State Representatives Reyes & Gibson Applaud Signing of Key Climate Change and Energy Legislation

May 19, 2022

On Tuesday, I joined State Rep. Bobby Gibson (D-Bloomfield, Windsor), Gov. Ned Lamont, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes, House and Senate colleagues, and environmental advocates in Bloomfield for a bill signing that sets up Connecticut to mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis by decarbonizing the electric sector and expanding existing renewable energy programs.

Public Act 22-5 (An Act Concerning Climate Change Mitigation) codifies into law the 2040 zero-carbon electric grid goal that Gov. Lamont established through an executive order that he issued in 2019. Codifying this goal into law will provide policymakers and the electricity sector with a shared goal of fully transitioning the state's electric supply away from relying on natural gas and oil to power its electric grid.

Public Act 22-14 (An Act Concerning Clean Energy Tariff Programs) expands existing programs supporting distributed renewable generation — generally solar and fuel cells — and helps reduce the energy burden of participating customers. The Non-Residential Renewable Energy Solutions (NRES) program is an annual auction for commercial customers. The Shared Clean Energy Facilities (SCEF) program is a separate yearly auction that provides on-bill credits to subscribers in the same electric distribution service territory, mainly targeting low- to moderate-income customers.

I want to thank Gov. Lamont because he said he would put environmental justice in all his pieces of legislation and these bills are a perfect example of that. Everywhere I go, I advocate for environmental justice. Waterbury is one of the state's poorest sections when it comes to median income and toxicities. I would also not be doing my job as Chair of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus if I did not advocate for the money allocated by these bills to go into the communities most affected by environmental justice issues and make sure that minorities are hired for good-paying green jobs.

Rep. Gibson added that our children's future is about clean energy, having a robust environment and a sense of social and economic justice so that people can lower their energy costs. He said these are win-win pieces of legislation. As Vice Chair of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, Rep. Gibson said communities of color suffer from some of the most toxic and poisonous air conditions, so we need more programs like these.