April 4, 2018

Wind, fuel cell developers pitch over two dozen projects

Deepwater Wind
Deepwater Wind
This image, from Deepwater Wind's proposal, shows GE Turbines operating off Block Island.

Wind and fuel cell developers have unveiled 27 projects they want to build, should they get the blessing of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

DEEP received 27 bids this week in response to a competitive RFP that seeks to select potentially hundreds of thousands of megawatt hours of clean and renewable energy. Winning bidders would be able to sell their output to utilities Eversource and Avangrid through long-term contracts.

State lawmakers ordered the RFP last year as a way to send more business to the state's fuel cell industry.

The industry struck out on a previous RFP in 2016, which saw mostly solar projects selected. Solar is not eligible in the new RFP.

Of the 27 proposals received Monday, the majority include fuel cells and combined heat and power, while four have anaerobic digestion and three include offshore wind, according to DEEP, which recently posted the bids online (with pricing and various other information redacted to varying degrees).

The developers of Beacon Falls Energy Park -- a major fuel-cell park in Beacon Falls that was not selected in DEEP's 2016 RFP -- have proposed the project again.

Meanwhile, a 20-megawatt fuel cell development in New Britain on the Stanley Works campus that would help power an envisioned data center has also bid for a second time.

In addition, fuel cell projects from the likes of Doosan, FuelCell Energy and Bloom Energy are proposed for Ansonia, Bristol, Colchester, East Lyme, Hartford, Meriden, Milford, Mystic, Naugatuck, New Milford, Plainfield, Somers, South Windsor, Torrington and Willimantic.

The Hartford project, pitched by FuelCell, would be 7.4 megawatts located along Homestead Avenue, while FuelCell's Bristol project would be nearly 15 megawatts and sited off of Route 229, according to bids posted by DEEP. The state agency said it expects to select winners in June.

Anaerobic digestion projects are proposed for East Canaan, Ellington and Milford.

According to the proposals, the offshore wind projects include:

-Bay State Wind's "Constitution Wind Connecticut" project. It's a partnership with Eversource and Orsted, which are proposing a 200-megawatt wind farm 65 miles off the coast of New London.

-Deepwater Wind LLC's "Revolution Wind" project, in which National Grid Ventures is involved, would also be 200-megawatts and located off the coast of New London.

-"Vineyard Wind" partners Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, which want to send 190 megawatts of wind power to Connecticut from a wind farm south of Martha's Vineyard.

Connecticut, a densely populated and relatively small state, has very few wind turbines. Environmental advocates hailed the wind proposals on Wednesday.

"Offshore wind is a critical technology for states to meet their clean energy and greenhouse gas reduction requirements," said Emily Lewis, a policy analyst at Acadia Center. "The region needs rapid deployment of offshore wind, and Connecticut's RFP shows that the state wants to participate in growing the market for this clean energy resource. This is a great first step for Connecticut, and Acadia Center hopes to see the state make the necessary commitments to build on this initial success."

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