@KarlaSantosNBH, Special to The press
The wheels are in motion for what is being hailed as one of the most significant private sector investments in recent Connecticut history.
The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection on Wednesday approved a proposal that will allow the start of the first phase of an energy and innovation park to be based in New Britain.
As part of the project, Energy Innovation Park, LLC will construct a 19.98 megawatt fuel cell grid-connected energy project on the Stanley Black and Decker campus.
This fuel cell grid will produce electricity through a chemical reaction between fuel and an oxidant. The process creates minimal byproducts of water and a small amount of nitrous oxide, so the fuel cell project is part of Connecticut’s effort to better utilize clean energy.
The fuel cell is the first of a planned multi-phase $1 billion Energy and Innovation Park in the city’s urban core. The project will provide 3,000 direct and indirect jobs and generate significant tax revenues - $8 million for New Britain for the fuel cell project alone over 20 years. The total project will provide more than $45 million for New Britain and $200 million in revenue for the state over 20 years.
Some of the jobs created through this project are high end construction jobs, electrical jobs and high tech manufacturing jobs.
“This is a game-changer in terms of high-tech jobs, high-speed data processing and clean energy, and we applaud the DEEP and its RFP process and the evaluation team for having the vision to recognize not only the clean energy benefits of this project, but also its transformative power as an important first step to a significant economic development opportunity for both New Britain and the state,” stated Mark Wick, a partner with EIP, LLC.
The innovative proposal was submitted to and selected by DEEP as a response to an RFP seeking eligible Class I Clean Energy Generation projects with Renewable Energy Credits. The submission to DEEP included a written letter of support signed by the New Britain legislative delegation, Mayor Erin Stewart and New Britain Chamber of Commerce.
“We will immediately begin finalizing a power purchase agreement with Eversource and securing approval from the state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), with construction expected to start in early 2019,” Wick added. The fuel cells will be manufactured by Doosan Fuel Cell America in South Windsor.
The fuel cell project also re-uses the existing industrial electric and gas infrastructure to reduce project costs, help adjacent businesses and enhance grid reliability for the high performance computing center and key industry clusters throughout the state, according to a statement.
Herald staff writer Skyler Frazer contributed to this report.