FuelCell Energy Announces Sale of a 14.9 MW Fuel Cell Park in Connecticut

14 Dec 2012

DFC3000 fuel cell power plant

 

  • Turn-key agreement with Dominion includes complete site design and construction of the park and manufacture and installation of five DFC3000® power plants  
  • Expected commercial operation of the fuel cell park by December 2013
  • FuelCell Energy to operate and maintain the power plants under a 15 year services agreement
  • Connecticut Light & Power will buy the ultra-clean electricity produced by the fuel cell park under a 15 year energy purchase agreement
  • Fuel cell park supports State of Connecticut renewable power generation goals, as well as approximately 160 direct jobs through the project term 

FuelCell Energy, Inc. has announced that it is providing a turn-key distributed power generation solution for the engineering, procurement and construction of a 14.9 megawatt (MW) fuel cell park in Bridgeport, Connecticut. This includes the manufacture and sale of five 2.8 MW DFC3000 fuel cell power plants.

Dominion, one of the US’s largest producers and transporters of electricity, will oversee the development and owns the facility. The Connecticut Light and Power Company (CL&P) will buy the ultra-clean electricity generated by the facility under a fifteen- year, fixed-price energy purchase agreement. This 14.9 MW installation, consisting of the five fuel cell power plants and an organic rankine cycle turbine for added output and further efficiency gains, is adequate to power approximately 15,000 average size US homes.

"We have diverse power generation assets and welcome the addition of stationary fuel cell power plants to our portfolio," said Thomas F. Farrell II, Chairman, President and CEO of Dominion. "This high efficiency, clean energy fuel cell park supports our goals of reducing our environmental footprint while investing in 21st century energy technology." 

"The production of cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy is the guiding principle behind our comprehensive energy strategy," said Governor Dannel P. Malloy. "Fuel cells and micro-grids like the ones being announced today are an essential part of achieving that goal. The more we can reach agreements like this, the lower rates will be for residents and businesses and the more competitive our state will be. I want to congratulate everyone involved, especially the Clean Energy and Finance Investment Authority, for seeing this project to fruition."

"This is a terrific example of urban redevelopment, providing a new source of tax revenue to the City of Bridgeport from a power production facility that quietly generates clean energy with a low carbon footprint," said Bridgeport (CT) Mayor Bill Finch. "This fuel cell park will be another successful piece in our expanding Eco-Industrial Park, part of our BGreen2020 plan to protect our environment and green our City."

Construction will begin immediately with the first plant installation in the summer of 2013 and the remaining plants installed in stages. The inter-connection process to connect the fuel cell park to three electrical substations in the City is already in process and is being performed by United Illuminating, the local utility that owns the substations. The fuel cell park will be fully operational by the end of 2013. The fuel cell power plants will use natural gas as the fuel source.  

"This is the largest project that we have developed to date in the USA, working with three utilities, local, and state government to enhance the reliability of the electric grid with clean distributed power generation," said Chip Bottone, President and Chief Executive Officer of FuelCell Energy, Inc. "This highly efficient and ultra-clean fuel cell park will produce economic value for a broad number of stakeholders, both public and private, as well as provide public health benefits."

The project is supported by the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA). The project will increase product and service backlog for FuelCell Energy by approximately $125 million, including approximately $56 million for product backlog and $69 million for service backlog.     

Multi-megawatt fuel cell parks solve power generation challenges for utilities as the combination of dramatically lower pollutants, modest land-use needs, and quiet operating nature of fuel cell power plants facilitates their siting in urban locations. Fuel cell parks offer a multitude of advantages for utilities and neighbouring communities, including:

  • Ultra-clean power: Fuel cells generate ultra-clean power and heat electrochemically, without combustion. The power is termed ultra-clean reflecting the dramatically lower quantity of pollutants in the power generation process such as nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SOx) and particulate matter, pollutants that cause smog and public health issues.
  • High efficiency: Fuel cells are the most efficient baseload power generation option for their size class, providing the greatest amount of power from a given unit of fuel. High efficiency also reduces carbon emissions compared to less efficient combustion-based power generation.
  • Scalable: DFC plants are scalable, providing a cost effective approach to adding power generation incrementally as power demand grows within electric utility service areas.
  • Distributed Generation: Generating power near the point of use lessens the need for electric utilities to invest in costly and difficult to site transmission and distribution grids. 
  • Reliable: Distributed generation improves power reliability and energy security by lessening reliance on transmission and distribution.
  • Baseload: Fuel cells provide continuous power around the clock and are not reliant on weather or time of day.

The fuel cell park is located on approximately 1.7 acres of land leased from the City of Bridgeport and is immediately adjacent to the northeast rail corridor and Interstate 95. Bridgeport, Connecticut, a city of approximately 145,000 citizens, is located approximately 60 miles east of New York City.


Project participant summary

  • FuelCell Energy, Inc. (Nasdaq:FCEL): Engineer and construct the fuel cell park including manufacture, sale and installation of five DFC3000 fuel cell power plants, and then operate and maintain the plants for the 15 year EPA term.
  • Dominion Bridgeport Fuel Cell, LLC. (parent: Dominion) (NYSE:D): Project owner responsible for overseeing the development, construction and operation of the power facility.
  • The Connecticut Light & Power Company (Parent is Northeast Utilities), (NYSE:NU): Purchases electricity generated by the fuel cell park under a 15 year EPA.
  • United Illuminating Company (Parent is UIL Holdings), (NYSE:UIL): Owns the three substations that will be receiving power from the fuel cell park, and is performing the inter-connection work.
  • City of Bridgeport, Connecticut: Owns the property where the fuel cell park is located, leasing it to Dominion Fuel Cell Park, LLC and receiving property tax revenue in return.
  • Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority:  Providing financial support to the fuel cell project including multi-year financial support to FuelCell Energy, Inc.
  • Ormat Technologies (NYSE:ORA): Supplier of the proprietary Organic Rankine Cycle equipment, the Ormat® Energy Converter, that converts heat into electricity. The installation and routine service will be performed by FuelCell Energy with supporting technical advisory services provided by Ormat.
  • Rockwell Automation (NYSE:ROK): Supplier of electrical inverters to FuelCell Energy for the fuel cell power plants.

Source: FuelCell Energy news release

Image of DFC3000 from FuelCell Energy

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