Friday, March 1, 2013

Connecticut does a new energy strategy

Many states have published comprehensive energy plans (or climate change plans, they are often very similar) in recent years, and I had occasion recently to look at the newest and one of the best: Connecticut’s (link here).
I focused, not surprisingly, on the transportation piece, which I was pleased to see managed to keep that difficult balance of being both aggressive and realistic.
Their 5 recommendations for the transportation sector:
1.     Promote the use of highly efficient vehicles for passengers and freight.  This one’s pretty obvious.
2.     Develop a clean vehicle/clean fuels technology platform in Connecticut.  The report notes that 92% of the state’s electricity comes from natural gas or nuclear power, so switching from gasoline-powered cars to electric vehicles can have immediate benefits.  One of the best initiatives here is the commitment to install 10 fast chargers for EVs on Connecticut’s interstate highways, mainly at service plazas.  That could really be a tipping-point strategy.
3.     Facilitate transit-oriented development to increase mobility and create more livable communities.  Wisely, Connecticut plans to get the most value they can from the large investments being made in the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield high-speed rail line and the CTfastrak bus rapid transit system and use them as springboards for good TOD.
4.     Follow best practices to improve the efficiencies of the transportation system.  They mention traffic signal timing, but more could definitely be done in this category.
5.     Develop sustainable funding sources for an efficient transportation system.  Yes!  It’s good to see the argument being made that there is a clear connection between how a transportation system is funded and what it can accomplish.  This helps prepare the ground for future funding initiatives.
I suppose if I had one quibble on the technical side it would be with the projection that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) will continue to grow at the same rate over the next 25 years as it has in the past 25 years.  I think recent data suggests that this is not all certain. 
At any rate, another first-rate product from Connecticut!

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