BURLINGTON, Mass. and NEW MILFORD, Conn. – October 12, 2022 – FirstLight Power, a leading clean provider of renewable energy and energy storage resources, today announced two major clean energy transition initiatives that demonstrate the company’s commitment to environmental justice, which will benefit Connecticut and the entire New England region. During an event with state leaders, local officials, and community members, FirstLight highlighted the company’s plans to retire its fossil fuel power generation facility in Preston – the last fossil unit in the company’s fleet – and replace it with a large capacity 17 MW battery energy storage system.
The Tunnel Battery project will be located at the same site as FirstLight’s 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 17 MW 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.”
The retirement of the company’s last fossil fuel peaking facility follows several strategic partnerships that have further solidified FirstLight as a leading owner and operator of critical energy storage and renewable energy assets. Earlier this year, FirstLight announced a new partnership in Connecticut to advance new hybrid renewable energy projects across the state. FirstLight was part of a successful investment consortium that secured a lease in the recent NY Bight Offshore Wind auction. In addition, today’s announcement follows the company’s new strategic partnership with New Leaf Energy to develop new solar and storage generation at FirstLight’s existing hydropower facilities in Massachusetts and Connecticut. These collaborations will advance the company’s commitment to help accelerate the Northeast’s path to a fully decarbonized electric grid.
About FirstLight Power
FirstLight Power (FirstLight) is a leading clean power producer, developer, and energy storage company serving North America. With a diversified portfolio that includes over 1,400 megawatts of operating renewable energy and energy storage technologies, FirstLight specializes in hybrid solutions that pair hydroelectric, pumped-hydro storage, utility-scale solar, large-scale battery, and offshore wind assets. The company’s mission is to accelerate the decarbonization of the electric grid by supporting the development, operation, and integration of renewable energy and storage solutions to advance an electric system that is clean, reliable, affordable, and equitable. Based in Burlington, MA, with operating offices in Northfield, MA and New Milford, CT, FirstLight is a steward of more than 14,000 acres and hundreds of miles of shoreline along some of the most beautiful rivers and lakes in the Northeast. To learn more, visit www.firstlightpower.com or follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.
About Operation Fuel
Operation Fuel is the only year-round emergency energy assistance program in Connecticut, providing help with electricity, water, natural gas, oil, and other energy bills to residents across the state. Thanks to supporters and donors, Operation Fuel is able to flip the switch for families, helping seniors, children, and people with medical conditions stay warm, keep the lights on, power devices for cooking and refrigeration, and have access to running water for drinking, hygiene, and laundry. For more information, visit www.operationfuel.org.
About New Leaf Energy
New Leaf Energy is one of the leading developers of renewable energy and energy storage projects in the United States, both distributed generation and utility scale. Established as a standalone business in 2022 and headquartered in Lowell, Mass., the company was formed out of Borrego’s market-leading solar and energy storage development business and is being led by Borrego’s former development business management team. New Leaf Energy partners with landowners, utilities, and local communities to secure, design and permit commercial, community and utility-scale renewable energy and energy storage projects and prepare them for sale to long-term asset owners. Together with its partners, New Leaf Energy accelerates the adoption of renewable energy in service of the goal of rapidly decarbonizing our society. For more information, visit www.newleafenergy.com.