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Electric warmth pumps are transferring entrance and heart in Connecticut’s energy effectivity program because the state seeks to hurry adoption with a free session service and important rebates.

EnergizeCT has contracted with Abode, an energy administration firm, to function the session service and develop a statewide community of skilled warmth pump installers. Abode, based mostly in Harmony, Massachusetts, operates related packages in that state which have up to now resulted within the set up of near 2,200 warmth pumps in 13 communities, stated Christopher Haringa, the corporate’s program supervisor.

Ratepayers can sign up for a digital chat session with a warmth pump knowledgeable on the EnergizeCT web site. For the reason that service began in late Could, Abode has performed greater than 100 consultations lasting a mean of 45 minutes every, Haringa stated.

“Owners are terrified of constructing the flawed resolution, particularly after they’re going to be spending $10,000 or extra on their set up,” he stated. 

Eversource and United Illuminating, which run EnergizeCT, are additionally within the means of overhauling this system’s web site to raised promote warmth pump know-how, stated Ronald Araujo, director of energy effectivity for Eversource. 

Air-source warmth pumps are heating and cooling methods that run on electrical energy as an alternative of fossil fuels. They transfer warmth exterior in the summertime and inside within the winter. They’re extremely environment friendly and might considerably decrease energy payments when paired with house weatherization. 

A earlier small-scale warmth pump pilot program that started in 2019 validated the shopper financial savings from warmth pumps after they displace oil and propane methods, Araujo stated. 

“So we requested of the Division of Energy and Environmental Safety if we may transition the pilot to a full-fledged program this 12 months,” Araujo stated. “That method we wouldn’t lose any momentum.”

Clear energy advocates have been pushing the state to place extra assets into selling warmth pumps for a number of years. The difficulty appeared to realize higher urgency final 12 months after an annual greenhouse gas inventory report confirmed that constructing emissions within the state are rising. 

The state’s newest Conservation Load and Management Plan, primarily the blueprint for EnergizeCT, particularly directs the utilities to prioritize transitioning prospects to warmth pump applied sciences. And state regulators have taken the main focus off of pure gasoline enlargement by ordering the utilities to finish incentives for householders changing from oil to gasoline. 

Bernard Pelletier, vp of the nonprofit Individuals’s Motion for Clear Energy, which promotes heat pumps on the neighborhood degree, stated he thinks the warmth pump pilot program took far too lengthy, however he’s impressed that the utilities have introduced in Abode. An informational webinar performed by the corporate final month was “actually one of the best presentation I’ve ever seen on warmth pumps, from quite a few standpoints,” he stated. 

Throughout that webinar, Melanie Shea, a residential decarbonization advisor for Abode, sought to dispel a standard fantasy that warmth pumps don’t carry out effectively in excessive chilly. Excessive-performing models function effectively right down to -15 levels, she stated. And whereas they’re much less environment friendly at very low temperatures, they’re nonetheless extra environment friendly than combustion methods. 

Learn extra: In Maine, heat pumps are proving themselves even against extreme cold

Ratepayers can use the session service to first get fundamental details about warmth pumps, and study what inquiries to ask contractors. As soon as they’ve some quotes in hand, they’ll arrange a follow-up session to assist them examine system designs and costs. 

“Now we have to be completely agnostic in the case of manufacturers and contractors — we’re not right here to promote you something,” Haringa stated. “We are going to take a look at the quotes objectively, and assist you determine how the efficiency compares between methods.”

A calculator tool on the EnergizeCT web site will help householders work out how a lot they could be capable of save in energy prices by switching to warmth pumps. The instrument additionally offers a tough estimate of how a lot a system may cost a little based mostly on home dimension, and the way a lot is perhaps obtainable in rebates.

A single ductless warmth pump prices round $5,000, together with set up, in keeping with Shea. A ducted system is not less than $15,000 put in. Entire-house methods may embody a mix of the 2, she stated. 

The obtainable rebates are in two tiers. An instantaneous low cost is offered to all utility prospects when a professional contractor purchases the tools. The next, mail-in rebate is just obtainable to prospects who’re changing oil or propane heating methods. 

These rebates aren’t but obtainable to prospects who’re changing pure gasoline methods as a result of the price financial savings from changing these methods are “marginal” presently, Eversource’s Araujo stated. 

The utmost rebate per family is $15,000.

Rebates are additionally obtainable for ground-source warmth pump methods. These methods function in the identical method, however make the most of the earth, by means of an underground pipe system, to behave as a warmth sink in the summertime and a warmth supply within the winter. 

Dandelion Energy, which just lately opened a brand new facility in Windsor, has put in 92 geothermal methods in Connecticut, and one other 315 are underneath contract, stated Heather Deese, director of coverage and regulatory affairs. 

Installations are costly — a geothermal system serving a typical 2,500-square-foot house can run $40,000 to $50,000, she stated. However with federal tax credit and state rebates, Dandelion tries to get the out-of-pocket price right down to $18,000 to $25,000, she stated. The corporate additionally gives no-money-down financing.

“The state incentives have been vital to our resolution to develop into Connecticut,” Deese stated. 

However she wish to see the state increase the rebates to additional cut back the price of transitioning away from fossil fuels, and likewise make them obtainable to pure gasoline prospects and to homebuilders.

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Energy Efficiency

Dominion’s 2.6 GW offshore wind project wins approval, but risks–and costs–remain a worry



Dominion’s 2.6 GW offshore wind project wins approval, but risks–and costs–remain a worry

Dominion’s 2.6 GW offshore wind mission wins approval, however dangers–and prices–stay a fear

Home News Dominion’s 2.6 GW offshore wind mission wins approval, however dangers–and prices–stay a…

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Energy Efficiency

The latest reaction as Inflation Reduction Act, climate provisions pass through Senate



The latest reaction as Inflation Reduction Act, climate provisions pass through Senate

The newest response as Inflation Discount Act, local weather provisions go by means of Senate

Home Emissions The newest response as Inflation Discount Act, local weather provisions go by means of Senate

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Energy Efficiency

Regulators’ foot-dragging hides full story on Ohio utility corruption



Regulators’ foot-dragging hides full story on Ohio utility corruption

This text is offered by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Heart for Journalism, in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please be part of the free mailing lists for Eye on Ohio or the Energy News Network, as this helps present extra public service reporting.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine knew critics questioned whether or not the previous FirstEnergy nuclear vegetation actually wanted Home Invoice 6’s $1.1 billion bailout. However Sam Randazzo, chair of the state’s regulatory fee on the time, assured DeWine the vegetation couldn’t in any other case cowl their prices. DeWine signed the nuclear and coal bailout invoice into legislation in July 2019.

Only one 12 months later, federal brokers arrested former Ohio Home Speaker Larry Householder and others for alleged crimes associated to the invoice. And whereas its nuclear bailout provisions had been repealed in 2021, HB 6 stays on the coronary heart of the $60 million corruption scandal that continues in Ohio. 

FirstEnergy admitted final summer season that it paid $4.3 million to an organization linked to Randazzo shortly earlier than his appointment to the Public Utilities Fee of Ohio in early 2019. The corporate stipulated in a federal courtroom submitting that in return for the cost, it anticipated favorable therapy from Randazzo in his official capability. Randazzo has denied wrongdoing however resigned from the PUCO in November 2020, days after an FBI search of his house.

“Sam, what will we find out about whether or not nuclear vegetation want this enhance?” DeWine requested Randazzo in a June 2019 message. The e-mail got here from DeWine’s private electronic mail tackle, not his official authorities electronic mail.

“The target evaluation I’ve reviewed finds that Ohio’s two nuclear vegetation will not be producing ample income to cowl their prices,” Randazzo replied on June 19, 2019. He didn’t say what that evaluation was. Nor does it seem that he offered a duplicate to DeWine or his former chief of employees Laurel Dawson, who was copied on that electronic mail. Dawson’s husband had been a lobbyist for FirstEnergy.

Energy Information Community and Eye on Ohio obtained these emails and greater than 2,000 different paperwork on the finish of July in response to public information requests made final fall. The paperwork present how Randazzo, DeWine and others acted main as much as and within the wake of HB 6.

But the PUCO has not but produced all the general public information that had been demanded in federal subpoenas the company obtained within the spring of 2021. And the company has but to supply quite a few public information regarding communications following Randazzo’s departure between PUCO commissioners and employees, on the one hand, and representatives within the DeWine administration, on the opposite.

These supplies may clarify why the company has principally stayed the course with the method Randazzo crafted for the PUCO’s limited and piecemeal response to the HB 6 scandal. The supplies may also clarify why the PUCO has restricted challengers’ fact-finding efforts in varied HB 6-related instances, in addition to the timelines for these instances, which gained’t wrap up earlier than DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted face re-election within the fall.

Past that, the general public information might present whether or not anybody on the PUCO or within the DeWine administration has directed the company to completely examine the alleged corruption on the PUCO, which could assist take care of the “black cloud” present PUCO Chair Jenifer French stated was hanging over the company final 12 months.

Subpoenaed public information

The PUCO produced an earlier batch of paperwork in response to the 2021 subpoenas in February. Amongst different issues, these supplies confirmed how Randazzo and others had been looped into the legislative course of when HB 6 was being crafted. The supplies additionally confirmed how he formed the PUCO’s delayed response after the July 2020 arrests of Householder and others. Supplies produced in that batch of paperwork additionally raised questions concerning the impartiality of PUCO listening to examiner Greg Worth, who subsequently stepped back from a judge-like position in a number of instances the place he had dominated in FirstEnergy’s favor.

The second batch of subpoenaed paperwork wasn’t turned over to Energy Information Community, Eye on Ohio and different public information requesters till July 29, greater than 5 months later. Even then, the doc manufacturing got here six weeks after a courtroom of claims complaint looking for considerably the identical supplies was filed by Jake Zuckerman of the Ohio Capital Journal. Some responsive supplies nonetheless haven’t but been produced.

Paperwork within the second batch transcend the nuclear vegetation’ want for subsidies. In early 2020, Randazzo met with leaders of Energy Harbor, the corporate that received the nuclear vegetation after FirstEnergy Options’ chapter. On the time a federal rule threatened to make HB 6 much more pricey for Ohio ratepayers.

Different information replicate Randazzo’s hostility to wind energy. He claimed in 2020 that native governments had a say on siting, though Ohio didn’t cross a legislation for that till 2021. Supplies additionally embody his feedback about “unwinding challenges” when payments to repeal HB 6 had been launched following Householder’s 2020 arrest.

But different supplies referred to buyer disconnections for nonpayment, the COVID-19 pandemic, and utilities’ prices for energy effectivity applications in 2018 and 2019. 

They embody prices for energy effectivity applications together with lost distribution revenues. These costs pay utilities to make up for electrical energy they didn’t promote when energy effectivity applications assist prospects waste much less electrical energy. They made up about 46% of FirstEnergy’s energy effectivity program prices in 2018 and 2019. 

The comparatively massive share raises questions on firm and company accounting beneath Ohio’s prior energy effectivity applications. In distinction, AEP Ohio and Dayton Energy & Gentle (now AES Ohio) had nothing allotted for misplaced revenues in these years. The explanation isn’t clear. AEP Ohio additionally had a complete of roughly $32 million for 2 different sorts of costs that FirstEnergy didn’t have. That whole remains to be lower than half of FirstEnergy’s misplaced revenues for both 2018 or 2019. 

Energy Information Community and Eye on Ohio’s evaluate of paperwork is ongoing. So is the PUCO’s evaluate of what subpoenaed public information requests it’s going to flip over.

“The PUCO is continuous its evaluate of a comparatively smaller set of information containing confidential or potential commerce secret info to find out whether or not these information should be withheld,” stated a July 29 letter from PUCO Deputy Authorized Director Donald Leming.

PUCO spokesperson Matt Schilling stated by way of electronic mail he didn’t have a extra exact estimate of what number of paperwork are concerned or after they could be produced. Nor would he say why it took so lengthy since February to supply the extra paperwork. Likewise, he stated he didn’t have an estimate of employees time spent on responding to the general public information requests since then.

Schilling additionally wouldn’t give a sure or no reply about whether or not the PUCO had accomplished its response to the federal subpoenas. As an alternative, he wrote, “The PUCO is absolutely cooperating with the U.S. Division of Justice, and I can not remark additional on its investigation.”

After Randazzo left…

In April 2022, Energy Information Community and Eye on Ohio additionally submitted a public records request for the PUCO’s code of ethics and digital copies of public information reflecting varied communications between individuals on the PUCO and others from the time after Randazzo left, which associated to particular subjects related to the HB 6 scandal.

Amongst different issues, these paperwork ought to present if the governor’s workplace advised the PUCO to completely examine alleged corruption. Additionally they ought to present if the company itself undertook any actions to search out out the extent of alleged corruption. And so they may replicate any directives the PUCO received on the timing of its FirstEnergy instances in gentle of the upcoming November elections.

Almost three months after the general public information request, the PUCO declined to offer any of the requested public information aside from the code of ethics and a DeWine memo saying company personnel ought to abide by state ethics necessities. The company claimed the outline of public information was imprecise and overbroad.

The PUCO’s denial of the general public information request as not particular sufficient “is ridiculous,” stated Dave Anderson, coverage and communications supervisor for the Energy and Coverage Institute, who additionally has sought public information from the PUCO. “We reside within the twenty first century, the place emails will be looked for names and subjects, enabling public information officers to simply find and produce emails and paperwork from a public official’s laptop recordsdata.”

Anderson first sought public information for Randazzo’s emails regarding HB 6 again in January 2021. “Greater than a 12 months and a half later, PUCO has but to finish the manufacturing of those public information,” he famous. He added that the company’s refusal to even say whether or not it has accomplished manufacturing of information subpoenaed greater than a 12 months in the past is “much more regarding.”

“This is identical runaround they offer everybody. It’s a disgrace,” stated Rep. Jeff Crossman, D-Parma, who famous he additionally has confronted challenges when looking for public information from each the PUCO and from DeWine’s workplace. “We deserve a authorities that’s really clear and accountable. I’d say that [current PUCO Chair] Jenifer French has been a disappointment, however she’s just about precisely what I anticipated from a DeWine appointee — prepared to run interference if it means defending her future prospects over the most effective curiosity of the general public.”

“The opposite fascinating query was: With whom did they talk about what information they turned over or didn’t flip over?” stated Ashley Brown, a former PUCO commissioner who had been with the Harvard Electrical energy Coverage Group. Given what Energy Information Community and Eye on Ohio requested for, he discovered it “laborious to imagine … that the one dialogue was inside the confines of the fee.”

On July 23, Energy Information Community and Eye on Ohio submitted a clarified and narrowed public records request. Schilling has acknowledged receipt. However that’s all. “I additionally would not have an replace in your latest public information request,” he wrote by way of electronic mail. “I’ll let once I know extra.”

“PUCO’s lengthy delays in producing these information can solely be described as unreasonable,” Anderson stated. “PUCO must be targeted on investigating FirstEnergy and holding the corporate accountable on behalf of all of the ratepayers damage by the bribery scheme and its fallout, and meaning complying with requests and subpoenas geared toward shining gentle on that scheme.”

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