Powering Strong Communities

Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative Brings Fuel Cell Microgrid Online

The Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative has brought online a natural gas-fired fuel cell power station that will provide power to its municipal electric utility members.

The 7.4-megawatt (MW) fuel cell, sited on property leased from the U.S. Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn., (SUBASE) will also enhance the reliability of electric service provided to the SUBASE by CMEEC member Groton Utilities, whose public power electric distribution system is interconnected to the project.

The fuel cells will support SUBASE’s ability to isolate, or island, its power supply for critical loads to provide increased resiliency and energy security in the event of a broader grid outage.

“Ensuring the SUBASE has a resilient source of electric power is a strong priority for the Navy, Groton Utilities, CMEEC and also CMEEC’s partner in this project, Groton Station Fuel Cell, LLC, a subsidiary of Connecticut-based FuelCell Energy Inc., who owns and operates the project,” Dave Meisinger, CMEEC’s CEO, said in a statement.

In addition, Meisinger added, the clean energy output of the fuel cells will help to further Connecticut’s decarbonization goals as established by Governor Lamont and later codified by the state legislature.

In September 2018, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy released of $5 million of state grant money to establish a microgrid at SUBASE. CMEEC had previously entered into an enhanced use lease agreement with the Navy for property on the SUBASE to host a fuel cell park.

CMEEC is a non-profit municipal joint-action electric supply agency that is a political subdivision of the State of Connecticut created in 1976. It provides the wholesale power supply requirements of six municipal electric utilities in Connecticut, as well as for other customers who purchase power at wholesale.

Its municipal electric utility members are Bozrah Light & Power, Jewett City Department of Public Utilities, Groton Utilities, Norwich Public Utilities, South Norwalk Electric and Water, and The Third Taxing District of Norwalk Electric Division. CMEEC also supplies the wholesale power requirements of the Mohegan Tribal Utility Authority.