Blogs > Power to the People

Following energy issues in the state of Connecticut and beyond.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Connecticut Enviromental Group Rebukes Nukes As Solution To Global Warming

A new report by a state environmental group claims that the money that would needed to build the nation's first new nuclear power plant in 30 years would be better spent on efforts to promote energy efficiency and power from renewable sources.

The study, by the group Environment Connecticut, concludes there would need to be 100 new nuclear reactors built in this country over the next 20 years for the amount of emission that cause air pollution associated with global warming to be reduced by just 12 percent.

Even if it were possible to have that many new nuclear plants built over the next two decades, an estimated $600 billion dollars investment that would be required to do it, according to Environment Connecticut officials. Invest that same amount of money on clean energy projects and the reduction of air pollution associated with global warming would be twice as great as the nuclear solution, according to the study.

“When it comes to global warming, time and money are of the essence and nuclear power will fail America on both accounts,” said Christopher Phelps, Program Director with Environment Connecticut. “With government dollars more precious than ever, nuclear power is a foolish investment that will set us back in the race against global warming.”

Click here to access the group's full 52-page report.

Monday, November 16, 2009

ECSU Report Says CL&P Is A Major Economic Engine For State

A new report released Monday says that Connecticut Light & Power “is a linchpin organization” to the state’s economic growth, with its investments adding over 4,400 jobs and increasing its economic output by $673.5 million annually.

The 28-page study, conducted by two Eastern Connecticut State University economics professors, also says that investments the Berlin, Ct.-based utility has planned through 2012 will increase the state’s employment by 2,767 jobs and its total economic output by $354.8 million. Output is the dollar value of goods and services produced in the state of Connecticut as a result of additional spending by the utility.

“CLP has a more multi-dimensional economic impact than any other company in Connecticut,” said Dimitrios Pachis, an economics professor at ECSU and one of the authors of the study. “Here’s a company that is forward looking, a true partner of the state.”

The study was done over a two-month period using state and federal data. Pachis and fellow economics professor Jennifer Brown conducted the study working on a $23,000 grant that came from shareholders of CL&P’s corporate parent, Northeast Utilities.

Jeff Butler, CL&P’s president, said results of the study are designed “to educate people to the value of what this company brings to the state of Connecticut.

Even without the results of the study confirming it, Connecticut Business & Industry Association Economist Pete Gioia said there was never any question of CL&P’s status as a major economic engine for the state.

"All you have to do is take a look at the list of top taxpayers in every community in the state," Gioia said. "There are a lot of small towns out there that would be suffering if they didn’t have CL&P as part of their tax base.”

The ECSU study found that CL&P pays more than $71 million in municipal taxes each year, which supports an estimated 1,550 jobs around the state.

For more information on the study, read tomorrow's New Haven Register.

Public Relations Battle Over Nuclear Energy Heats Up

With the nuclear power industry going all out to convince the public that Americans are ready to accept the development of the nation's first newly built nuclear power plant since the Three Mile Island accident 30 years ago, there has been limited response from those opposed to the technology.

That may be changing, however.

The Environment Connecticut Research & Policy Center is preparing to release a new report on Tuesday which claims that increased use of nuclear power "will hinder our ability to fight global warming."

Stay tuned. We will have the findings of the report as soon as it becomes available.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Feds Make Payment to Shelton Solar Firm

Opel International, the Shelton-based solar power equipment maker, is $179,000 richer today, thanks to a payment from the federal government.

The company got the payment from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Treasury Department as part of a program that is using a $3 billion funding pool to make payments to companies that create and install renewable energy equipment. The award was made in recognition of a $1.2 million solar energy system that the company installed earlier this year on the roof of the Linden Elementary School in Plainville.

The system Opel officials installed at the school is the first of its kind in Connecticut, a tracking technology that allows the solar panels to shift as the sun shifts from east to west in the sky. The 770 solar panels that were installed at the school were put in place with $500,000 in grant money from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) and federal tax credits

Opel's solar energy system will reduce the building’s energy costs by $7,000 a year and will generate 131 kilowatts of energy, said Mike McCoy, Opel's chief financial officer.

“The direct payment by the U.S. Treasury Department broadens OPEL’s ability to fund new solar projects that will create new jobs and will make inroads for clean solar energy,” said McCoy said. “Our investments in other solar power projects also will contribute to continued growth of the U.S. economy.”

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

State Utility Regulators Reviewing 2010 Energy Efficiency Plan

The state’s electric and natural gas utilities have submitted a plan to utility regulators that calls for spending more than $130 million on energy efficiency programs next year, a move that proponents of the proposal say would result in $580 million in energy savings.

Officials at the state Department of Public Utility Control held their first public hearing on the energy efficiency plan last week, said Jeff Gaudiosi (who is shown at left), chairman of the Energy Conservation Management Board .

The board approved the energy efficiency plan, which was developed by the utilities, at its September meeting, Gaudiosi said.

"This is the first time that the electric and the natural gas utilities have filed jointly," he said. "They used to file separate plans and before 2007, there wasn’t a plan filed at all for natural gas, although the individual gas companies did programs on their own."

Gaudiosi said he is hoping that the DPUC will rule of the energy efficiency plan before the end of December.

For more on this story, see Wednesday's edition of the New Haven Register.