EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — January 25, 2017 —The Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc. (CCAT) and the Northeast Electrochemical Energy Storage Cluster (NEESC) today released a white paper that highlights the urgency to develop comprehensive clean energy portfolios that enhance energy reliability, support new technologies, improve grid management and drive economic development.
The Connecticut Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) calls for 15.5 percent of the electricity used in the state this year to come from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, fuel cells, and certain hydroelectric power and biomass facilities. By 2020, the RPS jumps to 20 percent.
In recent years, Connecticut’s renewable generation has come primarily from Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont through biomass facilities with only 16 percent sourced within the state. While the use of biomass from northern New England meets Connecticut’s RPS requirements, the opportunity exists for Connecticut to achieve its energy, environmental and economic goals while boosting economic development.
“The challenge for Connecticut is to effectively remove the silos between environmental protection, energy reliability, and economic development in RPS decision-making and other regulatory energy procurements,” said Joel Rinebold, CCAT director of energy and NEESC chairman. “With the combining of these silos comes an opportunity to develop talent using local research, engineering, and construction resources to create jobs in Connecticut and grow our economy.”
The white paper supports the right for each state in the region to focus on energy technologies that have significant value to their local economy. For example, New Hampshire could support the wood burning biomass industry, New York could concentrate on hydroelectric and the production of renewable hydrogen, and Connecticut could build on its strength as the center of the fuel cell industry cluster in the Northeast.
Based on an IMPLAN economic analysis conducted in 2015, the fuel cell industry plays a significant role in the Northeast region’s economy:
- $1.421 billion in revenue and investment;
- 3,406 jobs in CT; 1,618 in NY; and 1,138 in MA
- $619.6 million in labor income; and
- $83.3 million to $95.3 million in state and local taxes.
- In Connecticut, the hydrogen and fuel cell industry supports 600 supply chain companies, produces $726 million in total revenue and investment; and generates $40 million in state and local tax revenues.
NEESC has identified approximately 1,804 potential end user sites where mission critical energy is needed in Connecticut that could support the development of between 420 MW to 460 MW of fuel cell capacity. These user sites include private, state, and federal buildings, manufacturing facilities, educational institutions, lodging, in-patient healthcare, wastewater treatment plants, landfills, telecommunications towers, and high-traffic airports. The high efficiency, compact nature of fuel cell technology is well-suited for distributed power at or near the point of use and would not typically conflict with land conservation or agriculture that could occur when using other renewable generation technologies such as solar or wind power.
According to a 2016 study by the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis, if the state retains its relative market share of fuel cell sales, the fuel cell industry will be a major contributor in restoring Connecticut’s economic vitality, particularly in retaining high-tech research and advanced manufacturing jobs, generating increased investments, and delivering more tax revenue.
“Connecticut would be well-positioned to meet clean air requirements, energy reliability needs, and boost job creation and economic development with the use of fuel cell technology that is manufactured and developed in the state,” says Rinebold. “Recognition of this relationship by policymakers could spur Connecticut’s economic growth and make the state a global showcase for renewable energy targeted to locations in need of increased energy reliability and improved environmental performance.”
Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc. (CCAT) is a nonprofit organization, headquartered in East Hartford, Conn., that creates and executes bold ideas advancing applied technologies, IT strategies, energy solutions, STEM education, and career development. By leading state, regional, and national partnerships, CCAT helps manufacturers, academia, government and nonprofit organizations excel. Learn more at ccat.us, or follow CCAT on Twitter – @CCATInc.
The Northeast Electrochemical Energy Storage Cluster is a network of industry, academic, government and non-governmental leaders working together to provide energy storage solutions. The cluster is focused on the innovative development, production, promotion and deployment of hydrogen fuels and fuel cells to meet the pressing demand for energy storage solutions. The cluster is based in New York, New Jersey, and the New England States, and is funded through the US Small Business Administration’s Innovative Economies Initiative. NEESC is administered by CCAT. Learn more at neesc.org.