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DEEP seeks comment on state's energy future

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is seeking comment on the draft of its 2014 Integrated Resource Plan, a report that examines the outlook for future energy supply over the next decade.

The report, released last month, concludes that the state's energy initiatives are helping to reduce the demand for electricity and encourage the use of clean energy sources, but that the state and region face challenges in addressing price and supply over the next 10 years, DEEP said in a news release.

The report notes that infrastructure to deliver natural gas to the region's power plants is inadequate for the winter months, when much of the capacity of existing pipelines is used to guarantee heat for residential and commercial customers.

A link to the draft report and related documents can be found at:

According to the report, last winter wholesale electricity costs rose by $3 billion in the New England region due to increased prices for gas delivered to power plants and reliance on more expensive and dirtier power from oil. This situation could worsen as several non-gas power plants are scheduled to be retired in the next few years, the news release said.

The draft report notes that increased use of natural gas in New England since 2007 has reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide by 71 percent, 95 percent and 28 percent respectively. It states that over the next decade, Connecticut's expanded energy efficiency investment is expected to offset growth in the state's annual electricity consumption.

The state is on track to meet its commitment to using clean energy sources, but there will be increasing competition for the limited supply of renewable resources, the report states.

The report proposes five actions to address electricity price and supply issues:

• regional solutions to address natural gas pipeline infrastructure constrains;

• continued investments in cost-effective energy efficiency;

• further deployment of cost-effective renewable generation within the state, at the lowest cost to ratepayers;

• monitoring the adequacy of generation capacity in the region;

• increased support for combined heat and power systems and distributed energy resources.

DEEP will be taking comments on the report until Feb. 11. Comments can be submitted via email at:

Oral and written testimony will also be accepted at a public heating at 10 a.m. Jan. 22 in Hearing Room 1 at DEEP's offices at 10 Franklin Square, New Britain.

The 2014 IRP is the second prepared by DEEP since the 2011 law that gave the agency the responsibility to produce it. State law requires an update every two years. Its purpose is to serve as a 10-year plan to ensure Connecticut ratepayers have access to cleaner, cheaper and more reliable electricity, DEEP said in the news release.

It analyses electric supply and demand, customer costs and rates and environmental impacts. It then identifies strategies to secure an adequate supply of the optimal mix of electric generating resources to meet forecasted annual peak and energy demand in a way that minimizes costs and environmental impacts and also keeps the state on track to meet its energy efficiency and renewable energy goals, DEEP said.


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