Connecticut’s 1998 electric restructuring legislation established the Renewable Energy Investment Fund.* The Renewable Energy Investment Fund was later renamed the Clean Energy Fund, which the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA)** -- a quasi-governmental investment organization -- was given the authority to administer. In operation since 2000, the Clean Energy Fund has aimed to develop, invest in, and promote, sustainable energy sources. A surcharge on Connecticut ratepayers' utility bills provides the funding for the Clean Energy Fund, and the charge currently stands at "not less than" $0.001 per kWh (1 mill per kWh).
CEFIA was given a significant amount of flexibility by the Connecticut General Assembly to develop programs and fund projects that aligned with the Clean Energy Fund’s mission. CEFIA has since been renamed as the Connecticut Green Bank. Connecticut General Statute § 16-245n stipulates that the Connecticut Green Bank shall: (A) develop separate programs to finance and otherwise support clean energy investment in residential, municipal, small business and larger commercial projects and such others as it may determine; (B) support financing or other expenditures that promote investment in clean energy sources in accordance with a comprehensive plan developed by it to foster the growth, development and commercialization of clean energy sources and related enterprises; and (C) stimulate demand for clean energy and the deployment of clean energy sources with the state that serve end-use customers in the state. The Connecticut Green Bank receives guidance from a board of directors, whose members include the Commissioners of the Department of Economic and Community Development and the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection; additional members are appointed by the Connecticut General Assembly and the Connecticut governor. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is required to approve a comprehensive plan for the Clean Energy Fund and review its annual reports. Furthermore, the fund is audited annually.
The Connecticut Green Bank leverages rate payer funds to raise private investment and further support renewable and clean energy development in the state. According to Connecticut General Statute § 16-245n, the Connecticut Green Bank is authorized to invest in “solar photovoltaic energy, solar thermal, geothermal energy, wind, ocean thermal energy, wave or tidal energy, fuel cells, landfill gas, hydropower that meets the low-impact standards of the Low-Impact Hydropower Institute, hydrogen production and hydrogen conversion technologies, low emission advanced biomass conversion technologies, alternative fuels, used for electricity generation including ethanol, biodiesel or other fuel produced in Connecticut and derived from agricultural produce, food waste or waste vegetable oil, provided the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection determines that such fuels provide net reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel consumption, usable electricity from combined heat and power systems with waste heat recovery systems, thermal storage systems, other energy resources and emerging technologies which have significant potential for commercialization and which do not involve the combustion of coal, petroleum or petroleum products, municipal solid waste or nuclear fission, financing of energy efficiency projects, projects that seek to deploy electric, electric hybrid, natural gas or alternative fuel vehicles and associated infrastructure, any related storage, distribution, manufacturing technologies or facilities and any Class I renewable energy source.”
Further developments in the law required the Connecticut Green Bank to establish particular clean energy programs. For example, the Connecticut Green Bank created both a combined heat and power and residential rooftop solar program and the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program. Furthermore, recently-enacted laws have supported the notion that the Connecticut Green Bank is integral to the state’s plan of expanding green energy. More energy improvements are now eligible for participation in the C-PACE program, and the Connecticut Green Bank was given ownership of Solar Home Renewable Energy Credits (“SHRECs”), which are generated from qualifying residential PV systems. Investor-owned electric distribution companies are required to purchase SHRECs in long-term contracts, and municipalities must incorporate residential PV systems into their building permit application processes. Additionally, the Connecticut Green Bank has been granted many business-related powers so that it has more flexibility in achieving its goal of continued renewable energy growth. The Connecticut Green Bank has evolved into an agency that has direct statutory authority for its operations.
For more details on existing programs -- including funding amounts per program -- see the most recent annual report and the individual program records on DSIRE.
* Connecticut's restructuring legislation also created a systems benefits charge to fund public education, weatherization and energy conservation measures for low-income residents, storage and disposal costs for spent nuclear fuel, and post-retirement costs for decommissioned nuclear reactors.
** Legislation passed in July 2011 completely restructured the Clean Energy Fund and created the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority. Under this new structure, the rate payer funds can be leveraged to raise private investment and further support renewable and clean energy development in the state.