- United Illuminating has finalized an agreement to build a 2.2 MW microgrid for the town of Woodbridge, Connecticut, which will use clean energy to power seven municipal facilities in the event of an outage, WTNH reports.
- The microgrid will be powered by a FuelCell Energy Inc. plant to be located at the Amity Regional High School, where it will also be used to provide heat and hot water.
- FuelCell Energy will also design the micro-grid controller responsible for automating grid operations in the event of a storm or other outage situation.
United Illuminating's Woodbridge microgrid will complete its commitments under Connecticut’s Renewable Connections Program, which called for it to construct up to 10 MW of clean, class-I renewable energy. The utility's other projects include a 5 MW combined fuel cell and solar facility in Bridgeport, and a 2.8 MW fuel cell power plant in New Haven.
All three facilities use FuelCell Energy power plants.
“This project shows the different values clean and affordable fuel cell power plants deliver to multiple stakeholders and is a replicable model for other municipalities evaluating similar structures such as programs being evaluated in the states of New York and California,” FuelCell Energy CEO Chip Bottone said in a statement “Under this utility ownership structure, the town of Woodbridge avoids the need to directly invest in resiliency infrastructure and The United Illuminating Company reinforces its leadership position in terms of reliable power delivery in an environmentally friendly manner.”
The company's "Direct FuelCell" plant will convert clean gas into electricity and heat through an electrochemical process it describes as "free of combustion and virtually absent of harmful pollutants." It will generate both power and heat from the same unit of fuel, with a carbon footprint about a fourth that of the average U.S. electric grid.
The microgrid is expected to be operational next year and will help ensure power to seven critical municipal buildings including the Woodbridge town hall; library; fire station; police department; public works facility; senior center and the high school where the power plant is located. The town's senior center also serves as an emergency center.
"Ensuring citizens receive reliable and affordable power delivered in a clean manner is the mandate that the State of Connecticut is pursuing, and this project perfectly illustrates what can be accomplished with collaboration between utility companies, the state, the community, and clean energy solutions providers,” said Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Robert Klee.