Rising electric rates have state and federal lawmakers looking for both short- and long-term solutions on how to make energy more affordable, while finding ways to rely less on natural gas for generating that energy.
Gov. Ned Lamont offered an update on those efforts this week to help residents gain a better understanding what could help them decrease costs.
"There's not a lot of room for error here," Lamont said. "Our focus here is on reliability, affordability and a carbon-free future. And it's all hands on deck."
The governor said he has met with the president of Virginia-based Dominion Energy, which owns the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant, to discuss contract agreements the state has to purchase power from the Waterford electric generation facility. Those contracts have already yielded bill credits of between $7 and $10 and now Lamont said he is looking the extend the contract beyond 2029.
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes said the state has also procured a gigawatt of land-based wind power to offset the price volatility of power generated by fossil fuels. The volatility has resulted in prices spikes this winter in Connecticut and across most of New England.
The land-based wind power the state has procured is in addition to contracts Connecticut have entered into for 1,108 megawatts of offshore wind.
In addition, Dykes said state officials are exploring ways to access additional hydropower from Quebec, using a transmission line that would go through Vermont.
"Hydropower is one of the lowest cost sources of electricity," she said. "The key piece is finding transmission that can get sited."
Dykes didn't provide any additional details on the state's plans to import more hydropower from Canada
One transmission line that would bring additional hydropower into the Northeast and is already under construction is the Champlain Hudson Power Express.
The 339-mile project got underway during the fourth quarter of last year and will bring over 1,200 megawatts of hydropower from southern Quebec to New York City. The transmission line is scheduled scheduled to be completed in 2026.
Much of the line will be buried under Lake Champlain and the Hudson River, with some of the other portions being buried along transportation rights-of-way in New York state. Plans for the transmission line have been around for more than a decade and initially called for a transmission spur that would link to Connecticut's transmission grid somewhere in Fairfield County.
But maps on the project's web page do not show a connection into Connecticut.
State Sen. Norman Needleman, D-Essex, said he is "especially encouraged by the governor's support for hydropower and nuclear energy." Needleman is co-chairman of the General Assembly's Energy and Technology Committee.
"I'm looking forward to helping find long-term solutions during this year's legislative session," he said.