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September 1, 2015

Beacon Falls fuel cell park seeks immediate approval

Contributed Rendering A rendering of the proposed 63.3-megawatt fuel cell system in Beacon Falls.

The owner of the proposed 63-megawatt fuel cell park in Beacon Falls has asked the Connecticut Siting Council for a declaratory ruling on the project, so that electricity can begin flowing next year.

The requested Beacon Falls Energy Park would be the largest fuel cell power plant in the world, with its equipment provided by FuelCell Energy of Danbury. The facility’s owner – O&G Industries of Torrington – plans to build it on an eight-acre parcel on top of a former 25-acre sand and gravel mine.

Because fuel cells are a Class I renewable and the project meets air and water quality standards set by the state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, O&G wants the Siting Council to approve its construction and location through a declaratory ruling, avoiding the more drawn-out regulatory process.

The Siting Council still may schedule a public hearing on the petition or simply make a declaratory ruling within 60 days. The council has the sole discretion to approve power plant projects in Connecticut.

If approved, O&G estimates the first phase of the project will enter commercial service and begin supplying electricity in 2016.

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