Dealers Are Charging Up to Challenge Tesla  - with Cars Too
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The DMV report says Tesla's Greenwich showroom violated Connecticut's auto sales law.
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BMW is expected to make a near total committmen to electric vehicles in the next ten years.
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The All-electric Chevy Bolt is expected to sell more than 20,000 units in 2017.

By Mitchell Young

Hartford: The battle between The Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association and Tesla is being waged on a new front.

Tesla with the support of legislators from both the Republican and Democratic parties is seeking the right to sell cars direct to the public.

Tesla currently operates showrooms in Greenwich and Milford and has “supercharging” stations in West Hartford and Darien.

Currently in Connecticut and several other states, auto manufacturers must utilize dealers to sell their cars. The dealers argue this has created significant competition and service advantages for consumers and that if sales were allowed directly by the manufacturer, competition, prices and services would suffer.

Tesla has argued the unique nature of their electric automobiles, technology and company make selling through dealers untenable and a “conflict of interest” for the dealers that will mostly sell internal combustion engine vehicles.. Under current Connecticut law, Tesla customers can visit showrooms but can’t process the sale at the location.

Tesla has gathered support from environmental groups that see the laws protecting local franchises as harming the environment. Daniel Gatti is a blogger for the Union of Concerned Scientists that “specializes in transportation policy in the Northeast,” he  claims in a recent article that auto dealers in the Northeast aren’t doing a good job selling their “electric” vehicles.

Gatting writes that “between January and June of 2016, dealers in the Bridgeport to New York City metro area had 90 percent fewer EVs listed for sale than Oakland, when adjusted for relative car ownership.”

He added, a recent report by the Sierra Club found that Tesla stores provide EV customers with far superior service, as Tesla was more likely to have EVs available to test drive, more likely to be knowledgeable about state and local incentives, and more likely to be able to correctly answer technical questions about charging EVs, than traditional car dealerships.”

By Mark Pazniokas

Gina McCarthy official portraitHartford: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy engaged in some high-level recycling Monday, bringing back Gina McCarthy to serve on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Green Bank.

McCarthy was the commissioner of environmental protection in Connecticut under Malloy’s predecessor, Gov. M. Jodi Rell, before going to Washington to serve as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama. She also was an environmental official in Massachusetts under Gov. Mitt Romney.

mob 1 cr smMilford: Northeast Fisheries Science Center's Milford Laboratory has developed a “Man Overboard” rescue Device. The device is the invention of Robert Alix, captain of the Lab’s 49-foot research vessel Victor Loosanoff, and Werner Schreiner, a former deck hand on the boat, developed the Man Overboard Recovery device, or MOB, and a U.S. patent is pending. The rights belong to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the parent organization of NOAA Fisheries.

“We thought it would be useful and could save lives, especially on small boats that usually have a small crew,” said Alix, who came up with the idea with Werner about five years ago during safety training in local waters.  “It is hard enough to get a person who is conscious and cooperative into a boat with high freeboard, but much harder if the person is unconscious and cannot help in their own rescue.”

SLAM Belimo 300x200Danbury:  BELIMO headquartered in Hinwil Switzerland has more than 1400 employees world wide and it emphasizes sustainability and energy efficiency for actuators, control valves and sensors. The company’s BELIMO Americas it’s North American headquarters has just received LEED Gold Certification for its new 195,000 square foot facility  “perched on a 34-acre site.”

Designed by The S/L/A/M Collaborative (SLAM) of Glastonbury, the facility comprises 129,000 square feet of logistics and manufacturing space, 15,000 square feet for test labs, and 51,000 square feet of office space across three stories.

Gregory Stroud 1 336x362Greg Stroud is a quiet, thoughtful academic with limited experience in civic engagement, but he transformed into a relentless community organizer and grass-roots lobbyist after learning of a proposal from Washington, D.C., aimed at boosting the speed and capacities of trains in the Northeast Corridor.

That proposal from the Federal Railroad Administration included construction of a bypass from Old Saybrook to Rhode Island that would have resulted in running high-speed trains through his town of Old Lyme — a plan he says would ruin the artist colony’s historical nature and unique culture.

moneyreactorsHARTFORD: Opponents to a subsidy for the Millstone Nuclear Plant owned by Dominion Resources [NYSE: D] have released a report that claims that The Millstone Nuclear Plant in Waterford is “projected to be the most profitable nuclear plant in the United States between now and 2019.”

While opposition to subsidies for the Millstone plant has surfaced from legislators, consumer groups including ARRP Connecticut, the Stop the Millstone Payout appears to be primarily financed by compteting power companies.

STAMFORD: Revolution Lighting Technologies, Inc. [Nasdaq:RVLT] announced that its operating division, Energy Source, has been named a program contractor within a new Small Business Energy Advantage Program (SBEA) administered by The United Illuminating Company. The program is designed to help commercial and industrial customers with peak energy demand between 10kW and 200kW per month to save money by identifying and offering cost-effective energy efficient turnkey solutions.

Since 2009, Energy Source has implemented energy reduction programs within several Massachusetts small business programs managed by Eversource, National Grid and UNITIL.

Energy Source's territory within this new program will cover 18 Connecticut towns -- Ansonia, Bridgeport, Derby, East Haven, Easton, Fairfield, Hamden, Long Island Sound, Milford, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Shelton, Stratford, Trumbull, West Haven, and Woodbridge -- supporting approximately 20,000 commercial and industrial customers with energy efficient retrofit opportunities. This includes the installation of high efficiency lighting solutions, including Revolution LED products that the company says are “capable of reducing existing lighting energy use by more than 65%.”

SBEA program contractors enable small businesses to reduce energy costs by identifying and implementing cost-effective energy efficient opportunities, promote education to encourage replacement of existing equipment with high efficiency options and procure financial incentives. The program will address technologies including lighting, controls, HVAC and motor upgrades, refrigeration controls, and other measures to reduce both electric and gas consumption. The program is funded by The Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund.

Robert V. LaPenta, CEO of Revolution Lighting, said of the agreement, "we look forward to working closely with the many businesses throughout the state, offering multi-measure energy efficiency opportunities, including LED lighting, to help them reduce long term operational costs."

Revolution Lighting was selected as the fastest growing technology company in Connecticut 2016 by the Connecticut Technology Council. The company says it has completed more than $25 million worth of projects for small businesses in 2016.

By Jan Spiegel,

Connecticut has a love-hate relationship with wind power. Okay, so far it’s mostly hate.

While wind power is soaring nationally – now accounting for the most renewable generating capacity in the U.S. electric grid – eclipsing hydro for the first time late last year, Connecticut has been a laggard.

There are just a couple of utility-scale turbines in Colebrook – the upshot of citizen opposition followed by a three-year moratorium while siting regulations worked their way through the state’s bureaucracy. Only now is a small amount of wind even being attempted again.

State plans to buy wind power from Maine have been stalled by insufficient transmission capacity to get it here.