Helping Bridgeport become a recognized leader in renewable energy

June 6, 2017

Legislation that will pave the way for Bridgeport to become a national model for the reuse of waste heat passed out of the House of Representatives Tuesday in a 100-51 vote.

House Bill 6304 which is vehemently supported by the Bridgeport delegation, and state Reps. Lonnie Reed (D-Branford), Joe Gresko (D-Stamford) and Laura Hoydick (R-Stratford) seeks to establish a pilot program in the city to test-drive thermal district heating technology.

This pilot program will allow the city to build a Combined Heat and Power Plant that will support the Bridgeport Heating District. Through this, thermal energy will be generated through a combined heat and power generator unit. The heat that is dispelled will be sent through pipes to heat Bridgeport city buildings.

“The Bridgeport delegation continues to move good bills forward that not only benefit Bridgeport, but improve air quality by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The passage of H.B. 6304 will create a thermal heating loop in the downtown area, including the University of Bridgeport that will lower utility costs while reducing our carbon footprint. Since President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, it is up to cities like Bridgeport to provide the necessary leadership to preserve our children’s future,” said state Rep. Jack Hennessy.

Bridgeport was selected for the pilot program because of the city’s push to create more renewable energy locally, and its objective to improve its air quality and decarbonize the atmosphere.

Two legislative sessions ago, the state set aside $9 million to help fund the pilot program. This program stands to benefit not only city taxpayers but residents statewide.

This cutting edge technology is the most cost-effective way to heat cities while minimizing environmental impact. Through district heating, the use of natural gas or oil by customers will result in a nearly 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

This pilot program will not only allow employees to learn a new skill, but it will increase job growth in Bridgeport. The economic impact for the project’s initial phase is approximately $50 million from construction and full-time jobs. The city is also slated to receive associated tax revenues from the project.

H.B. 6304 now heads to the Senate for consideration.