- Developers including project leader CT Energy & Technology have submitted plans for a 63.3 MW fuel cell installment in Beacon Falls, Connecticut that would be the largest in the world, the Hartford Courant reports. The project would take up about 8 acres in a sand and gravel mine in the town northwest of New Haven.
- Fuel cells, despite deriving their power from natural gas, are considered renewable energy in Connecticut because of their low emissions. That means the electricity from the cells would count toward's the state's renewable portfolio standard, which requires utilities to source 27% of their electricity from qualifying renewable sources by 2020.
- FuelCell Energy, which would operate the installment, and CT Energy & Technology, which would develop and own the project, have signed a letter of intent on the project, according to the Courant. The developers and the landowner must still complete engineering studies for the site and attain permits to build before construction can begin.
The biggest fuel cell array in use today is the Gyeonggi Green Energy fuel cell park in South Korea, which provides 59 MW of capacity. Connecticut would take the fuel cell crown away if this project gets built as planned.
The state is only one of three in the U.S. where fuel cells are manufactured, while the fuel cell industry has long been waiting for a game changer to push it into profitability. Now it appears that the state's RPS standard, along with its participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade scheme in the Northeast, is making renewables lucrative enough that developers believe they can find buyers for fuel cell power.
If they are correct, the 63.3 MW park could provide enough electricity to power about 60,000 Connecticut homes, but first it will have to find a buyer for the electricity. Eversource Energy (formerly known as Northeast Utilities) currently purchases power from a 15 MW fuel cell plant in Bridgeport, which is the largest U.S. fuel cell installment today.
The developers are in consultation with ISO-New England about how to best connect the facility to the grid, the Hartford Business Journal reports. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.