to reduce consumption of fuel and pollution, and so, why do we care how the driver accomplishes that goal?

* Urge the Connecticut state pension fund to support shareholder resolutions on environmental disclosure and global warming.

Nice lip service, but even if they did 100% of the time, the total impact would be exactly nothing.

* Restore the Rowland-Rell budget cuts for the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, and expand funding to $100 million for state clean energy and energy efficiency programs.

Good.

* Invest $50 million from the Connecticut pension fund to support high-performance energy projects with strong returns.

Even better, especially if you can get some of those projects to be built in CT (help with jobs and taxes), or anywhere nearby and South/West (since wind blows Easterly, the air pollution is coming from OH/WV/KY/PA/NJ/NY. More green energy production in those states will improve CT's air quality.

* Create new energy efficiency standards for appliances that will save Connecticut consumers $57 million.

Can CT do this without the help of either tUSA's Congress or, at the very least, NY, MA, RI, VT, NJ, CA, OR, WA? I can't imagine Maytag manufacturing a special washing machine for purchase in the relatively tiny market of Connecticut.

* Commit $200 million to support a new energy science center at the University of Connecticut that will partner with the Institute of Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University to attract world-class faculty and train a new generation of energy specialists in Connecticut.

Fantabulous.

* Provide $25 million in federal matching funds to clean energy projects, creating an incentive for federal investment in Connecticut energy projects.

Good for energy production and for jobs, and it helps relieve pressure to build so-called "clean coal" plants in CT in the future.

* Create 75,000 (jobs) over the next ten years by making Connecticut the national energy leader.

Um... WTF does that mean? That makes no freaking sense in any context.



===

So, I'm glad he's pushing for this stuff, and most of it ranges from slight positive impact to large positive impact. It's a nice demonstration of leadership, although some public transporation initiatives belong there as well.

WHITNEY HARING-SMITH said...

Hey everyone,

I'm really glad that everyone is giving the DeStefano energy plan such a careful look, but I think that a lot of your questions about the details (and complaints about the context) can be answered by reading the full plan. The full plan is 23+ pages long, so it was condensed for the press release, which seems to be the source of many of your concerns about a lack of details. If you want to read the full plan, you can access it at http://www.newhavenindependent.org/archives/upload/2006/05/Energy%20plan.pdf. Please read the full plan since it should answer many of your questions.

Very briefly, in answer to the questions that have been posted so far:

$300 million in energy rebates will help businesses (such as Franklin Farms which employs 280 workers) stay in Connecticut by providing relief as soon as possible. We do indeed have a capacity and grid problem in Connecticut, but that will take many years to solve. If we want to stop bleeding jobs as a state, we also need immediate relief and this plan provides it.

The ethanol promotion comes in the form of matching the federal tax credit for the creation of E85 stations and supporting an ethanol awareness campaign (see page 9 of the plan).

The $3M is comparable to the starting funds of other revolving loan funds for energy efficiency in other states. Investing more in the fund before creating wide awareness of the fund would be allocating funds that would be unlikely to be used immediately.

In response to the two big numbers in the report - $1.8 billion saved through energy efficiency and 75,000 jobs created - there are supporting studies from which these numbers were drawn. For energy efficiency, I would direct you to the GDS Associates study on the cost effective energy efficiency and conservation potential study from 2004 (available on DPUC website). GDS Asssociates performed a 2 year study of what would be *cost effective* for Connecticut to implement and arrived at the $1.8 billion figure. This is the *conservative* estimate if you read the report.

The 75,000 jobs created comes from a series of comments from trade officials, including the head of Proton, a hydrogen energy company in Connecticut. (See the citations in the full report.)