Connecticut predominantly invests its share of RGGI auction proceeds towards programs dedicated to the deployment of energy-efficient measures and improvements, and financing options for renewable energy projects. During 2014, Connecticut directed 69.5 percent of its RGGI auction proceeds toward the energy efficiency programs of the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund (CEEF), the Connecticut Municipal Energy Cooperative (CMEEC), the Town of Wallingford – Electric Division (WED) (formerly a member of CMEEC), and the Connecticut Green Bank (formerly the Connecticut Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority). A further 23 percent went to support clean and renewable energy programs of the Connecticut Green Bank.
The energy efficiency programs funded through the CEEF are administered by the electric distribution companies (Eversource, and The United Illuminating Company) and the local gas distribution companies (Connecticut Natural Gas Corporation, Southern Connecticut Gas Company, and Yankee Gas Services Company) in the state. RGGI auction proceeds supplement CEEF’s energy efficiency funding from other sources, chiefly from a mandated conservation charge of three mills per kilowatt hour collected from electric ratepayers.
During 2014, the CEEF’s programs provided funding for home energy audits under the Home Energy Solutions (HES) program, discounted lighting products under the Retail Lighting Products program, incentives for homes and businesses under the New Construction programs, financing options under the Small Business Energy Advantage program, and sustainability measures under the Business and Energy Sustainability program. CEEF’s programs served over 989,000 households and more than 6,000 businesses during 2014.
The member electric utilities of CMEEC used 2014 RGGI proceeds to conduct 304 home energy audits and provide a Cool Choice rebate to the Second Congregational Church in Jewett City for the installation of high-efficiency A/C equipment. WED utilized its 2014 RGGI proceeds to promote and conduct 514 home energy audits, and distribute LED lighting products to residential customers.
The Connecticut Green Bank used its 2014 RGGI funds to finance project costs under its nationally recognized Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program.
Connecticut’s robust portfolio of energy efficiency programs has led the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) to rank the state 6th in the nation on its 2014 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. In particular, ACEEE found noteworthy the C-PACE program, and the Small Business Energy Advantage program, which was broadened in 2014 to include state agencies and municipalities interested in installing energy efficiency measures in their buildings.
Program Highlight: Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program
With a portion of its share of RGGI funding, the Connecticut Green Bank launched, in January 2013, the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program, which helps commercial, industrial and multi-family property owners access affordable, fixed-rate, long-term financing (for up to 25 years) for qualifying clean energy and energy efficiency improvements to their buildings at no upfront costs. Building owners finance C-PACE improvement projects through a voluntary assessment on their property tax bill, which are paid back over time. Repayment obligations transfer automatically to subsequent owners if any of the properties are sold. Participating building owners benefit from lower energy costs, and the communities in which they are located experience reduced electricity demand and new clean energy generation. As of year-end 2014, the Connecticut Green Bank approved a combined total of over $63 million in C-PACE financing for more than 90 projects, which are estimated to avoid 13,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually.