Conn. Seeks $38.5 M for Fuel Cells, Building Efficiency

Governor M. Jodi Rell said Connecticut has developed a comprehensive energy plan that uses $38.5 million in federal stimulus funds to expand fuel cell initiatives, improve energy efficiency of state buildings, and provide incentives to homeowners and businesses for alternative energy technologies to reduce energy costs.

The governor said the state must submit its plan to the U.S. Department of Energy by May 12 to complete its application to qualify for the funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The plan has been submitted to the General Assembly in accordance with a recent state law that allows for an informational hearing before the Legislature's Appropriations and Energy and Technology committees.

The plan calls for $19 million of the stimulus funds to be dedicated to expanding fuel cell initiatives and support emerging technologies for geothermal, solar thermal, and solar photovoltaic systems through the Clean Energy Fund.

The global market for fuel cells continues to develop. According to a 2008 Department of Economic and Community Development report compiled by the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, the industry could generate up to $140 billion a year once fully mature. Connecticut's fuel cell hydrogen industry has the potential to generate between $14 billion and $54 billion a year if it captures a significant share of the transportation market, the report said.

The state energy plan also dedicates $17.5 million of stimulus funds to energy efficiency and conservation programs and $1 million for training and administrative support. It is anticipated the plan will carry energy savings of 10 million BTU for every $1,000 spent.

The following is the funding breakdown:

  • $8 million to expanding current fuel cell initiatives with a goal of completing 14 more projects
  • $5 million for a new program that will offer rebates for residential and commercial geothermal systems with a goal of 600 installations
  • $4 million for rebates for residential and commercial solar thermal systems with a goal of 1,000 installations
  • $3 million to expand the Clean Energy Fund's solar photovoltaic programs for homes and businesses with a goal of 300 more projects
  • $6.25 million for private and municipal utilities (Connecticut Light & Power, United Illuminating, and Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative) to expand programs that provide ratepayers with energy audits and low-cost efficiency technologies
  • $2.86 million to CL&P and UI to expand conservation and efficiency programs for small businesses
  • $3.35 million to CL&P, UI, and CMEEC to expand conservation and efficiency programs for large commercial customers
  • $5 million for energy efficiency improvements in state buildings
  • $550,000 for training and certification of building operators and inspectors to comply with new building code energy components
  • $200,000 for administrative support to four Connecticut Clean Cities coalition (Greater New Haven, Southwestern Connecticut, Norwich, and Capitol Clean Cities Coalition
  • $292,000 for administrative support for the Office of Policy and Management to administer the state energy plan and energy block grants to municipalities

"Connecticut is meeting our economic challenges head on with a focus on our future," Rell said. "Color our blueprint 'green' for building a strong and sustaining economy. This plan will help get us there."

To view the state energy plan application and for more information the ARRA in Connecticut, visit Connecticut's official stimulus Web site and click on the CT Recovery link.

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