These two fuel cell plants will provide continuous baseload power to the electric grid adequate to power approximately 5,600 homes, generated in a highly efficient and environmentally friendly manner. FuelCell Energy will install the power plants and operate and maintain them for 20 years under long term service agreements. The plants are expected to be operational in early 2015.
“Sustainability at UIL means that we are committed to business practices that are environmentally and economically responsible,” said James P. Torgerson, President & Chief Executive Officer, UIL Holdings Corporation.
Purchasing these fuel cell power plants supports our goal of investing in renewable distributed generation to enhance the reliability of our power delivery system and offer our customers cleaner energy. We are helping to implement the State of Connecticut mandate for increased energy production from renewable sources and help promote energy independence.
“This new fuel cell project plays a significant role in making Bridgeport one of the greenest cities in America,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch.
As part of our green efforts, we’re creating a new renewable energy park at the site of an unused landfill by combining this new fuel cell with a solar field. This renewable energy park will create jobs, generate millions of dollars in tax revenue, and provide residents with clean and affordable electricity. In Bridgeport, FuelCell Energy is helping us take the sins of our past and turning them into shining examples of our city’s green energy future.
The Bridgeport installation will be part of a renewable energy park at Seaside landfill, with the power plant efficiently converting natural gas into continuous electricity that is virtually absent of pollutants. The site will also host an array of solar panels. The total project will occupy approximately 9 acres of land with the fuel cell power plant using about one quarter of an acre to produce 2.8 megawatts and approximately 1,000 solar panels occupying about 8 ½ acres to generate approximately 5 megawatts.
“Megawatt-class fuel cell power plants are helping to transform the power generation industry with clean, on-site power that enhances the resiliency and security of the electric grid,” said Chip Bottone, President and Chief Executive Officer, FuelCell Energy, Inc. “Leadership by the State and Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) that acknowledged the need to enable utility ownership of renewable power combined with the vision of UI culminated in these two transformative projects to benefit power users and the communities at large.”
FuelCell Energy was the successful fuel cell bidder in a competitive solicitation issued by UI in 2013 under its “Renewable Connections” program. The program was enabled by the Connecticut legislature under Public Act 11-80 in 2011, which granted each Connecticut electric utility authorization to directly own up to 10 megawatts of Class 1 renewable power generation, including stationary fuel cell power plants. The program was subsequently approved by PURA and a bill expanding the program by an additional 50 MW is currently under consideration in the State legislature.
Multi-megawatt fuel cell installations address power generation challenges for utilities as the combination of near-zero pollutants, modest land-use needs, and the quiet operating nature of fuel cell power plants facilitates their siting in urban locations. Fuel cell parks offer a multitude of advantages for utilities and neighboring communities, including:
- Environmentally friendly power generation with virtually zero nitrogen oxide (NOx) that causes smog, sulfur dioxide (SOx) that contributes to acid rain, or particulate matter (PM10) that aggravates asthma, and the power is delivered with a low carbon footprint
- Distributed power generation places power near where it is used, enhancing the resiliency of the grid
- Highly efficient power generation process that is economical
- Continuous renewable power around the clock that is not reliant on weather or time of day
DFC® power plants utilize carbonate fuel cell technology, which is well suited for megawatt-class applications due to its scalability and favorable cost profile. Another advantage is that carbonate cells operate efficiently without the need for noble metal catalysts, such as platinum, which are required by some other types of fuel cell technology.
The fuel cells bought from FuelCell Energy will serve UI customers by enhancing the resiliency of the electric grid and delivered in an environmentally friendly manner.
About UIL Holdings Corporation:
Headquartered in New Haven, Connecticut, UIL Holdings Corporation (NYSE:UIL) is a diversified energy delivery company serving more than 700,000 electric and natural gas utility customers in 66 communities across two states, with combined total assets of over $4 billion.
UIL is the parent company of The United Illuminating Company (UI), The Southern Connecticut Gas Company (SCG), Connecticut Natural Gas Corporation (CNG), and The Berkshire Gas Company (Berkshire), each more than 100 years old. UI provides for the transmission and delivery of electricity and other energy related services for Connecticut’s Greater New Haven and Bridgeport areas. SCG and CNG are natural gas distribution companies that serve customers in Connecticut, while Berkshire Gas serves natural gas customers in western Massachusetts. UIL employs more than 1,850 people in the New England region.
About FuelCell Energy
Direct FuelCell® power plants are generating ultra-clean, efficient and reliable power at more than 50 locations worldwide. With more than 300 megawatts of power generation capacity installed or in backlog, FuelCell Energy is a global leader in providing ultra-clean baseload distributed generation to utilities, industrial operations, universities, municipal water treatment facilities, government installations and other customers around the world. The Company’s power plants have generated more than two billion kilowatt hours of ultra-clean power using a variety of fuels including renewable biogas from wastewater treatment and food processing, as well as clean natural gas. For more information, please visitwww.fuelcellenergy.com
ST Staff Writers
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.