12 October 2021
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today released the state’s 2020 Integrated Resources Final Plan (IRP) 2020, a recurring assessment required by law of future needs for the state’s electricity supply and the potential means to meet these needs.
This latest IRP marks Connecticut’s first assessment of pathways to achieve 100% zero-carbon electricity supply by 2040, as ordered by Governor Ned Lamont in Executive Order 3 (EO 3) . In line with the Governor’s intention, this IRP commits to achieving the goal of the zero carbon power sector and demonstrates that it is achievable through multiple pathways that maintain a reliable power system. This IRP focuses in the short term on areas of reform essential to facilitate the transition to a zero carbon electricity sector; prepare the network with modernized transport systems, reform the regional wholesale market and implement and synchronize policies and programs that promote accessibility and equity.
“This plan confirms that a carbon-free electricity supply is achievable by 2040 and will be necessary in Connecticut’s fight against climate change while emphasizing affordability and equity,” said the commissioner of DEEP, Katie Dykes. “The continued focus on regional market reform, transport modernization and investment in efficiency, storage and zero-carbon renewable energies – guided by strong and transparent stakeholder engagement – will be essential. to continue making progress towards a carbon-free electricity system that is fair, affordable and reliable. . “
To begin the implementation of this IRP, DEEP has taken the following steps today:
DEEP is also pursuing the following actions with a view to implementing the IRP recommendations:
- Sustainable, Transparent and Efficient Practices (STEPS) for Solar Development Continuous Process to Identify Best Siting and Licensing Practices for Renewable Energy in Connecticut
- Continued efforts to remove or fundamentally reform regional market rules to ensure that resources supported by Connecticut taxpayers are no longer prevented from participating in regional markets
- Ongoing engagement with other New England states and ISO-NE to help develop the transportation planning process called for in the vision statement and accepted by ISO-NE and improve Connecticut’s energy accessibility gap
- Ongoing engagement on all energy policy programs to expand access and remove barriers for underserved and overloaded customers to participate in energy programs, including fair energy efficiency process of conservation and load management plan , which sets goals to characterize the current state of the energy efficiency program and address known equity challenges and obstacles
Extensive modeling conducted in this IRP confirms that the significant investments Connecticut has made over the years in robust zero-carbon energy and energy efficiency programs have put the state on track to achieve this zero-carbon goal. . For example, through competitive long-term contracts, Connecticut taxpayers currently support over 600,000 MWh / year of grid-wide, zero-emission renewable energy and over 9 million MWh / year of resources. zero-carbon nuclear power plants, equivalent to nearly 65 percent of the electricity consumed by customers of the state’s two electric utilities. By 2025, this percentage is expected to increase to 91%, or 24.5 million MWh / year, as new grid-scale offshore wind and solar projects that have been contracted, but not yet built, are commissioned.
The IRP assesses Connecticut’s current and future electricity supply against six key objectives:
- Decarbonize the electricity sector
- Securing the benefits of competition and minimizing the risks for taxpayers
- Ensuring the affordability and equity of energy for all taxpayers
- Optimal location of production resources
- Transportation upgrades and integration of variable and distributed energy resources
- Balancing decarbonization and other public policy goals
The IRP establishes several priority actions over the next two years, including:
- Establish the 100% Zero Carbon Objective as a State policy
- Continue to reform the regional wholesale market and improve ISO-New England transparency and governance
- Work with other states to modernize the transmission system to unlock the potential for additional renewable resources, especially offshore wind
- Monitor contingencies to determine if new grid-wide renewable energy purchases are needed before 2023
- Explore the conservation of renewable energy certificates purchased through procurement and public policy programs as a more cost-effective way to achieve the 100% zero carbon goal and align greenhouse gas accounting practices Connecticut greenhouse with the strategies of this IRP
- Engage in stakeholder processes to develop best implementation practices for renewable energies to be incorporated into future purchases, and make authorization requirements more transparent, predictable and efficient
- Invest in equitable energy efficiency and an active response to demand
- Support historical deployment levels of distributed generation resources, with a focus on low-income customers in residential and shared successor clean energy tariffs
- Participate in coordinated workforce planning and economic development
- Support the deployment of energy storage systems to support the reliable integration of variable clean energy and avoid peaks in fossil fuel production
- Gradually reduce the value of biomass renewable energy certificates eligible as Class I renewable energy to diversify the state’s renewable energy portfolio
According to the law, DEEP is responsible for designing this plan “in a way that minimizes the cost of all energy resources to customers over time and maximizes benefits to consumers in accordance with state environmental goals and standards,” including, but not limited to, the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. reduction objectives (GHG). ”The plan is“ integrated ”in the sense that it takes into account both the resources of the demand (energy efficiency, demand response, etc.) as well as the more traditional resources of the supply (power plants / electricity, transmission lines, etc.) to formulate its recommendations on how best to meet the future electrical energy needs of the State.
This press release was produced by DEEP. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.