The City of Bridgeport is in the midst of a dramatic reduction in violent crime – the largest drop over the past decade for a city our size in all of New England. And the Police Department is preparing to announce 2014 crime statistics that will reflect yet another significant decrease in crime in our city.
While I applaud the efforts of the Connecticut DOT to eliminate ice on our roads, we should weigh the long term effects on our vehicles and the environmental impact of doing so. While “old fashion” sand and salt may not be as effective in melting ice as the hybrid mixes, they clearly aren’t as destructive to our environment and vehicles.
It has been reported that Massachusetts’ utilities National Grid, Northeast Utilities and Unitil have negotiated power purchase agreements (PPAs) for 565 megawatts of electricity capacity from existing and proposed wind farms in New Hampshire and Maine that would provide electricity at wholesale rates of approximately 8 cents per kilowatt-hour. These agreements were lauded by the Boston Globe, going as far as claiming that “wind power is now competitive with conventional sources.” Eight cents per KWh is cheap for wind, especially when you consider that Cape Wind currently has PPAs with NStar and National Grid for 18.7 and 20.5 cents per kilowatt-hour (not including 3.5 percent annual escalators).
Energy policymaking in Connecticut has lately been consumed by the struggle over large-scale hydropower, and that is unfortunate, because the energy policy we actually need in Connecticut has little to do with remote Canadian dams and a lot to do with a low-cost, consumer-friendly energy resource much closer to home – energy efficiency.
If you believe BNE Energy’s industrial wind turbine project in Colebrook will create jobs, read Joel Rinebold’s testimony before the Connecticut Siting Council. Who is Joel Rinebold? He was hired by BNE to prepare an Economic Energy Analysis for their projects in Colebrook and Prospect. Interestingly, Mr. Rinebold is a former executive director of the Connecticut Siting Council. It seems that the more one digs into these projects the muddier the waters become.
Perhaps to be no more than a memory, cherished only in books, a picturesque, bucolic Connecticut town could be gone with the wind… Currently, Connecticut has no regulations for the siting of wind energy power plants and without them we are an easy target for the wind industry to market their wares.
Job creation is one of Connecticut’s top priorities, and the creation of new jobs through energy efficiency and clean energy projects in schools, homes and public buildings should be a high profile initiative led by Gov. Malloy and supported by the Connecticut legislature. Jobs that provide an energy or environmental benefit, also known as “green jobs,” are a key opportunity for the state.
In proposing a merged Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) with Dan Esty as its head, Governor Malloy took a bold step toward implementing his stated vision that Connecticut’s environmental health and economic future are fundamentally and inextricably linked. Governor Malloy deserves credit for taking action so early in his tenure to pull together energy planning, energy permitting, energy efficiency, and renewable energy investments under a single agency. A growing chorus of legislative leaders, business leaders and environmental advocates has been calling for such a consolidation of our balkanized state energy planning and implementation responsibilities.