Beacon Falls Energy Park, LLC, developer of the Beacon Falls Energy Park, has filed with the Connecticut Siting Council a Petition for a Declaratory Ruling for its 63 megawatt fuel cell park project, a milestone in the continued progress towards commencing construction of the project in 2016.
The proposed project falls within the scope of projects that the Connecticut Siting Council can approve by a declaratory ruling. Under Connecticut law the Siting Council has jurisdiction over electrical generating facilities and can approve by a declaratory ruling the construction or location of fuel cell generating facilities with a capacity of less than sixty five megawatts as long as the project meets the air and water quality standards of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).
The Beacon Falls Energy Park meets the air and water quality standards of the Connecticut DEEP. In Connecticut, fuel cells are recognized as a Class I renewable energy source and are highly efficient at generating electricity with near-zero pollutants (such as nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide). When completed, the Beacon Falls Energy Park will contribute to Connecticut’s clean energy goals while improving the state’s grid reliability and stability. The project will also have positive economic benefits for Connecticut including construction and manufacturing jobs for Connecticut companies as well as generating tax revenue for the Town of Beacon Falls and the State of Connecticut.
The project will be located on a former sand and gravel mine in Beacon Falls. The property is owned by O&G Industries, Inc., the parent company of Beacon Falls Energy Park, LLC. O&G, a Connecticut based construction services company with extensive experience in developing and building large sale power plants, will be the EPC contractor for the project. Based in Torrington, O&G employs approximately 1,000 people throughout Connecticut. All of the 21 individual fuel cell power plants, which comprise the project, will be manufactured and supplied by FuelCell Energy, Inc., a Connecticut company based in Danbury and Torrington and a global leader in the design, manufacture and operation of fuel cell power plants. FuelCell Energy has more than 500 employees in Connecticut. In addition to manufacturing the fuel cells, FuelCell Energy is expected to operate and maintain the plants under a long term service agreement.
The project will return the former sand and gravel mine to the tax rolls as the Beacon Falls Energy Park and is expected to generate substantial property tax revenue for the Town of Beacon Falls and sales tax revenue to Connecticut over the life of the project. The project’s location on an 8 acre parcel within the 25 acre former sand and gravel mine allows it to have a low visibility and sound profile with minimal environmental impacts. The fuel cell park will generate enough electricity for more than 60,000 Connecticut homes.
Other renewable energy sources such as wind and solar were also considered for the project site, but ultimately Connecticut manufactured fuel cell technology was chosen because of its ability to produce clean base load electricity at almost 96% availability and its low visual and sound profile. Solar energy would require more than 300 acres of land to produce the same number of megawatts and produces intermittent energy due to the lack of sun and weather. Wind power was considered but not chosen because of the tall and obtrusive nature of wind turbines and the fact that it also produces only when the wind is available.
The Siting Council may schedule a public hearing on the Petition and is expected to take action on the petition within 60 days. Pending approval by the Connecticut Siting Council, the first phase of the project is anticipated to enter commercial service and begin supplying electricity to Connecticut in 2016.
For more information please contact William Corvo, Manager at 860-346-6500.