2024 CT Legislative Session Updates

Advocacy, Community, News

Published March 3, 2024

This year’s short legislative session is well underway. Here is a summary of activity and how BuildGreenCT has participated so far, and how you can participate.

Connecticut League of Conservation Voters Environment Summit

This is the environmental legislative event of the year. BuildGreenCT was asked to participate on a panel on Climate/Energy Solutions. Melissa Kops presented on building sector impacts and BuildGreenCT’s priority policy solutions. You can see a video of the panel HERE.

Energy Efficiency Funding

BuildGreenCT collaborated with People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) on a fact sheet describing the funding challenges facing the Conservation and Load Management Plan (CL&M), better known as EnergizeCT. The high demand for energy efficiency retrofits cannot be met by the current budgets which haven’t changed since 2012 even though construction costs have increased by almost 50%. This program needs more stable and consistent funding. Massachusetts spends twice as much per capita on energy efficiency. See the fact sheet HERE. The Energy and Technology Committee voted to raise the concept An Act Concerning Energy Efficiency Funding and Programs, but the language still has not been posted. Please make your voice heard that CT needs this funding!

Governor’s Senate Bill 11 An Act Coordinating Connecticut Resiliency Planning and Broadening Municipal Options for Climate Resilience

This bill has a lot to it, including new funding options for resiliency and the opportunity for resilience districts, but the part that BuildGreenCT responded to were sections 19-21 pertaining to incorporating optimal greenhouse gas reduction and cost-effective resiliency measures into the CT State Building Code. BuildGreenCT testified virtually in support of this bill. You can see the full environmental committee hearing HERE. (Melissa Kops testifies on behalf of BuildGreenCT at 5hrs 56mins.) You can see our written testimony HERE, which was a rebuttal to this article from the Home Builder’s and Remodelers Association (HBRA).

House Bill 5004 An Act Concerning the Implementation of Certain Climate Change Measures.

This is the omnibus climate bill known as the Connecticut Climate Protection Act. This bill was crafted by Rep Christine Palm and here is an article she cowrote in support of it.

Here are two summaries of what it contains, one from Sunrise Connecticut and a more recent one from Save the Sound. The language for this bill was just released so we are still working through what it contains, but some initial notable inclusions are reduced fees for B Corps, a business incubator for zero-carbon startups, increased battery storage goals to 1000 MW and authorizes PURA to increase incentives, school funding increased by 10% by incorporating renewable energy and energy-efficiency improvements, a goal for deploying 310,000 heat pumps, and state building zero-energy construction requirements.

The public hearing will be March 8th starting at 11am, but this hearing will extend into the night. Please take the time to participate by at least indicating your support through written testimony which can be added directly into a text box or attached as a pdf.

Abundant Proposed Solar Legislation

This year has been described as the solar year in the Energy and Technology Committee. We expect something to be passed on solar this year. The hearing for these bills was February 27, but you can still submit written testimony here.

HB-5052, proposed by Governor Lamont, proposes a separate tariff for solar on schools (so they aren’t competing with other commercial projects) and provides school districts grants to explore solar through the CT Green Bank.

HB-5231 proposes removing caps for commercial solar as long as federal funding is available through the Inflation Reduction Act (this is also proposed in HB-5004), requires the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to study a 2-year extension of SCEF (Shared Clean Energy Facility) and a successor program, and proposes allowing “netting” tariffs on commercial arrays up to 2 1⁄2 times the local load.

HB-5232 sets a target of 500 MW of solar per year (with priority going to low-income residents and distressed communities) and a goal of installing solar on 250,000 residences by 2035. It proposes several measures that will streamline and expedite the approval of solar canopy projects, and explore additional ways to promote canopies, and establishes a uniform approach to local taxation of commercial solar.

Engage with your State Legislators

Remember you can always email or call your state legislators to let them know your thoughts. They are a good place to start to understand the best way to engage with the legislature to support your priorities.

Reference Build Better CT

This is where BuildGreenCT collaborates with other organizations on building sector policy initiatives.