Energy policy in Connecticut

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Energy policy in Connecticut
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Quick facts
Energy department: Department of Energy and Environmental Protection[1]
State population: 3.6 million
Per capita income: $58,908
Energy consumption
Total energy consumption: 742 trillion BTU[2][3]
Per capita energy consumption: 207 million BTU
Energy spending
Total state energy spending: $15,365 million
Per capita energy spending: $4,284
Residential natural gas price: $16.35 per thousand cubic foot
Residential electricity price: 18.61 cents per kWh
See also
Energy on the ballot
Statewide fracking on the ballot
Local fracking on the ballot
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Energy Policy Project
Energy policy in the United States
Energy use in the United States
Glossary of energy terms
Energy policy in Connecticut
Fracking in Connecticut
Energy policy in Connecticut depends on geography, natural energy resources, how electricity is generated, how much energy consumers use, politics and the influence of groups such as environmental and industry organizations. Decisions by policymakers, such as state and local governments, utilities and regulatory agencies, affect all citizens economically and environmentally, and are generally geared toward providing reliable, affordable energy. The cost of energy affects not only home heating and electricity bills, and thus disposable income, but also economic growth, including jobs, investment and the cost of doing business in the state.

How energy is produced and consumed also has an impact on the environment and pollution. Energy policy in Connecticut focuses on expanding energy choices, lowering utility bills for residents of the state, improving environmental conditions and enhancing the quality of life in the state.[4] As the infrastructure for producing and delivering renewable energy sources is not as advanced as it is for energy generation from traditional sources, these policies often require subsidies to make the produced energy affordable, and their effects are difficult to measure.

Energy policy involves tradeoffs between providing an affordable, consistent energy supply on the one hand, and limiting pollution and protecting the environment, on the other. How states attempt to balance these two differs between states, and often boils down to costs to consumers versus costs to the environment. This article provides general energy information about the state as the context within which energy policy is made, as well as information about major legislation and public and private groups that play a role in setting energy policy in the state.

See also: Energy policy in the United States for more information on energy policy.
See also: Fracking in Connecticut

Energy overview

State facts

Below are quick facts about Connecticut's energy climate.


  • is the fifth most energy efficient state in the nation.[5]
  • is a net electricity importer.
  • has no fossil fuels.
  • mines no coal, produces no natural gas, and neither produces nor refines petroleum.
  • has renewable energy in the form of biomass and hydroelectric power.
  • produces most of its electricity from nuclear power and natural gas.
  • consumes energy mostly produced from natural gas.
  • requires the use of reformulated gasoline.
  • is the second smallest per capita consumer of energy.[6]

In Connecticut

  • the price of electricity is the fourth highest in the nation.
  • the price of natural gas is the 10th highest in the nation.
  • nearly half of the net electricity generation came from the 2,103-megawatt Millstone nuclear station.
  • the residential and transportation sectors are practically tied for largest consumer of energy at about 32 percent.
  • the smallest consumer of energy is the industrial sector, consuming only 11 percent of the total energy consumed.[6]

Available energy resources

Connecticut has no traditional energy resources such as oil, coal or natural gas. The state imports all of the natural gas, coal and petroleum that it uses. Connecticut is a net energy importer because of its lack of traditional energy resources.[7]

Connecticut currently gets about 5 percent of the electricity it generates from renewables, which the state gets from two sources, biomass and hydroelectric. Connecticut's wind power potential is concentrated in Long Island Sound, the rest of the state being unfit for development of wind energy. Cost-effective wind resources are being explored and planned in the Long Island Sound area, but there are no existing utility-scale wind farms in the state.[7]

Consumption and prices

Energy consumption in Connecticut
CT energy consumption chart.png

     Transportation       Residential     Industrial       Commercial
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As shown on the pie chart to the right, in 2011 roughly one-third of Connecticut's energy use was for residential use, and one-third for transportation. The industrial sector consumes the least amount of energy, only about 11 percent of the total consumption. Energy consumed in the state comes mainly from natural gas.[7]

Petroleum is used primarily in the form of fuel oil in Connecticut, and prices of fuel closely follow the national average, but the state's price is always higher.[9] According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) February 2014 report, the federal excise tax is 18.40 cents per gallon of gasoline and 24.40 cents per gallon of diesel fuel. In addition to that, Connecticut collects a total tax of 25.40 cents on every gallon of gasoline and gasohol, and 54.90 cents per gallon of diesel, which ranks it at the fourth highest in the United States.[10][11] Reformulated gasoline, which is gasoline mixed with ethanol in order to reduce emissions, is required throughout Connecticut. Connecticut is also pursuing other alternative fuel options to reduce emissions, including alternative fuels.[7]

Comparisons tables

The table below compares Connecticut's consumption and spending for energy, as well as prices for natural gas and electricity, and carbon emissions to those of Rhode Island, which has similar resources and consumption needs because of climate and geography. Also given are the U.S. averages and the state rankings. All rankings are from highest to lowest, so, for example:

  • Connecticut's rank of 41st in carbon emissions means that carbon emissions are somewhat higher than Rhode Island's, which ranks 49th.
  • Per capita income in Connecticut is higher than in Rhode Island by 13 places.
  • Per capita energy consumption in Rhode Island (at 51st because D.C. is included in the rankings) is very similar to Connecticut's consumption at 49th.
  • Per capita spending in Connecticut is significantly higher because it ranks 31st to Rhode Island’s ranking of 46th.
  • Both states have very high natural gas prices, with Rhode Island's price slightly lower than Connecticut's.
  • Electricity prices in both states are significantly higher than the national average.
Consumption and Expenditures Comparisons Summary
Type ConnecticutRhode IslandU.S. Figures
FigureU.S. Rank*FigureU.S. Rank*Totals
Population3.6 million291.1 million43313.9 million
Per Capita Income Average$58,9082$44,99015$42,693
Total Consumption742 trillion BTU35184 trillion BTU5197,301 quadrillion BTU
Per Capita Energy Consumption207 million BTU49175 million BTU46312 million BTU
Total Spending on Energy$15.365 million29$3.818 million49$1,394,088 million
Per Capita Spending on Energy$4,28431$3,63446$4,474
Price of Residential Natural Gas, dollar per thousand cubic feet$16.3510$14.9412$12.48
Price of Electricity, cents per kWh18.61414.55912.31
Total Carbon Dioxide Emissions, million metric tons (2010)36.94111495,631
*Rank is from highest to lowest.

Fuel oil is the most widely used source of heat for homes; about 46 percent of homes use the petroleum derivative. Approximately 32 percent of all homes in the state use natural gas despite the high price, and about 15 percent of homes use electricity to heat their homes.[7]

See also: State Energy Rankings to compare all 50 states
Consumption of energy for heating homes in Connecticut
Source Connecticut 2011 U.S. average 2011
Natural gas 32.4% 49.5%
Fuel oil 46.3% 6.5%
Electricity 15.3% 35.4%
Liquid Petroleum Gases (LPG) 3.2% 5%
Other/none 2.8% 3.6%

Production and transmission

Connecticut produced 196.5 trillion BTU of energy in 2011. Of that amount about 85 percent comes from nuclear power. The remaining approximately 15 percent came from what the U.S. Energy Information Administration classifies as 'other,' which is "assumed to equal consumption of all renewable energies except biofuels." [12]

Energy production by type in Connecticut, 2011
Type Amount Generated
(trillion BTU)
% of State % of USA
Nuclear 166.7 84.83% 2.02%
Other 29.9 15.22% 0.42%

Electricity generated in Connecticut is mainly comes from nuclear power, but natural gas is close behind. About 54 percent of the electricity generated in Connecticut is generated from nuclear power plants within the state. One nuclear power plant, the Millstone Plant, generated nearly half of the total electricity by itself. About 41 percent of electricity is generated from natural gas, despite the higher price of natural gas in Connecticut. The natural gas is all imported by interstate pipelines, primarily through New York.[7]

Where electricity comes from in Connecticut[6]
Type Amount generated (MWh) % of state** % of U.S.**
Natural gas-fired 1,184,000 41.25% 0.12%
Nuclear 1,552,000 54.08% 0.2%
Hydroelectric 25,000 0.87% 0.01%
Other renewables 54,000 1.88% 0.03%
Total net electricity generation 2,870,000 100% 0.07%
**Note: Because the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) does not include all of a state's energy production in these figures, the EIA totals do not equal 100 percent. Instead, we have generated our own percentages.

Independent System Operators of New England (ISO-NE) runs and maintains the electricity grid in Connecticut, and other surrounding states.[13] There are two main electric utilities in Connecticut, Connecticut Light and Power (CL&P) and United Illuminating (UI). Small municipalities have their own utilities that provide services to individual towns. Since the late 1990's the two companies have not been allowed to generate, but instead have to purchase electricity from companies that generate electricity and transmit it to consumers.[14] There are 32 natural gas utility companies in Connecticut.[15] The three major utilities in Connecticut are Yankee Gas, Connecticut Natural Gas and Southern Connecticut Gas.[16]

Energy policy

Policy Issues
Connecticut has a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 27 percent by 2020. The RPS mandates that electricity retailers obtain a minimum percentage of their retail load by using renewable energy. The state also places an emphasis on expanding energy choices, improving quality of life and environmental conditions and lowering utility bills for residents.[17]
See also: Fracking in Connecticut

Energy policy is made, executed and influenced by many organizations, both public and private, and is codified in the laws and regulations of the state. Each state’s energy policy involves tradeoffs in which energy production and prices are weighed against environmental concerns and efficiency. As part of its energy policy Connecticut has a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 27 percent by 2020. The RPS mandates that electricity retailers obtain a minimum percentage of their retail load by using renewable energy. Renewable energies include solar, wind, fuel cells and landfill gas. The legislation also allows some more efficient technologies to count towards the 27 percent goal.[18] The state also mandates that energy suppliers pay for programs aimed at reducing use of traditional energy sources and increasing energy efficiency. They are allowed by law to pass these costs on to customers.[19][20][21]

Connecticut ranked fifth on the Energy Efficiency Scorecard produced by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).[22][23] There are differing estimates about the economic impact of these mandates in terms of costs that may affect prices and jobs, as well as the impact on the environment and pollution. Thus, for example, there are many new studies of what is called the "rebound effect" which refers to the fact that "some of the theoretically estimated gains in energy efficiency will be eroded as consumers consume additional goods and services."[24][25]

Major legislation

  • The federal Clean Air Act (1990) requires some areas in Connecticut use reformulated gasoline that is blended with ethanol in order to cut down on emissions. The locations are generally chosen because they exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.[26]
  • Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-1 expanded the existing RPS goals in Connecticut. The RPS goal in Connecticut has been increased and 27 percent of net generation is expected to come from renewable energy sources by 2020. Most renewable sources of energy count towards the goal, and there are even some more efficient forms of traditional energy that also qualify under the legislation.[27][28]
  • State Building Code, 2005 Connecticut Supplement, 2009 Amendment requires that new residential and commercial buildings meet energy efficiency standards set by the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The IECC is a model code that mandates certain energy efficiency standards.[29]
  • The Connecticut Clean Car Act, Public Act 08-98 (2004) imposes automobile fuel economy standards similar to California’s, which include attempts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. The Clean Car Act applies to 2008 models onward and adopts California’s vehicle emissions standards.[30]
  • Public Act 07-242 (2007) requires appliances meet certain efficiency standards. The legislation also mandates that state-purchased residential furnaces and boilers meet strict efficiency criteria, and that state agencies purchase equipment and appliances that meet federal Energy Star standards.[31]

Government agencies and committees

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State energy policy

State fracking policy

Energy policy terms

Fracking in the U.S.

Energy use in the U.S.

Energy policy in the U.S.

State environmental policy

See also
Local fracking on the ballot

Statewide fracking on the ballot

  • The Connecticut General Assembly, the state's legislature, has a joint standing committee that deals with energy issues. Connecticut is unique among the 50 states in that it is the only state to have only joint committees. The Energy and Technology Committee. The committee is made up of members of Connecticut's legislature and has the power to edit bills before they go to the General Assembly to be voted on. This gives the committee power to shape the legislation before most of the members of Connecticut's legislature.[32]
  • The Connecticut Energy Advisory Board was created to oversee and report on projects administered by the state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The Board also consults with the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection regarding the state's resource plan.[33]
  • The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is charged with conserving, improving and protecting the natural resources and the environment of the state of Connecticut as well as making cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy available for the people and businesses of the state. DEEP provides energy efficiency tips to Connecticut citizens and helps provide information in order to let the voters make informed energy decisions.[34]
  • The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) is a part of DEEP that is charged with regulating rates and services that Connecticut's investor owned utilities charge. PURA also provides information on rates for the utility consumers of Connecticut.[35]

Major organizations

  • Renewable Energy New England (RENEW) is a non-profit association uniting the renewable energy industry and environmental interest groups whose mission involves coordinating the ideas and resources of its members with the goal of promoting and increasing sustainable renewable energy in New England. RENEW works to craft and strengthen public policy that integrates and develops greater amounts of renewable energy in the New England area.[37]
  • Energize Connecticut is an initiative that empowers Connecticut citizens to make smart energy choices. The organization wants to make energy affordable for all, and also improve clean energy use in Connecticut. The organization pushes "smart energy" that is both efficient and clean. Energize Connecticut serves businesses and residents of the state by providing information about renewable energies and ways to implement them at low cost.[38]
  • The Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund (CEEF) works to advance the efficient use of energy, decrease air pollution and other negative environmental impacts. CEEF supports financial incentives provided through programs that help pay for increased energy efficiency. CEEF is funded through a small charge on the customers of Connecticut Light and Power, and the United Illuminating, as well as small charges on other utility bills.[39][40]
  • Connecticut Energy Education is funded by Connecticut electric ratepayers through the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund (CEEF). The group creates educational materials in the program that are designed for use by high schoolers and teachers in classrooms. Much of the information comes from the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University.[41]

In the news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Connecticut+Energy+Policy"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Connecticut Energy News Feed

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See also

External links


  1. Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, "Home," accessed March 3, 2014
  2. These figures come from the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) State Profiles and Energy Estimates, Connecticut Overview. Statistics for population and per capita income are for the year 2012; consumption and spending estimates are for 2011; and prices are for October 2013. Updated pricing information is available on the state's EIA profile. Prices will be updated on this page biannually.
  3. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Connecticut Overview," accessed February 5, 2014
  4. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, "2013 Comprehensive Energy Strategy for Connecticut," February 19, 2013
  5. American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, "Connecticut," accessed March 3, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Connecticut Profile Analysis," updated December 18, 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Connecticut Profile Overview," July 2012
  8. This chart depicts the state's energy consumption as reported by the EIA for 2011. Click the image to enlarge.
  9. To compare current gasoline prices in Connecticut to the U.S averages, go to
  10. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Petroleum Marketing Monthly," February 2014, accessed Mar 3, 2014
  11. The Tax Foundation, "State Gasoline Tax Rates, 2009-2013," March 21, 2013
  12. U.S. Energy Information Administration, “State Energy Data System, Production,” accessed February 18, 2014
  13. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, "Electric Power Markets: New England (ISO-NE)," accessed March 3, 2014
  14. CT Energy Education, "Connecticut Electricity Overview," August 5, 2007
  15. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, "Gas Utilities," February 6, 2012
  16. New Haven Register, "Connecticut utility regulators set hearings on natural gas expansion plans," September 7, 2013
  17. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, "2013 Comprehensive Energy Strategy for Connecticut," February 19, 2013
  18. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, "Connecticut Renewable Portfolio Standards Overview," accessed March 3, 2014
  19. According to a report called "The Status of Renewable Electricity Mandates in the States," by the free-market Institute for Energy Research, the cost of electricity in states with RPS were on average 38 percent higher in 2010 than in states without a RPS.
  20. Institute for Energy Research, "The Status of Renewable Electricity Mandates in the States," accessed March 24, 2014
  21. Manhattan Institute, "The High Cost of Renewable-Energy Mandates," February 2012
  22. American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, "State Energy Efficiency Policy Database" accessed March 3, 2014
  23. For a full explanation of how the ACEEE calculates this ranking see the executive summary of their report.
  24. International Risk Governance Council, "The Rebound Effect: Implications of Consumer Behavior for Robust Energy Policies," accessed March 3, 2014
  25. Scientific American, "How Bad Is the Rebound from Energy Efficiency Efforts?," May 21, 2013, accessed March 3, 2014
  26. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, "Fuels and Energy," updated February 24, 2012, accessed March 3, 2014
  27. Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, "Renewables Portfolio Standard," July, 19, 2013
  28. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, "Connecticut Renewable Portfolio Standards Overview," accessed March 3, 2014
  29. Institute for Energy Research, "Connecticut," accessed March 3, 2014
  30. Institute for Energy Research, "Connecticut," accessed March 3, 2014
  31. Institute for Energy Research, "Connecticut," accessed March 3, 2014
  32. Connecticut General Assembly, "Energy and Technology Committee," accessed March 3, 2014
  33. Connecticut Energy Advisory Board, "Welcome," accessed March 3, 2014
  34. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, "About Us," accessed March 3, 2014
  35. Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, "About Us," accessed March 3, 2014
  36. Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, "Organizational Charts," accessed August 3, 2011
  37. Renewable Energy New England, "About Us," accessed March 3, 2014
  38. Energize Connecticut, "About Energize Connecticut," accessed March 3, 2014
  39. Energize Connecticut, "About Energize Connecticut," accessed March 3, 2014
  40. Energize Connecticut, "About CEEF," accessed March 3, 2014
  41. Connecticut Energy Education, "About," accessed March 3, 2014