Exelon maintains microgrid push with Hartford, CT fuel cell project

Dive Brief:

  • Exelon subsidiary Constellation has teamed up with Bloom Energy and the city of Hartford, Connecticut, to form a public-private partnership to build an 800-kW microgrid in Hartford’s Parkville neighborhood that is expected to come online by the third quarter of 2016.
  • Hartford has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement to buy power from the fuel cells at or below current market prices made possible through a combination of factors, including $2.06 million from a 2013 Connecticut microgrid grant program.
  • Constellation is providing engineering, procurement, construction and operation services, while California-based Bloom Energy will provide the fuel cells.

Dive Insight:

Exelon has embraced microgrids and is moving quickly to implement them.

In Connecticut, Exelon subsidiary Constellation has joined with Bloom Energy and the city of Hartford to build an 800-kW microgrid, Microgrid Knowledge reports. 

Commonwealth Edison, Exelon's regulated utility in Chicago, also is eying microgrids as a means of securing critical public resources against the possibility of electricity loss due to hazards or disasters. ComEd has plans to built six microgrids in Chicago.

In Maryland, another Exelon utility, Baltimore Gas & Electric, has proposed a series of public purpose microgrids. And in Pennsylvania, Exelon’s PECO subsidiary has won regulatory approval for a $50-million to $100-million microgrid pilot program.

The Hartford microgrid also taps into an agreement struck between Constellation and Bloom in August under which the companies agreed to develop 40 MW of fuel cell projects. Bloom will provide fuel cells, and Constellation will provide equity financing for planned projects in California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. The projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

The Hartford project will use the fuel cell microgrid to power the Parkville Elementary School, Dwight Branch Library, Parkville Senior Center and Charter Oak Health Center during normal operations. If a power outage occurs, the system will provide emergency power to these locations in addition to a local gas station and grocery store.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said that the city hopes to build upon the Parkville model elsewhere in Hartford.

Connecticut has awarded $23 million for 11 microgrid projects and is in the process of allotting an additional $30 million.

“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,” Robert Klee, commissioner at Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, said in a statement.

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Filed Under: Generation Transmission & Distribution Distributed Energy
Top image credit: Cliff1066