A Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Forum has been held by state lawmakers. One of the speakers on alternate energy was from Danbury-based FuelCell Energy. Senior VP and General Counsel Jennifer Arasimowicz testified in support of the industry.
The company has 450 employees and exports their product to three continents. While their headquartered in Danbury, they also have a manufacturing facility in Torrington. FuelCell Energy's supply chain includes companies in 97 Connecticut towns. In the last three years, she says the company has spent more than $75 million with those businesses.
Arasimowicz says the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has awarded no bids for fuel cell projects when looking for alternate energy sources. She notes that the four projects FuelCell bid would have paid $42 million in state and local taxes. Unlike solar and wind, she notes fuel cells are not sales tax exempt. She added that the projects would have supported 322 direct jobs and 106 indirect jobs.
FuelCell Energy opted to expand in Connecticut, growing their manufacturing facility. Arasimowicz says a critical factor was the supportive energy policy environment, but that doesn't match DEEP action.
Greater than 75-percent of the megawatts in the selected projects are located outside of Connecticut. She says that's more than $1.5 billion of out-of-state investment by Connecticut ratepayers to purchase energy that will never flow into Connecticut. Arasimowicz called it a massive lost opportunity for jobs, taxes and grid resiliency.