NEW BRITAIN - Construction at the former Stanley Black & Decker site of the Energy and Innovation Park, which promises to bring transformative technology, clean renewable energy and economic development to New Britain, kicked off its first phase Wednesday morning.
The $1 billion energy and data center project formally began construction after government officials and local partners, including Gov. Ned Lamont; Mayor Erin Stewart; Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes; and Mark Wick, a partner in the project’s developer, EIP, LLC, celebrated the culmination of several years of collaborative work by multiple agencies.
Stewart told the crowd that she is proud to be a part of the project and to be able to celebrate new beginnings together.
“To be able to reuse an old property is great,” she said. “When the old building was first taken down, it caused a lot of ruckus because of the historical properties. But now we’re able to adapt it and reuse it, not only for the benefit of New Britain, but to the state and the regional areas as well. That’s an incredible thing.”
The park is expected to create more than 3,000 direct and indirect jobs over the next 20 years. It is also estimated to generate $45 million in tax revenues for New Britain and more than $200 million for the state during that time. EIP will spend $100 million on the first phase, which will house 44 Connecticut-made Doosan fuel cells.
According to the project’s developer, the first phase of construction will involve the renovation of two buildings on site and the installation of 19.98 megawatts of grid-connected fuel cells, which will make this the world’s largest indoor fuel cell installation. Fuel cells run on natural gas to generate electricity but have very low emissions and increased energy efficiency. It will also become a critical backup power for data centers, which reduce capital needs and cost of operations. The project also entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement with Eversource, which will buy all the power generated from the new installation.
“This reuse of an urban site will help reduce the spread of unused properties, bring tax revenue back to a thriving community, and improve the overall public health because pollutants will be reduced,” said Dykes. “It’s thrilling to see the commitment from so many agencies to support fuel cell projects in the state.”
The project is not only consistent with the state’s goals for clean and renewable energy, it is expected to create a major technological hub in the city.
There are many facilities in the state that need to be turned around and that is what this project is doing, said Lamont. “This will become the heart of high tech in the state and it will be amazing to see what the transformation will be.”
More than 175 years since Stanley led New Britain to the forefront of manufacturing and innovation, Wick said, EIP aspires to continue to bring more innovative projects to the city.
“As a lifelong resident of Connecticut, I’m honored to be a part of a project that will turn the city around,” he said.
Contact Catherine Shen at 860-801-5093 or firstname.lastname@example.org