Killingly Energy Center a Boon to Clean Energy, Economic Development

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We've all read the headlines and seen the reports — facing massive state budget deficits that stretch for years to come, Connecticut is struggling to retain meaningful jobs, young people and businesses, and struggling to attract new investment. For Connecticut to succeed, our economic wellbeing depends on an affordable and reliable clean energy supply to replace outdated energy sources and to attract and grow a modern economy, an economy that will allow the state to be competitive.
 
One important step that we can take right now is to support the development of the Killingly Energy Center, a 650-megawatt combined cycle natural gas power plant using high-efficiency and low-emissions technology. In addition to improving the state's energy infrastructure, the development of the Killingly Energy Center offers many additional benefits. NTE Energy, the developer of the Killingly Energy Center, is investing $700 million to construct the facility — that's $700 million of private capital in a state that is starved for private investment. Construction will also generate approximately 450 well-paid jobs, as well as 20 permanent, full-time jobs with a total annual payroll of approximately $2 million, again in a region that desires skilled jobs.
 
Another benefit is greater energy reliability. One of the most important factors businesses look for when deciding to remain in or move to Connecticut is energy reliability. In fact, when the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission was looking at closing the New London sub base, this was one of their concerns. Not only will the Killingly Energy Center provide new and needed economic development, it will also enhance the region's overall electrical system reliability with a cleaner and more affordable source of energy. Throughout New England, several coal- and oil-generation power plants are either retiring or at risk of retirement. Not only does this threaten the reliability of the region's energy system, but it also provides an opportunity for these older, less efficient and much dirtier plants to be replaced by cleaner-burning natural gas powered plants — thus improving our environment.
 
The Killingly Energy Center also holds benefits for its host community. Once completed, the facility will be Killingly's largest taxpayer, paying in excess of $110 million to the town over the 20-year agreement, as well as an additional $5 million under the Community Environmental Benefit Agreement that the town will use for needed community projects and scholarships. The Killingly Energy Center will also fund and construct needed infrastructure improvements benefiting the town and project, including replacing older natural gas pipelines, connecting neighboring water systems and enhancing existing roadways. These infrastructure improvements will help encourage further economic development in Killingly's industrial park.
 
It is important to note that these economic and infrastructure benefits will be made at no cost to the town and with no taxpayer funds or incentives. Our future economic wellbeing depends on our willingness to embrace new clean energy sources that incorporate modern technology and provide greater efficiency. The Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce stands with those willing to bring responsible development of cleaner and more reliable energy to our state.