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    Tuesday, November 29, 2022

    New battery storage facility proposed in Preston

    Preston ― FirstLight Power gathered company and local officials at its power generation station along the Quinebaug River Wednesday to announce it is retiring the last remaining fossil-fueled plant in its system in May 2023 to be replaced with renewable battery facility.

    FirstLight operates a 17-megawatt Kerosene-fired power generation plant, located on the same property as the Tunnel Dam hydropower facility in Preston.

    The 1969 plant operates only at times of peak power needs, FirstLight CEO Alicia Barton said. The company will replace the Kerosene facility with a 17-megawatt cleaner, more efficient battery energy storage system.

    The new system still needs state permits and a connection agreement with ISO-New England, which manages the electric grid in all six New England states, Barton said.

    Construction will take about two years, and the battery facility is expected to become operational in 2024 or 2025.

    The new battery plant also will be a peak-period only power generating facility and will be co-located at the Tunnel Dam 3-megawatt hydropower plant in Preston.

    Also Tuesday, FirstLight announced it will collaborate with battery facility developer New Leaf Energy to donate $60,000 to Operation Fuel for its workforce training program and to provide energy assistance to residents during the coming winter. Operation Fuel partners with 58 agencies throughout the state, including Thames Valley Council for Community Action, to provide fuel assistance through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistae Program, called LIHEAP.

    Operation Fuel also runs a job training program to train people for the growing clean energy industry.

    “We appreciate this opportunity to expand Operation Fuel’s capabilities to become part of Connecticut’s growing energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts,” Brenda Watson, executive director of Operation Fuel said in a news release on the announcement.

    c.bessette@theday.com

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