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Capitol Area System End of Year Recap

Alycia Jenkins

Winter 2023

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The Capitol Area System has one of the oldest polluting fossil fuel energy plants in the state. The fracked gas plant is located at 490 Capitol Avenue, Hartford adjacent to residential neighborhoods as well as the State Capitol. It was previously a co-generation power plant that supplied power for the grid and used the excess heat to heat and chill water. Now, it no longer provides power for the grid, but it is still operating its fossil fuel turbines to heat and cool 18 public and private buildings in Hartford including the Office of Policy and Management, the Connecticut Supreme Court, State Library, Appellate Court, Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, the State Office Building, and more. 


In 2022, the state of Connecticut bought the plant from its previous owner to continue to heat and cool the buildings on the thermal loop. The plant is in need of repair, and the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) is in charge of planning the repairs. Currently DAS is conducting a decarbonization study that is expected to be released at the end of 2023. Sierra Club Connecticut is urging that the Capitol Area System be replaced with 100% clean and renewable technologies, and that training and job placement for the work be available to Hartford residents.


Working with people in Hartford to learn the history of the Capitol Area System and mobilize for a 100% clean and renewable transition is a key part of our campaign. As 2023 comes to a close, here is a look back at some of that engagement:

  • Each month we hold an online meeting with community leaders for updates and to plan action. 

  • On February 13 we hosted a rally in front of the building that houses the Capitol Area System’s fossil fuel boilers, and the following day we delivered valentines to the Governor asking him to “break up with fossil fuels” and “love clean air”.

  • Following a “letter to the editor” training in March, two advocates for a 100% clean and renewable transition wrote to news outlets. Read their pieces here  and here.  

  • Over the summer, we worked with Hartford youth with the leaders of Hartford's Proud. Together with other community leaders in Hartford and throughout the state, and religious leaders in Hartford, we hosted summer workshops for the young people around storytelling of environmental justice in Hartford and we focused on the Capitol Area System plant. The commencement of the program occurred in August with the youth performing the poem they wrote during the summer workshops.

  • In July we requested a public hearing and turned out residents and allies to the Department of Administrative Services public hearing on Scoping for the Capitol Area System, with all 15 comments at the hearing for a 100% renewable transition for the system. We organized written comments from 238 people.  

  • We’ve tabled at the West End Farmers’ Market in Hartford from the spring through the autumn gathering an estimate of 290 signatures urging the Governor to commit to a 100% clean and renewable replacement for the Capitol Area System. Add your signature here!

  • We hosted a walking tour in Hartford on Saturday, October 28. In this tour, we stopped at the Capitol Area System plant to share information with participants and discuss the campaign plans. 

  • Last month, we attended the Hartford city council meeting. During public comments, we shared our demands of the Lamont Administration to make the Capitol Area System 100% renewable and ensure that Hartford residents are hired to do the updates for the Capitol Area System.  


We look forward to more engagement with the community and with you in 2024. If you are interested in joining our monthly meeting or getting more involved, please reach out to me at Watch our newsletter and email for information about the decarbonization study and how you can take action.

Alycia Jenkins is an organizer for Sierra Club Connecticut.

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