FuelCell Energy planning 63-MW facility in Connecticut

FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ:FCEL) said May 5 that it is working with O&G Industries, a leading construction company in the Northeast, and project developer CT Energy & Technology LLC on a 63-MW fuel cell park in Beacon Falls, Conn.

Under a letter of intent, FuelCell Energy has been identified as the fuel cell supplier, and if the park becomes operational, is expected to be retained to operate and maintain the plants under a long term service agreement.

O&G Industries owns the property. CT Energy & Technology is developing and will own the project. The electric grid interconnection study is in process with ISO New England and site engineering is in advanced stages.

Next steps are to finalize the off-taker of the power and prepare contracts, FuelCell said in a news release.

The Beacon Falls facility could displace a site in South Korea as the world’s largest fuel cell park, according to an article in the Hartford Courant.

The fuel cell park and substation will only occupy about 8 acres of the 23.8 acres of land available on a former sand mine site, according to a joint news release from the companies.

By comparison, intermittent solar needs about 10 times as much land for the same number of megawatts but produces power on average over the course of the year for only 4.2 hours/day in Connecticut. Due to the high availability of fuel cell power generation, fuel cell projects can generate three to four times the amount of renewable energy credits as intermittent renewable power generation, supporting renewable portfolio standard (RPS) goals.

 The project is designed in phases with the potential for construction to begin in about a year, a FuelCell official told GenerationHub. “In terms of approvals, the project has the support of the Town of Beacons Falls, where it will be located,” said Investor Relations Vice President Kurt Goddard.

“We have constructed and are operating plants at hospitals, universities and a 15 MW utility-owned fuel cell park in Bridgeport, Connecticut, generating clean and reliable power,” said FuelCell Energy CEO Chip Bottone. “This project is an effective approach to utilize private capital for improved grid resiliency, contributing materially to achieving the State’s RPS goals, and reducing volatility of electricity prices.”

“Due to the size of this project and the high availability of fuel cell power generation, this one project meets about 10% of the State of Connecticut’s RPS requirements for 2016, and no State funds are needed as private capital will be used to finance the project,” Bottone added.

“O&G Industries has extensive experience in developing and constructing power generation from on-site installations to large scale power plants in excess of 600 MW,” said O&G Industries CEO David Oneglia. Oneglia added that the project would be “designed and built in Connecticut, installed by a Connecticut company and most importantly, delivered in a manner that is affordable for rate payers and pays a material amount of local and State-level taxes.”

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.