Fuel cell park eyed for old Stanley Black & Decker campus

Published on Wednesday, 18 April 2018 21:36
Written by Skyler Frazer


NEW BRITAIN – Developers are hoping state officials approve their pitch to turn the historic Stanley Black & Decker downtown campus into a 20-megawatt fuel cell park.

Energy & Innovation Park LLC recently submitted a proposal for phase one of a $1 billion project to the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in response to DEEP’s request for proposal, which sought “eligible Class 1 Clean Energy Generation projects with Renewable Energy Credits.”

Phase one would construct a 19.98-megawatt fuel center grid, sending highly reliable, locally generated, environmentally responsible power into the grid.

“We’re providing 20 megawatts of power on only about 45,000 square feet of space,” said Mark Wick, a partner with EIP.

Wick told The Herald that this project would help stabilize the energy grid for New Britain. The fuel cell-based project reuses the industrial electric and gas infrastructure at the site.

The project will also act as the catalyst for the additional three phases of the project by enhancing local grid reliability for a high-performance computing center, according to EIP.

Economically, the project could create more than 3,000 direct and indirect jobs over the course of 10 years, Wick said. It will also generate significant tax revenues - $8 million for New Britain for the fuel cell project alone over 20 years. Fully developed, the project will provide over $45 million for New Britain and $200 million for the state over 20 years, according to EIP.

The project has received support from many stakeholders in the area, including Stanley Black & Decker.

“Stanley Black & Decker supports the project as a creative reuse of an industrial site that will also improve local power reliability with distributed generation,” the company wrote in a letter to DEEP.

New Britain’s state delegation, consisting of state Sen. Terry Gerratana, state Rep. Rick Lopes, state Rep. Robert Sanchez, state Rep. Peter Tercyak and state Rep. William Petit Jr., also sent a letter of support.

“This project will transform Stanley Black & Decker’s 53-acre underutilized campus into a 21st century Energy and Innovation Technology Park that will serve as Connecticut’s largest high-speed data and high performance computer services center,” the delegation said in the letter.

Timothy Stewart, president of the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce, said the project would help create long-term, high-paying jobs for New Britain and the surrounding area.

“It has been proven repeatedly that there is a powerful connection between high speed technology centers and economic growth, and this would make New Britain a magnet for thousands of good jobs well into the future,” Tim Stewart said in a letter.

Mayor Erin Stewart sent a lengthy letter to DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee in March advocating for the project. Stewart spoke about the economic impact the project would have in New Britain and the state as a whole.

“When a project can address many of the energy concerns of the state, and become a significant catalyst for economic development, local job creation, and local & state tax generation as this project clearly can, it is incumbent upon state decision-makers to look carefully at these attributes and prioritize their value, especially when it can meet the carbon neutral goals the state is demanding,” Stewart said in the letter.

A decision from DEEP on EIP’s RFP is expected to be made in June.

Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at sfrazer@centralctcommunications.com.

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Wednesday, 18 April 2018 21:36. Updated: Wednesday, 18 April 2018 21:39.