Connecticut Seeks Small-Scale Clean Energy; FuelCell Energy to Bid

Connecticut, an early leader in microgrids, is seeking proposals for small-scale clean energy projects, part of a larger effort to identify the best configuration of energy – large and small – for the state.

The state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) issued a request for proposals (RFP) March 9 for projects that offer 2- to 20 MW from renewables, energy storage and passive demand response. Bids are due May 4.

The state will only consider new projects — or existing projects if they are being expanded. Projects must begin delivering power no earlier than Jan. 1, 2017 and no later than Dec. 31, 2020.

Winners will have an opportunity to negotiate contracts with the states investor-owned utilities, Eversource and United Illuminating.

The RFP is being coordinated with an earlier Connecticut solicitation seeking large-scale clean energy projects – 20 MW to 400 MW.  DEEP is currently reviewing 30 responses to that RFP from bids offering wind, solar, fuel cell,  transmission and energy storage resources.

The state agency also is preparing a solicitation for natural gas resources to be used by power plants to improve electric reliability, especially in winter. High demand for natural gas – and lack of available supply – during cold snaps has driven up energy prices and threatened New England’s grid reliability.

DEEP plans to review the responses to all three RFPs, compare the projects against each other, and then put together a portfolio designed to provide electricity in a cost effective manner; reduce electric demand and improve the state’s resiliency and grid reliability, especially during winter peak demand.

Those projects offering ‘passive demand response’ can include energy efficiency, load management, thermal storage and incremental energy savings measures from conservation and load management programs that do not receive direct ratepayer funding. The demand response measures must be able to reduce electric demand by at least 1 MW for at least one hour per year during periods of peak demand.

The small-scale clean energy RFP is available on the DEEP filing pagePublic Act 15-107– Section 1(b).

small scale clean energy

Small scale clean energy sought by Connecticut RFP. Source: DEEP

Separately, FuelCell Energy said during an earnings call Thursday that it plans to submit multiple bids into the RFP for small scale clean energy. The projects will be of various sizes up to 20 MW.

The Connecticut-based company already is developing a 5.6 MW microgrid for biopharmaceutical company Pfizer in Groton, Conn.

FuelCell Energy also is modeling, designing and building a fuel cell microgrid for the town of Woodbridge, Connecticut.

“We have the capability to model, build and operate the microgrid which is an important differentiator for us. We are actively marketing our microgrid capabilities and are witnessing increasing interest as evidenced by the RFP activity in our markets,” Chip Bottone, FuelCell Energy president and CEO told investors.

The company also is poised to bid in a a 40-MW RFP for fuel-cell generation that the Long Island Power Authority is expected to issue soon.

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Elisa Wood About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than two decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.

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