FuelCell Energy Signs Deal to Serve Connecticut Military Base

May 9, 2017
FuelCell Energy has struck a deal with a group of Connecticut public power utilities to install a 7.4 MW fuel cell that will serve a U.S. submarine base in Groton.

FuelCell Energy this week struck a deal with a group of Connecticut public power utilities to install a 7.4 MW fuel cell that will serve a U.S. submarine base in Groton.

The fuel cell installation is part of a larger plan by the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative (CMEEC) to support US Department of Defense goals to add resiliency and grid independence to key military installations. The New London base also is being considered for a full microgrid.

Drew Rankin, CEO for CMEEC, said that the fuel cell installation will provide CMEEC and the U.S. Navy with a triple win “of long-term cost-effective power supply, ensuring power to critical infrastructure, and doing this in an environmentally friendly manner, all without directly investing CMEEC capital and instead purchasing power as it is produced.”

FuelCell Energy plans to install two of its SureSource 4000 fuel cells, which CEO Chip Bottone described as “clean, quiet and with very high power density, does not require much land, particularly for a Class I renewable power generation solution.”

Connecticut is among a handful of states that allow utilities to apply renewable energy credits created by fuel cells to meet their top tier renewable portfolio standard requirement, Class I. Solar and wind power are among other Class I resources. To produce as much power as the Groton fuel cell project, wind and solar energy would require large swaths of real estate to house generators.

In all, nine states have classified stationary fuel cells as Class I renewable power generation because of their high efficiency and low carbon dioxide emissions.

CMEEC is owned by six municipal utilities: Groton Utilities, Norwich Public Utilities, Jewett City Department of Public Utilities, Bozrah Light and Power, South Norwalk Electric and Water and Norwalk Third Taxing District.  CMEEC, which serves about 100,000 customers, will be working with Groton Utilities to implement the new power supply.

The letter of intent is subject to the parties reaching a definitive agreement.

Interested in fuel cells? See “Fuel Cell Microgrids: The Path to Lower Cost, Higher Reliability, Cleaner Energy,” downloadable at no cost, courtesy of FuelCell Energy.

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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