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Clean Up the State Owned Power Plant

Carly Densem

October 2022

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Hello Readers,


My name is Carly, and I am an intern with Sierra Club Connecticut. I am working to raise awareness about a fossil fuel power plant in Hartford, the Capitol District Energy Center (CDECCA). Take a look at the photo (Figure I); it may seem familiar. Maybe you see this plant going to or from work, walking around the city, or even when grabbing a bite to eat. CDECCA is very noticeable and recognizable with its yellow stack and orange cooling towers next to it. Everyone including myself sees it going to work in Hartford, or heading home for the day. What is more remarkable is that many folks don’t know anything about this plant. Let’s remedy this.


I used to see this plant all the time going to and from school at UConn Hartford. Only since working with the Sierra Club do I understand what it means for the city of Hartford, its air quality, quality of life for those around the plant, and overall evolution towards the future of energy. CDECCA was built in 1988 originally using mostly gas and oil to produce electricity and heat, along with chilled water. The purpose of the plant at the time was to provide more energy to the new Legislative Office Building along with the Aetna insurance main offices and buildings. Extra energy was supplied to commercial and residential buildings opposite of the facility. Gas being the main fuel, would go through pipes, spin turbines at CDECCA which would generate and send electricity, heat from steam created, and chilled water to thirty-four buildings that went online with the plant at the time of its construction. It is currently providing steam and hot and chilled water to eighteen buildings including the Capitol complex, the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, the Connecticut Supreme Court, State Library, Appellate Court, Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, the State Office Building and more. CDECCA has not been updated structurally since its construction in 1988, which means it seriously needs replacement. 


Currently CDECCA is producing a significantly lower amount of energy than it was originally planned for, but the fact still remains that it uses fossil fuel for the turbines and operation of the plant. As of September 30, 2022, CDECCA will be owned by the State of Connecticut, a development that has received little public attention to date. Hearing about CDECCA’s history and how the state will own it, I assumed that the plant would be transformed to renewable energy. No such statement from the State has been made. Going to school in Hartford, I have become fond of the city and all it holds, including the delicious food and historical sites. I, like many of you, want to see Hartford and our state move towards a renewable future.


Take Action!

The CDECCA plant can be replaced with a renewable alternative. Let’s work together to urge Governor Lamont to commit to replacing this dirty power plant with 100% clean and renewable technology for it and the buildings it serves. Add your name in support of a clean and renewable replacement for CDECCA – tell Governor Lamont: Clean Up the State Owned Power Plant and Capitol Area Heating Systems. Your support is much appreciated!

Carly Densem is an intern at Sierra Club Connecticut.

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