FirstLight to team battery storage with hydropower

14 October 2022

FirstLight Power has announced plans to retire its fossil fuel power generation facility in Preston and replace it with a large capacity 17MW battery energy storage system, to be located at the same site as its Tunnel Hydro facility, highlighting the opportunity to pair batteries with hydropower to supply renewable energy to Connecticut communities when it is most needed

In addition, to support the transition to a clean energy economy, FirstLight and its development partner, New Leaf Energy, announced seed funding to bolster Operation Fuel’s critical efforts to provide training to local workers as they join the state’s growing energy efficiency and renewable energy workforce.

“The retirement of our Tunnel Jet facility – along with our support of Operation Fuel’s workforce training program  – underscore FirstLight’s commitment to advancing the equitable decarbonization of the region’s electrical grid while ensuring that local workers have the necessary training to join Connecticut’s growing clean energy economy,” said Alicia Barton, President and CEO of FirstLight. “We are excited to be working with New Leaf Energy to develop a new emissions-free battery energy storage system that will deliver clean, safe, and reliable electricity to meet Connecticut’s growing clean energy needs. In addition, we applaud Operation Fuel for their vision to establish an equity-centered workforce training program that will provide an opportunity for all Connecticut residents to tap into the green jobs market and build the workforce necessary to achieve a carbon-free future.”

As the only year-round emergency energy assistance program in Connecticut, Operation Fuel partners with 58 organizations in the state, including nearly all the Community Action Agencies that operate the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Collectively, FirstLight and New Leaf Energy will donate $60,000 in initial seed funding to advance Operation Fuel’s vision to create a robust training program to build the clean energy workforce of the future that will play a critical role in supporting the clean energy transition in Connecticut and beyond.

“Operation Fuel is extremely grateful to FirstLight and New Leaf Energy for this generous grant that will be used to provide energy efficiency training to our staff at Operation Fuel and assist in the support of an emergency energy assistance worker at our partner fuel bank, Thames Valley Council for Community Action,” said Brenda Watson, Executive Director of Operation Fuel. “We appreciate this opportunity to expand Operation Fuel’s capabilities to become part of Connecticut’s growing energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts. This grant will also allow members of our team to become home auditors and to understand building science principles.”

Immediately following the retirement and decommissioning of the Tunnel Jet peaking facility in 2023, FirstLight will work with New Leaf Energy to design, manage, and procure the new 17MW battery energy storage system. Construction will begin following procurement, and potentially as soon as the interconnection and permits are secured for the project – with a target of late 2024 or early 2025.

“New Leaf Energy is excited to advance this important project at FirstLight’s Tunnel Jet facility, part of an innovative collaboration that will help create hybrid renewables solutions across New England by combining solar and energy storage resources with existing generation,” said Dan Berwick, CEO of New Leaf Energy. “In addition to our work to decarbonize the region’s power generation, we are pleased to partner with FirstLight to support Operation Fuel’s important workforce training efforts.”

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