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Electricity at Home and Work
The average Connecticut resident used slightly less electricity at home in 2012.
From 2005 through 2011, thousands of households changed suppliers to buy electricity generated from renewable energy sources. Far fewer signed up in 2012.
For five years in a row, Connecticut businesses have used electricity more efficiently to produce goods and services.
Efficiency at Home: The average Connecticut household has been consuming less electricity since the peak usage year of 2007, despite a brief reversal in 2010. Nonetheless, peak demand remains excessive. According to the Connecticut Sitting Council, peak demand occurs during hot, humid summer days when residents use air conditioning. Most Connecticut consumers do not purchase the most efficient air conditioners. (The pruchasing data previously tracked in this report report but was discontinued in 2010 when reliable data became unavailable.) Excessive electricity consumption in the summertime has had significant environmental consequences. On the hottest days, Connecticut’s base-load power plants are unable to meet the additional demand, and older petroleum-fueled plants are brought on line. Because they are used sporadically, many of these older plants are permitted to operate with no pollution control equipment. As a result, state residents generate the most air pollution on the hottest summer days when air quality is already bad.
The vast majority of Connecticut’s electricity is generated from nuclear energy and the combustion of natural gas, oil and other fuels. Hydropower, wind, solar and other renewable resources are small but growing sources of electricity. Each source, renewable or not, has its own negative environment consequences. Reducing those consequences will require Connecticut households to use electricity more efficiently. Such efficiency can be attained in part with ENERGY STAR appliances.
Buying Cleaner Electricity: The CTCleanEnergyOptions program enables customers to purchase electricity from renewable sources, especially wind. Participation grew steadily until 2012. The electricity that actually enters these houses is not necessarily from renewable sources. The consumer who elects this option is paying for the generation of renewable electricity on the regional electric grid. This reduces the amount of electricity that otherwise would be generated by power plants, all of which create pollution. CTCleanEnergyOptions is a collaborative program administered by the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority.
Efficiency at work: The bottom graph shows the trend in the efficiency with which Connecticut’s economy uses electricity to produce goods and services. Connecticut's businesses generally have been using less electricity to produce a unit of goods or services. State Gross Domestic Product (GDP) represents the total value of goods and services produced within the state in a single year. In 2012, the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis put Connecticut's GDP at $229 billion (current dollars). When adjusted for inflation, that amount is a slight (0.1 percent) decline from 2011. Over that same time, Connecticut busnesses reduced their electricity consumption by 1.4 percent.
*Personal Impact indicators illustrate trends in behavior or practices that can be expected to influence the condition of tomorrow’s air, water, land and wildlife.