Connecticut Legislature Seeks Carbon-Free Electricity Goals by 2040 | national news
(The Center Square) — Governor Ned Lamont’s proposal to completely transition Connecticut’s electric grid from reliance on oil and gas by 2040 is back before state lawmakers.
The bill would require the state to achieve a carbon-free electric supply by Jan. 1, 2040, the Hartford Courant reported. This is in addition to the emission reduction targets currently in place.
Chris Herb, president of the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association, told The Center Square that the bill may have a laudable goal, but if rushed, it could lead to the kind of grid outages that ISO New England fought against. previously warned.
“To convert Connecticut’s electrical grid to all renewable energy sources, offshore wind is a popular option for policy makers,” Herb said. “It doesn’t take up land space. Offshore wind tends to be more stable and faster than onshore wind.”
Herb gives the example of one of the largest offshore wind power plants in the world: the Walney Extension wind farm off the coast of England. The UK wind farm has a capacity of 659 megawatts and spans around 56 square miles in the Irish Sea.
“The current nameplate capacity of Connecticut’s grid is 10,454 megawatts, so to replace that we would need some 15.9 Walney-sized wind farms, which have a lifespan of only 25 years,” he said. Herb. “With the higher cost of materials today and recent high inflation, let’s say the total cost to Connecticut would be $50 billion. This does not include the costs of decommissioning existing natural gas and nuclear power plants, nor the added cost of massive battery storage to store power when the wind isn’t blowing (as Germany experienced last year with its wind farms).”
An all-wind renewable electricity grid isn’t exactly practical in terms of space either. To put it into perspective, Herb said, if placed in Long Island Sound, that would mean one wind farm covering every square mile of Long Island Sound, from the New York border to Rhode Island. It would penetrate a few miles into the sound at its narrowest point to over 100 miles at its widest point.
“In reality, it’s likely that multiple renewables will be used, from solar to wind to hydro, nuclear and biofuels,” Herb said. “Without any coherent plan, it would be impossible to estimate the cost of such a complex mix of renewable energy sources. It is safe to say that it will cost tens of billions of dollars that taxpayers will pay the bill with higher electricity tariffs.”
Oil and gas, Herb said, are not part of what this bill envisions Connecticut’s electric future.
“It’s hard to imagine that we could avoid having blackouts without using gas and oil for many years,” Herb said. “It’s extremely risky and will have great economic and political consequences if (the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Utilities Regulatory Authority) don’t exactly get it right.”