New Year’s brings little to celebrate for CT fuel cell industry

New Year’s brings little to celebrate for CT fuel cell industry

(CT Mirror, 12/26/2016) –  Washington – Congress dealt a key – and growing – Connecticut industry a blow by failing to extend a fuel cell tax break at the end of the year – an omission that could cost the state jobs.

While larger wind and solar projects received extensions of key federal tax credits at the end of 2015, incentives for a number of other alternative energy sources – such as fuel cells, distributed wind, geothermal heat pumps, and combined heat and power – will expire on New Year’s Eve.

That has prompted some of the affected industries to warn of potential job losses. The fuel cell tax credit is an incentive to help minimize the cost of hydrogen and fuel cell projects. It offers an investment tax credit of 30 percent for qualified fuel cell projects.

“It puts the industry, which is based in Connecticut, at a significant disadvantage,” said Joe Rinebold, director of energy at the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology.

Fuel cells take hydrogen – usually from natural gas – and combine it with oxygen from the air. The reaction creates electricity and the only emissions are water.

Rinebold says the end of the tax credit “is a big loss to the cash flow” of fuel cell producers.

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