Lawmakers step in as fuel cell makers decry state contracts

Under the Shared Clean Energy Facilities program, the contracts would fund electricity generators to share the benefits of alternative energy in low-income areas. Fuel cell makers — including FuelCell Energy, based in Danbury — have proposed converting industrial sites including brownfields for the purpose. In a Thursday interview, FuelCell CEO Jason Few expressed frustration with the process, saying PURA — or perhaps the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which oversees it — exerted influence based on a bias against fuel cells, in favor of solar energy. Several members of the Connecticut General Assembly have weighed in. The Energy and Technology Committee is planning a Friday press conference to address the topic. Rep. Holly Cheeseman, R-East Lyme, has called the PURA decision “unusual and highly problematic.” In September, the utilities had sought clarification from PURA on whether to disqualify the apparently nonconforming solar bids and PURA had told them to do so, based on insufficient information about control over property in the bids.

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