Energy and Sustainability
The City of Middletown’s Energy Program has undertaken a number of projects to reduce our city’s energy consumption and costs, and to promote renewable energy generation. We also support programs to encourage residential and business energy improvements. Please see below and explore the related links.
On September 8, 2020, the Middletown Common Council unanimously approved a Climate Emergency Resolution creating an important foundation to help the City of Middletown respond more effectively to climate change.
Fort Hill Farm Project -
Middletown participates in Connecticut’s first biogas digester, supporting the project by benefitting from the electricity generated and saving 17% of the cost of that electricity.
This article from the American Biogas Council provides some background to the project..
An update of the project written in November 2020 and can be found here. The project is now complete and has been operational since early 2021. The facility recycles food waste and manure into renewable energy and soil products. The digester produces 550 kW of electricity and reduces 25,000 tons of organic waste annually.
“I want to thank everyone who played a role in helping this first-of-a-kind project in Connecticut become a reality, from the Department of Agriculture providing funding assistance through the Farm Transition Grant for the project’s planning phase to financing by the Green Bank,” said Governor Lamont. “Scaling-up infrastructure that manages organic waste is so critical for our state’s sustainability goals. This innovative project is a win for our economy and our environment, and something that we hope to advance more of through the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) participation in the Connecticut Coalition for Sustainable Materials Management launched in August.”
Fort Hill Farms is a fourth-generation farm that currently has more than 400 cows and is part of two dairy farm cooperatives called The Farmer’s Cow and Agri-Mark (Cabot Cheese), which supplies products to large, big-box groceries and local markets.
Kies Orr, co-owner and operator of Fort Hill Farms, said: “Cows produce cow manure, which can fertilize your gardens or make electricity for your home. This completes the circle, growing the food to feed the cows, and then using cow manure to power our farm.”
This project is a culmination of the state’s supportive net-metering and food waste diversion laws. Middletown is currently saving about $65,000 per year with the project.
A picture of the completed project is above.
Home Energy Solutions (HES)
“Great News Middletown!
“EnergizeCT has new improved rebates and incentives for customers including insulation rebates and FREE HES assessment!
“Now is the time to save on your energy bills!
“The programs are now offering virtual pre- assessments which provide a way to gather information and allow experts to explain the rebates.
“Customers can also access in-home trained certified technicians who will assess homes in safety gear and will complete onsite upgrades and in-home customer education.
“The insulation rebate has been increased from $1.00 per sq ft to $2.20 a sq ft. This improved incentive will help CT ratepayers save on heating and cooling costs and lower our energy demand. Saving energy saves money for your family, and it lowers energy- related air pollution.
“Ratepayers can access FREE virtual or in-home assessments, incentives and rebates by completing an assessment through EnergizeCT.
“Learn more at : www.energizeCT.com
“You can also access HES and HES-IE services through the City’s CHEER program. See below, or contact EES at 860-580-9076 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
“How we keep you safe : http://eesgogreen.com/covid-19/
“What to expect when we complete a virtual assessment: http://eesgogreen.com/virtual-pre-assessment/“
C-PACE (Business program):
C-PACE is a commercial financing program specifically for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects enabled by the City’s participation as a C-PACE town. With C-PACE, building owners can enjoy the advantages of energy upgrades immediately and pay for them over time through a voluntary benefit assessment lien, levied and recorded against the benefiting property, to be repaid along with real property taxes. It’s a safe investment that produces returns immediately and for years to come.
Clean Energy Task Force
The Task Force advises the Mayor and Common Council, and works with the Energy Coordinator, to conduct research, make recommendations to improve energy efficiency and conservation, avoid energy costs, promote renewable energy and reduce harmful energy-related environmental impacts in the City of Middletown. These functions shall include examining and making recommendations on technology that is currently available to produce electricity from sources other than fossil fuels that is clean, sustainable and emission-free, such as energy efficiency, wind turbines, photovoltaics, low-flow water turbines, geothermal and fuel cells.
- Anna Salo-Markowski
- August DeFrance
- Vincent Loffredo
- Demetrius D’Alessandro
- Erin Dopfel
- Ed Ford
- Jeff Pugliese
- Jen Kleindienst
- John Giuliano
- Staff: Chris Holden, PE, Acting Public Works Director
- Michael Harris, PE, Energy Coordinator
The Energy Coordinator provides administrative, analytical and advocacy services for the City of Middletown. The offices’ mission statement says, ‘provide technical competency and encourage full transparency, complete analysis, optimal sharing of project risks between parties, and open negotiations - resulting in an equitable deal for everyone – serving the greater good of sustainability; energy-, environmental-, social- and economic-justice.’
The Energy Coordinator is assigned to work in the following general areas:
- To support the mayor’s efforts to promote energy efficiency through the City, as part of the broader mission to improve effectiveness and efficiency in all areas of municipal government.
- To identify opportunities and help the City undertake “sustainability projects” that promise to reduce negative impacts on the environment and raise the quality of life and general appeal of the Middletown community, for residents, businesses and visitors.
- To improve the City’s measurement and analysis of energy consumption and expenses, and to identify opportunities to reduce consumption and costs.
To achieve progress in these areas, the Energy Coordinator needs the ability to work with the leaders and staff of all City departments. In this way, the knowledge base, resources, goals, and concerns of each department can be available and useful to other departments for purposes of trouble-shooting and long-range planning. Our City will function more effectively with greater inter-departmental communication and integration of vision.
In the short to medium term, the Energy Coordinator is working primarily in the areas of 1) electricity and natural gas consumption; 2) ”complete streets” improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists; and 3) renewable energy and electrical grid security.
The City of Middletown, through its Clean Energy Task Force, maintains an advisory Energy Plan. The plan is referenced in the City’s Plan of Conservation and Development. The Energy Plan uses the lens of a vision for 100% Renewable Energy in Middletown.
Thus, planning is focused on a means of achieving 100% Renewable Energy sometime in the future. While a 2050 deadline has been commonly considered, recently Governor Lamont has put forth a 2040 goal for 100% Renewable Energy. The City seeks to remain consistent with the larger state goals. The Energy Plan is organized around Municipal Energy issues and City-Wide issues.
The plan offers four main sections:
1. Introduction and Overview – This section describes the benefits of implementing the plan, savings, health, comfort and resiliency, and also describes the three key elements of the plan; reducing energy use, strategically electrifying heating and transportation, and developing an optimal mix of renewable generation.
2. Middletown Energy Vision and Process Overview – This section describes our long-term vision of 100% Renewable Energy, its elements and a process for moving toward that ideal. Discussion is provided regarding policy, energy tracking and management, energy reduction goals and actions, and peak demand considerations.
3. Municipal Approach – The Municipal Approach section describes the process of moving city properties in the direction of 100% Renewable Energy. Energy auditing, Screening and Prioritizing Opportunities and Bundling and Implementing Projects are addressed. Additional discussion about energy reduction and demand management is also provided. Finally, this section proposes master plan studies for both municipal and school buildings to contribute to the optimized build-out of renewable generation sources in these sectors.
4. Residential and Business Sector Approach – A further elucidation of the 100% Plan is offered in Section III regarding City efforts to encourage and incentivize efficiency and strategic electrification efforts in the residential and business sectors. Elements of this effort include benchmarking total energy use within city boundaries, outreach efforts to underserved groups, and driving the necessary activities.
CHEER Program –
CHEER is a City of Middletown program administered by the Middletown Clean Energy Task Force to help underserved communities achieve Comfortable, Healthy, Energy Efficient and Renewable aspects to their places of residence.
CHEER has a new website at CHEER Middletown.
You can sign up for CHEER here: CHEER Registration.
Street Light Conversion Project – Construction to replace the conventional street lights with LED street lights began in October 2020. The project initially consisted of a complete audit and evaluation of the current street lights, design work based on current conditions, reconciliation of street light data with the electric utility, and application for conversion incentive funds from the electric utility. Construction will take place through January 2021. Upon completion, the project is expected to save over $100,000 after paying bond costs, and will save over $300,000 per year after paying off the 10-year bond. Contact Energy Coordinator, Michael Harris, PE for more information at 860-638-4854.
In late 2017, the Middletown Clean Energy Task Force contemplated updating the City’s Energy Plan and discussed the need to broaden the effort to include climate disruption and the opportunity for addressing sustainability issues. After hosting a presentation by the newly emerging Sustainable CT program, modelled after a successful, similar program in New Jersey, the Clean Energy Task Force quickly developed and supported a resolution by the city’s Common Council to officially join the program.
Sustainable CT was seen as the broader plan contemplated by the Clean Energy Task Force, and the opportunity to join the program represented our stepping into action – the implementation of a plan – rather than the creation of yet another plan. With the passing of the resolution, Middletown became the first municipality in Connecticut to join Sustainable CT. Since then, Middletown has recognized much good work previously done that aligns with sustainability, as an aspect of our 2018 Bronze certification, and the initiation of new sustainability actions and efforts in2019 leading to a Silver certification.
In 2020, the City of Middletown is poised to develop our own concept of ‘Gold’ certification – aligning with the New Green Deal proposed by our new mayor, Mayor Florsheim – and to move into action on it. Current areas of focus include helping with the creation of the new Plan of Conservation and Development such that it is infused with sustainability ideas and issues, and developing a master plan for the implementation of solar energy throughout the city in service to the City Energy Plan that proposes 100% renewable energy by 2040.
Important Energy Links:
Saving Money – Third Party Electric Suppliers’ Information (from Eversource): https://www.energizect.com/compare-energy-suppliers
Renewable Energy Projects
Higby Solar Project http://s40767.mini.alsoenergy.com/Dashboard/2a5669734966473747426b4b772b71513d
High School Fuel Cell Project https://cloud.cdhenergy.com/middletown_hs/