Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch recently joined officials from Dominion (NYSE: D), one of the nation's largest energy companies, and FuelCell Energy Inc. (Nasdaq: FCEL) to break ground at the largest fuel cell power project in North America.
Dominion Bridgeport Fuel Cell, which is being built downtown alongside Interstate 95 and the Northeast rail corridor, will produce 14.9 megawatts of clean energy – enough to power approximately 15,000 homes – using an electro-chemical process that efficiently converts natural gas into electricity.
"This power station will generate clean, reliable, base load electricity for Connecticut," said David A. Christian, Dominion Generation chief executive officer. "Our clean energy portfolio today includes wind, hydro, biomass, and, soon, solar and this facility when it begins operating later this year. Along with electricity, this project supports Connecticut's clean energy goals while producing significant economic development benefits for the State and the City of Bridgeport."
Dominion Bridgeport Fuel Cell is part of Project 150, a program sponsored by the state and supported by the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) to increase renewable and clean energy projects in Connecticut by 150 megawatts. CEFIA is the nation's first full-scale clean energy finance authority that leverages public and private funds to drive investment and scale up clean energy deployment in Connecticut. This project was supported by the City of Bridgeport, which provides a tax incentive development agreement that will be in place for the life of the project.
"Cleaner, cheaper, more reliable energy is a critical part of strengthening our economy," said Malloy. "For years Connecticut residents and businesses have paid energy costs that top anywhere else in the nation—to the detriment of family budgets and commerce. With our new energy strategy and a focus on increasing renewable power options and efficiency measures, we will bring down costs for ratepayers, reduce carbon emissions, and create thousands of clean energy jobs."
"We are proud to be the home for one of the largest fuel cell facilities in North America," said Finch. "This is a great example of public-private partnerships working together to create jobs, expand economic development and make our environment cleaner by producing virtually pollution-free electricity with a low carbon footprint. This fuel cell park is another successful addition to the city's expanding Eco-Industrial Park. Many thanks go to Dominion and FuelCell Energy for their diligence in moving this project forward, and to Gov. Malloy for promoting clean energy projects in the state of Connecticut."
FuelCell Energy Inc. will build, operate, and maintain the facility under contract to Dominion. FCE is supplying five Direct FuelCell® stationary fuel cell power plants and an organic rankine turbine that will convert heat from the fuel cells into additional electricity.
FuelCell Energy has expanded its Connecticut manufacturing workforce by more than 20 percent or more than 50 jobs in the past six months, reflecting demand such as this Bridgeport fuel cell park. The project is scheduled to be completed and placed into operation in late 2013. Dominion will sell the output of the fuel cell power station to Connecticut Light & Power under a 15-year fixed power purchase agreement.
Dominion owns several renewable energy facilities in the United States, including wind farms in West Virginia and Indiana, a biomass power station in Virginia with three more under construction and hydroelectric power stations in Virginia and North Carolina. The company has also announced a 7.7-megawatt solar project in Georgia and the first company-owned rooftop solar installation in Virginia.