Connecticut Maintains Fuel Cell Dominance

Connecticut’s claim to being the “fuel cell capital of the nation” is secure, thanks to a number of factors, according to participants in a major industry conference held at the fuel cell-powered Mohegan Sun Convention Center in Uncasville, Connecticut. The three-day Fuel Cell Investment Summit was presented by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF).

Rocky Hill, Connecticut – April 30, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] In several major categories used to measure the fuel cell industry, Connecticut remains dominant. To date, over $300 million worth of fuel cell products – a US record – have been manufactured and shipped from Connecticut. Not only does the state have more fuel cell-related jobs per capita than any other state, but it also boasts a third of all fuel cell-related jobs in America, said speakers at the CCEF event. Perhaps more impressive is the fact that fully five percent of the global fuel cell workforce is employed by Connecticut companies says David Jollie, Ph.D., editor of Fuel Cell Today, a leading international industry publication. “When we evaluate a state’s or region’s position in the industry, we look at several factors – financial strength, regulatory environment, demonstration of the fuel cells, and jobs,” he says. “Connecticut looks good in each of those categories.” In addition to its significant fuel cell-related workforce, Jollie gives Connecticut high marks for the state government’s solid investment in fuel cells, especially the support of CCEF; for the world class Connecticut Global Fuel Cell Center at the University of Connecticut; and for the concentration of Connecticut companies involved in the fuel cell industry, including such industry leaders as UTC Fuel Cells, in South Windsor; FuelCell Energy, Inc., in Danbury; and Proton Energy Systems, in Wallingford. “While fuel cells are already helping make the global environment cleaner, Connecticut’s benefit from fuel cells goes far beyond cleaner air,” says CCEF Chairman Arthur Diedrick. “We’ve got a substantial head start here because of the presence of three major fuel cell companies and early investments we made in supporting fuel cell projects and technology. As a result, there is the potential to create thousands of new fuel cell jobs because Connecticut is an industry hub where new and existing fuel cell companies can thrive.” Held last month, the Summit is only one of the ways in which CCEF, launched in 2000, supports the state’s fuel cell industry. Funded by a surcharge on the state’s ratepayers’ utility bills, it uses an annual budget of $20 million to fund programs that promote and advance fuel cell development and commercialization, as well as other clean energy technologies. CCEF has made Connecticut a leader in clean energy through its investments, creating supply and educating Connecticut consumers to demand their energy from clean, renewable sources. Following its first two successful fuel cell solicitations, CCEF is about to announce the finalists in its third annual request for proposals for near-commercial fuel cell demonstration projects. CCEF has allocated up to $4 million for this award. This year’s solicitation seeks notable fuel cell demonstration projects that advance the state of technology and accelerate the pace of commercialization of fuel cells. The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, which is administered by Connecticut Innovations Inc., invests in enterprises and initiatives that promote and develop sustainable markets for energy from renewable resources and fuel cells that will benefit the electric ratepayers of Connecticut. CCEF’s other clean energy projects include fuel cell installations at South Windsor High School; St. Francis Hospital, Hartford; Peabody Museum, New Haven; and New Haven Water Pollution Control Authority.
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