Generation, Natural Gas, Renewable Energy, Solar

FuelCell Energy to install fuel cell power plants for United Illuminating

FuelCell Energy Inc. won a utility-scale award for two 2.8 MW DFC3000 fuel cell power plants by United Illuminating, part of UIL Holdings Corp.

One power plant will be located in Bridgeport, Connecticut as part of a distributed renewable power generation project that also includes a solar array. The second installation will be located within the UI service territory at a site to be named in the next 30 days.

These two fuel cell plants will provide continuous baseload power to the electric grid adequate to power about 5,600 homes, generated in a highly efficient and environmentally friendly manner. FuelCell Energy will install the power plants and operate and maintain them for 20 years under long-term service agreements. The plants are expected to be operational in early 2015.

The Bridgeport installation will be part of a renewable energy park at Seaside landfill, with the power plant efficiently converting natural gas into continuous electricity that is virtually absent of pollutants. The site will also host an array of solar panels. The total project will occupy about 9 acres of land with the fuel cell power plant using about one quarter of an acre to produce 2.8 MW and about 1,000 solar panels occupying about 8 1/2 acres to generate about 5 MW.

FuelCell Energy was the successful fuel cell bidder in a competitive solicitation issued by UI in 2013 under its Renewable Connections program. The program was enabled by the Connecticut legislature under Public Act 11-80 in 2011, which granted each Connecticut electric utility authorization to directly own up to 10 MW of Class 1 renewable power generation, including stationary fuel cell power plants.

The program was subsequently approved by PURA and a bill expanding the program by an additional 50 MW is currently under consideration in the State legislature.