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Connecticut Siting Council OKs fuel cell project at Norwich Inn

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Norwich — The Connecticut Siting Council has ruled that a fuel cell system to be installed at The Spa at Norwich Inn “would not have a substantial adverse environmental effect” and “would not require a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need.”

In a letter Monday to counsel for Doosan Fuel Cell America Inc., council Chairman Robert Stein writes that the council acted on the matter last Thursday. Doosan had asked for a “declaratory ruling” that no certificate was needed.

Stein’s letter lists a number of conditions imposed by the council, including a requirement that Doosan install “acoustical barrier material” to ensure compliance with noise-control standards. The council has determined that the fuel cell, which would not discharge water “under normal operating conditions," would comply with state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection standards for water quality. Air emissions also would meet DEEP requirements, the council found.

In petitioning the council, Doosan indicated the fuel cell system would be located directly adjacent to the rear of The Spa at Norwich Inn. The system, powered by natural gas, would be enclosed in a structure that is 8 feet, 4 inches wide by 27 feet, 4 inches long. It would stand nearly 10 feet tall.

The system would be capable of producing 460 kilowatts of continuous electric power.

“The fuel cell would operate in parallel with the utility grid and will provide both base load, and, in the event of a power outage, grid-independent power to the Norwich Inn & Spa,” siting council staff concluded. “Under normal conditions, 100 percent of the building’s energy usage will be provided by the fuel cell facility.”

The Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative will own and operate the fuel cell, the staff's report says. Any excess electricity the fuel cell generates would offset CMEEC’s other means of providing electricity to Norwich Public Utilities.

Doosan, based in South Windsor, expects to begin installing the fuel cell next month and to complete construction by October, according to the report.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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