The city of Hartford, Constellation, a unit of Exelon Corp., and Bloom Energy announced the start of construction for a microgrid system powered by fuel cells that will help manage electricity costs and supply emergency power to a portion of the city’s Parkville neighborhood.
During non-emergency operation, the 800-kW microgrid system is designed to provide 100 percent of the electricity for Parkville Elementary School, Dwight Branch Library, Parkville Senior Center and Charter Oak Health Center. In the event of an electrical grid outage, the system will provide emergency power to these locations in addition to a local fuel station and grocery store.
Excess electricity generated by the system will reduce electricity costs at four local schools: Bulkeley High School, Hartford High School, Weaver High School and the Sport and Medical Sciences Academy.
“When the power goes out elsewhere, our state-of-the-art microgrid will keep the power running at a senior center, library branch, school, health center, supermarket and gas station,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. “In addition, the clean energy produced by the fuel cells will result in cost savings for the city of Hartford. That’s a win-win for our city — and we hope to build on this model elsewhere in Hartford.”
Constellation is providing engineering, procurement, construction and operation services for the microgrid system. Powered by Bloom Energy fuel cells, the electricity generated will be purchased by the city at or below current market rates through a 15-year power purchase agreement.
“As a competitive energy supplier and a strong advocate of customer choice and innovation, Constellation aims to provide flexibility and support for our customers who require distributed generation and other dedicated energy technologies as part of their overall energy strategy,” said Gary Fromer, senior vice president of distributed energy at Constellation. “We applaud the city of Hartford for its commitment to microgrid development and the state of Connecticut for creating the public-private initiatives that help make projects like this possible.”
"Bloom Energy is proud to be a part of this innovative public-private partnership with Constellation and the city of Hartford,” said Josh Richman, vice president global business development & policy at Bloom Energy. "This microgrid project and others like it would not be possible without the state of Connecticut’s support."
The project is Connecticut’s first to be developed thorough a public-private effort and one of the first implemented through Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection Microgrid Grant Program. Additionally, the project is part of the state’s Low-Emission Renewable Energy Credits Program, which enables participants to sell qualified Connecticut Class I renewable energy credits created from renewable projects to the local utility under a long-term contract.
“The Parkville microgrid is a perfect example of the positive impact we can have on our communities and residents through innovative and creative approaches to the energy challenges we face,” said Commissioner Robert Klee, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “This microgrid will help reduce energy costs for the city of Hartford and its school system, in addition to providing power to maintain important services for people when the electric grid goes down. We are pleased that DEEP’s microgrid grant program and other energy initiatives helped make this impressive project possible.”
GI Energy initially worked with the city of Hartford to develop the project and submit the project for consideration to the state’s microgrid program.
The microgrid system is scheduled for completion during the third quarter of 2016.