With PPA, a fuel-cell park grows in Yaphank

All's cell: Connecticut-based FuelCell Energy will soon begin construction on the first of three approved Yaphank fuel-cell facilities.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

A global player in fuel-cell solutions for energy issues has signed the first of three long-term power-purchase agreements under a tariff program administered by PSEG Long Island – first step toward the construction of a three-pronged Yaphank fuel-cell park.

Connecticut-based FuelCell Energy Inc. has signed on to the Fuel Cell Resources Feed-In Tariff IV program, with a new, wholly owned subsidiary – Yaphank Fuel Cell Park LLC – set to install, own and operate a 7.4 megawatt fuel-cell power plant in Yaphank.

The Yaphank power station is a first step in FuelCell Energy’s plan to meet all of PSEG Long Island’s fuel-cell needs. The utility is soliciting 40 megawatts of fuel cell-based power resources, and the three FuelCell Energy projects – earned through a FIT IV competitive bidding process – aim to generate 39.8 megawatts.

In addition to selling power from the fuel-cell site through the 20-year power-purchase agreement, FuelCell Energy – which maintains a three-continent portfolio of state-of-the-art fuel-cell plants, producing millions of megawatts of clean power – will lease its land from the Town of Brookhaven, a win for the revenue-starved town.

FuelCell Energy President and Chief Executive Officer Chip Bottone on Thursday trumpeted the coming construction phase of “this innovative 7.4 megawatt project on Long Island.”

Bottone line: FuelCell Energy CEO Chip Bottone commends PSEG Long Island’s “visionary” thinking on fuel cells.

“Fuel cells are a great fit to provide grid modernization by delivering increased security, enhanced sustainability and capital efficiency,” Bottone said, calling fuel-cell technology “one of the most space-efficient clean-energy technologies qualified under the [New York Clean Energy Standard].

“This project, along with the other two FIT IV projects that are nearing this same stage of development, demonstrate the many benefits of integrating clean and predictable fuel cells into New York’s energy mix,” Bottone added.

The other two projects, both located in Yaphank, have “made substantial progress completing the prerequisite items leading to [power-purchase agreement] execution,” according to FuelCell Energy.

Next on the Connecticut company’s list are an 18.5 megawatt station at the Brookhaven Rail Terminal and a 13.9 megawatt fuel-cell operation in a nearby industrial park, with FuelCell Energy eyeing construction at all three sites in 2019.

Bottone commended PSEG Long Island and the Long Island Power Authority for taking “visionary steps forward” in the development of fuel-cell power systems as part of the “energy technology mix.”

“LIPA and PSEG Long Island’s commitment to meet Long Island’s growing need for clean electricity and their focus on installing resilient power generation contribute to the overall reliability and performance of LIPA’s electric grid,” the CEO added.