BEACON FALLS — Town officials and the public will get another opportunity next month to ask questions about the proposed largest fuel cell park in the world.
The 66.3-megawatt fuel cell energy park, dubbed the Beacon Falls Energy Park, is being proposed by CT Energy & Technology, a limited liability corporation owned by O&G Industries of Torrington. If built, the park will be larger than the current title holder, a 59-megawatt fuel cell park in South Korea.
The project was presented to town officials, including members of the town’s Land Use Commission and the Board of Selectmen, in late April. Developers plan to go before the Land Use Commission at a meeting on June 24 to present the project in greater detail and answer questions from the public.
The presentation to the commission will be done just before a formal permitting application process begins in late June with the Connecticut Siting Council, said William Corvo, head of William Corvo Consultants and managing member of CT Energy & Technology.
“We’ll have all the answers to all the questions,” Corvo said.
If the project receives all required permits, construction could begin in 2016 and take three years to complete. The energy park is expected to generate about $90 million in local and state taxes.
Information to be presented at the June 24 meeting includes more detailed engineering plans for the project, as well as the level of noise and steam generated by it.
First Selectman Christopher Bielik said he expects CT Energy & Technology to begin the local permitting process in July with applications to various land use boards.
“So far the buzz on the street has been nothing but positive,” Bielik said.
The project is being proposed for a 23.8-acre site off Lopus Road owned by O&G Industries. The fuel cell park will take up only about 8 acres of the parcel.
The site drops about 50 feet from the nearest residential street on Gruber Road. It is currently a brownfield often used by people with ATVs and dirt bikes.
FuelCell Energy Inc. of Danbury and Torrington is expected to produce the fuel cells. CT Energy & Technology has signed a letter of intent with FuelCell to produce the fuel cells for the park, officials from both companies have said.
Fuel cells are considered a renewable energy source in Connecticut. Much like large batteries, fuel cells use an electrochemical process to combine hydrogen found in abundance in natural gas with oxygen from the atmosphere. The process produces water and heat. The project, financed by private funds, will produce enough energy to power more than 60,000 Connecticut homes.