WALLINGFORD, Conn., Oct. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- On Wednesday, Oct. 14, more than 145 communities gathered at the Toyota Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, Connecticut to be recognized for their achievements in the Clean Energy Communities (CEC) program. The Clean Energy Communities Awards Ceremony was hosted by Energize Connecticut, which is a partnership between Eversource, The United Illuminating Company and Connecticut Green Bank.
Together, these municipalities collectively saved more than 1.7 billion kilowatt-hours and 18.6 million ccf through their energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts in the Clean Energy Communities program. Those savings are comparable to the amount of electricity 200,000 homes would typically consume in one year, and result in avoided emissions of approximately 926,806 tons of CO2. This is equivalent to taking 159,527 cars off the road for a year or planting 237,172 acres of trees. In honor of this achievement, the State of Connecticut issued an official proclamation declaring Oct. 14, 2015, as Clean Energy Communities Day.
The ceremony was highlighted by keynote speaker Lynne Hamjian, the deputy director of the office of ecosystem protection for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) New England. Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Robert Klee was also in attendance to congratulate the participants.
Furthermore, Municipal leaders were joined by David McHale, executive vice president and chief administrative officer at Eversource; Patrick McDonnell, director of conservation and load management at The United Illuminating Company and Bryan Garcia, President and chief executive officer of the Connecticut Green Bank.
"The Clean Energy Communities program has played a key role in allowing Connecticut to emerge as a national leader in energy efficiency," said Robert Klee, Commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. "Through this program, cities and towns of all sizes – all across our state – have banded together to reduce their overall energy usage and costs, and established a real model for tackling the tough energy and climate challenges facing our nation. It is inspiring to see the progress we are making as a result of the commitment of our communities, as everywhere I travel in Connecticut I see local energy efficiency and renewable energy projects coming to life."
To participate in the CEC program, municipal leaders pledged to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent, and support renewable energy by 20 percent by 2018. Through communitywide residential and business participation in energy-saving and renewable energy programs, the community receives points toward rewards. For every 100 points earned through participation in energy efficiency programs, a community is eligible to receive a Bright Idea Grant, ranging from $5,000 to $15,000, to be used on a community-selected energy efficiency project. Similarly, for every 100 points earned through participation in renewable initiatives, a community can receive a reward of $4,500, to be used on any project involving energy efficiency, renewable energy or alternative fuel vehicles.
"Energize Connecticut has shown great leadership on climate change by bringing the issue directly to communities when developing the Clean Energy Communities Program," said EPA Regional Administrator Curt Spalding. "Through this program, they have 169 communities committing to energy efficiency and renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve resilience."
Each community was recognized on a gold, silver and bronze scale for their level of participation:
Bronze - These municipalities have pledged to the Clean Energy Community Program. There were 89 bronze award recipients.
Silver - These municipalities completed the requirements of bronze level and established an energy task force, engaged in community awareness of energy programs, earned a Bright Idea Grant and completed one full year of benchmarking municipal energy usage. 10 percent of the households and businesses have participated in energy saving programs and have completed 17 percent of their renewable energy commitment. There were 53 silver award recipients.
Gold – These municipalities fulfilled all the requirements for Bronze and Silver and completed 100 percent benchmarking of Municipal and Board of Education buildings in EPA portfolio manager, redeemed their first Bright Idea Grant for an energy saving project, completed an outreach campaign for the residential and/or business community, have achieved 20 percent residential program participation and achieved 15 percent commercial/ Small Business Energy Advantage (SBEA) participation. There were 5 gold award recipients.
Communities who partook in unique energy initiatives were also honored with special awards throughout the ceremony.
For more information on the Clean Energy Communities program, visit EnergizeCT.com/communities.
About Energize Connecticut
Energize Connecticut helps you save money and use clean energy. It is an initiative of the Energy Efficiency Fund, the Connecticut Green Bank, the State, and your local electric and gas utilities, with funding from a charge on customer energy bills. Information on energy-saving programs can be found at EnergizeCT.com or by calling 1.877.WISE.USE.
SOURCE Energize Connecticut