Bridgeport, CT- On September 11, 2014, IDEAS For Us participated in the Connecticut Siting Council’s public hearing and comment period for a proposed 2.2 megawatt AC solar photovoltaic facility and a 2.8 megawatt AC Fuel Cell facility on approximately 22 acres of the former Seaside Landfill located at 350 Waldemere Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut. The project, proposed to be built and maintained by the United Illuminating Company, is known as the Bridgeport Green Energy Park.
Community member Adrienne Houel of Park City Green testifying before the Connecticut Siting Council
At the hearing, IDEAS For Us’ Northeastern Regional Director, Jacob Robison, spoke in favor of the solar array project to take place. Close to 50 community members showed up to the event, with many speaking for and against the project.
IDEAS For Us’ full public comment on the Green Energy Project is as read below:
Petition: No. 1104
Petitioner: United Illuminating Co. (“UI”)
Hearing: September 11, 2014 at 7 PM
Dear Connecticut Siting Council,
As a 501c3 environmental non-profit organization with sizable activity in Bridgeport, IDEAS For Us shows support for the construction of a solar array on Seaside Landfill. 2.2 megawatts of solar energy, or 9000 panels, is a significant investment into the green energy future of Bridgeport. Zero emissions energy production is important to Bridgeport because we are taking responsibility for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and contribution to global climate change. 98% of scientists agree that climate change is largely caused by human activities, most notably the burning of fossil fuels (Anderegg et al., 2010.) In Bridgeport, we have been feeling the effects of climate change. For those of us that experienced Superstorm Sandy and Winter Storm Nemo, we know that this is no laughing matter. As climate change progresses, Bridgeport will be hit with more extreme and damaging storms, putting lives and homes at risk. The time is now to act on climate, and Bridgeport needs this solar installation.
However, IDEAS For Us is hesitant to support the notion of building a fuel cell on the Seaside Park Landfill. Fuel cells run on natural gas, which is a fossil fuel that causes climate change. The manner in which this fossil fuel is extracted from the earth is called hydraulic fracturing, or “hydrofracking.” This requires drilling holes thousands of feet below the ground, and then using explosives to “loosen” the gas deposits. Methane, a greenhouse gas which causes climate change, escapes from these wells at an unprecedented rate. According to the most up-to-date and cutting edge research by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, methane escapes at a rate 100-1000 times the volume that the EPA predicts (Caulton et al., 2014.) Combined with the fact that methane has 20 times the global warming potential as carbon dioxide (EPA, 2014,) natural gas fuel cells have the potential to own emissions many times worse than burning coal. This means that by building a fuel cell, United Illuminating is not doing any better for the environment than if they built a coal-fired power plant, the most polluting source of energy known to man. Because UI is planning on producing 5 megawatts on this site, IDEAS For Us’ suggested course of action is to replace the 2.8 megawatt fuel cell’s capacity with a zero-emissions wind farm.
Jacob D Robison
Northeastern Regional Director, IDEAS For Us
105 Williamsburg Road, Bridgeport, CT 06606