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Give the People What They Want – Solar For All and 100% Clean Heat

Steven Lewis

November 2023

This summer and fall, a group of volunteers with Sierra Club Connecticut tabled at Farmer’s Markets and Fairs around the state. We were there to ask people about their interest in and support for making Connecticut a leader in 100% clean and renewable energy and clean heat. Here is what we learned.

 

We specifically asked about their support for the rapid expansion of solar energy in our state, and if they would support an improved community solar law to make lower cost solar energy available to many more people who rent or otherwise can’t have solar on their homes. Most of those we spoke with were surprised to learn that Connecticut has fallen to a distant fifth place in New England for solar energy on a per capita basis. Further they were eager to see more robust

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community solar law like those in neighboring states. We also asked about their interest in improved state policies to advance heat pump adoption similar to what Maine and Rhode Island are doing.  

 

There was overwhelming interest for these improved policies and most chose to put their names on a postcard to Governor Lamont and local legislators telling them so. As of this month’s newsletter, the Solar and Clean Heat for All campaign generated over 600 postcards sent with more on the way!

 

But this is just the beginning of a focused grassroots campaign to make Connecticut a leader in 100% renewable energy and clean heat. Our goal is to see legislation enacted in the 2024 legislative session that quickly sets these policies in motion. Connecticut has lost its way on making real progress on its ambitious goals for climate change mitigation and so a real strategy and speed are imperative. 

Right now, with wind energy delayed due to financing and supply chain challenges, and with hydropower from Quebec delayed and possibly constrained (Sierra Club opposes hydropower), Connecticut needs to double-down on solar power and energy efficiency to achieve zero-carbon electricity by 2040 and greenhouse gas reductions of 80% by 2050. 

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Our ask of each of you is to help us engage with your legislators to make sure they understand what we want them to support. The easiest first step is to take our digital action. Later this fall, we will be very specific as to what the legislative goals need to be, and we will ask you again to help us reach out to your legislators to urge that legislation be introduced to achieve these goals.  The future of our planet depends on how loud and insistent we get!

Stephen Lewis is our Greater Hartford Group Chair and serves on the Legislative and Political committees of Sierra Club Connecticut.

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