[Like other states, Connecticut has an electric system based on a one-way flow of energy from a central generating stations to consumers — and this model is now obsolete. It is failing to capture new opportunities for distributed renewable energy, and it is failing to meet new problems like climate change and energy insecurity. This discussion paper examines how to revise Connecticut’s electric system to make it safe for the earth’s climate — and how to get the electric utilities to make the changes that are necessary. Here’s the full pdf of the discussion paper entitled: Connecticut’s Electric Utilities: Time to Revise the Model. Read the introduction below.]
Connecticut’s Electric Utilities: Time to Revise the Model
Like it or not, Connecticut’s electrical system is entering a new era. The technology, ownership, and regulation of the electrical system on which we all depend has long been based on a one-way flow of energy from central generating stations powered by fossil fuels and nuclear reactors to consumers around the state. But that model has become obsolete in the face of new possibilities for highly efficient forms of networked, consumer- and community-controlled, renewable energy generation, distribution, and efficiency, and of new problems like climate change and energy insecurity.
Unfortunately, our existing structure of energy production, distribution, investment, ownership, and regulation is delaying rather than promoting the transition to a more consumer-, jobs-, environment-, security- and climate-friendly energy system. As Rep. Lonnie Reed, co-chair of the General Assembly’s energy and technology committee recently put it, we need to “revise the whole economic model” for utilities and “do something dramatically different.”
The state of Connecticut is poised to consider how to restructure its energy system. In December 2014, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced it will initiate a proceeding to “evaluate the value of distributed generation.” Its study will include such issues as net metering, virtual net metering, feed-in tariffs, interconnection processes, smart meters and appliances, and rate design. A few days later, Rep. Reed recommended that a working group be quickly convened to begin “reinventing the moribund economic model” that is “old and tired and infuriating and unsustainable.” Read the full report here…