The benefits of the proposed Killingly Energy Center are extensive and significant. They begin with local jobs and extend much further, providing not only the cleaner, more reliable and more affordable source of energy that Connecticut and the New England region so urgently needs, but reaching out across the community in a host of valuable ways.
The Killingly Energy Center (KEC) will be Killingly’s largest property taxpayer, totaling over $110 million to the Town of Killingly and the local fire district over 20 years, as well as a lump sum community environmental benefits payment of $5 million that the town can use for community projects and scholarships.
NTE, the developer and owner of KEC, will fund and construct all infrastructure improvements that are required, which will support Killingly’s future economic development needs by improving the community’s critical infrastructure, including replacing older natural gas pipelines, connecting neighboring water systems and enhancing existing roadways.
In fact, NTE is committed to investing $700 million in private funding to construct and operate the KEC. That is $700 million of out-of-state private capital, in a state anxious for new investment. Unlike businesses that so often seek to dip into state funds (taxpayers money), NTE is not looking for any state incentives or financing.
These substantial economic development benefits come without the need for major municipal services or new infrastructure. Nno new schools, hospitals, or roads, for example, need to be provided by local government.
Significantly, approximately 600 construction jobs will be created over the three-year construction period, along with about 20 full-time, well paying jobs once the facility is operational.
The construction jobs will be unionized, as reflected in a labor agreement, which means local construction workers will be working for area contractors on this project — making a living-wage, with benefits. The labor agreement will include hiring provisions for returning veterans, minorities, women and apprentices. It ensures that construction workers on the job will be local, well-paid and be able to re-invest their wages into the local economy.
In addition, the Building Trades are committed to working with Killingly’s Ellis Technical High School to provide its students with direct access and work opportunities on the construction of the Killingly Energy Center. Students will also have the opportunity to become enrolled in state certified apprentice programs with our 14 affiliated crafts.
The Killingly Energy Center will be one of the cleanest, most efficient natural gas power generation facilities in North America, utilizing state-of-the-art electric generation technology that will allow it to operate 25 percent more efficiently than the average electric generator in Connecticut. Plus, it will displace the operation of older, higher-emitting regional oil and coal-fired plants that would otherwise be needed to meet regional energy demand, thus improving overall air quality in Connecticut and New England. The KEC will also support the State of Connecticut’s compliance with the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008.
With up to 6,000 megawatts of older, dirtier and less efficient power generating units at risk of coming off line in the near future, and the continuing uncertainty surrounding Millstone’s future, the KEC will provide much-needed power to protect the reliability of the electric grid and to meet Connecticut’s, and the region’s, energy needs.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, Connecticut already ranks second in the country in total energy price and expenditures. Only Hawaii has higher energy costs. The infrastructure investment by NTE will provide a necessary, new and cleaner source of energy at no risk or cost to Connecticut electric ratepayers. The KEC is not a rate-based facility, which means that Connecticut ratepayers will not see a rate increase with the addition of this new plant. Electricity customers will only pay for power they consume.
At every turn, the advantages of moving forward with the Killingly Energy Center are clear and compelling. It will bring Killingly in particular, as well as our state and region, an attractive and leading edge facility that will produce good jobs, clean energy, and a substantial array of short-term and long-term benefits that we all can take pride in.
Joseph Toner is President of the Greater Hartford-New Britain Building & Construction Trades Council, representing 5,000 unionized construction workers in Hartford County, Middlesex County, Windham County and Litchfield County.
CTViewpoints welcomes rebuttal or opposing views to this and all its commentaries. Read our guidelines and submit your commentary here.