Having read the Mirror’s December 14, 2018 article, CT’s clean energy battles transition from Gov. Dannel Malloy to Gov.-elect Ned Lamont, we’re compelled to set the record straight.
Eversource has a long history of working closely with state and local governments on a host of topics geared toward further modernizing the electric grid. As a regulated delivery company, we routinely keep elected officials and regulators closely apprised of the system upgrade, energy efficiency and distributed generation projects in which we’re involved.
In Connecticut, and across our three-state service area, our work in recent years has brought significant improvements to all facets of electricity delivery and technology implementation.
Technology improvements have without a doubt transformed the electric system of years past into a smart grid, and those enhancements continue. In the last two years alone, Eversource has installed more than 220 “smart switches” on our system throughout Connecticut. With these devices, we can restore power outages with computer-assisted technology right from our operations center, even before we deploy a crew to inspect the system and make repairs. These smart switches, designed to decrease outages by 30 to 50 percent, have benefited Eversource customers by providing increased reliability and minimizing the duration of power outages when they do occur.
With respect to renewable energy, we are firmly committed to increasing the amount available to Connecticut and neighboring states. Together with Ørsted, the global leader in offshore wind, we’ve submitted a bid to construct an 800-megawatt project in a lease area approximately 65 miles from New London. Constitution Wind would provide enough electricity to supply approximately 600,000 Connecticut households with clean, reliable power. It would also help the state achieve its 40 percent by 2030 renewable energy requirements. The equivalent of 400,000 cars would need to be removed from the road to equal the greenhouse gas reductions from our Constitution Wind project.
With Eversource’s nationally renowned Energy Efficiency programs and the work of the CT Green Bank, today Connecticut ranks the fifth most energy efficient state in the country according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. Successful implementation of energy efficiency initiatives requires close collaboration between regulators and local energy companies like ours. Eversource’s expertise and success led the sustainability advocacy organization Ceres to recognize us as the top U.S. utility for our energy efficiency programs, an accomplishment of which we’re extremely proud.
Energy efficiency efforts in Connecticut are unequivocally saving energy and millions of dollars for families and local business owners. In 2017 alone, more than 53,000 of the state’s residents and businesses took advantage of the energy efficiency programs we and other local energy delivery companies offered through Energize Connecticut. This success resulted in the saving of about $75 million in energy costs and nearly 400 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, while reducing CO2 emissions by more than 236,000 tons. According to EPA, that’s the equivalent of taking about 51,000 cars off the road for a year.
Eversource is also closely involved with current and future projects to promote more renewable and distributed energy across our region, including innovative electric vehicle charging and battery storage projects. Within the next few months, we expect to file a plan with PURA that will further accelerate grid modernization and renewable energy opportunities in the state while maximizing value for our customers.
A lot has already taken place in Connecticut and the future in front of us is even brighter. With the help of technology and collaboration, we’ve made significant strides in terms of electric grid enhancements, reliability improvements, and renewable energy adoption – and look forward to what’s on the horizon.
Leon Olivier is Eversource Executive Vice President of Enterprise Energy Strategy & Business Development.