We’ve all read the headlines and seen the reports – facing massive state budget deficits for years to come, Connecticut is losing jobs, population, and businesses, while struggling to attract new companies. For eastern Connecticut and our state to succeed, we must work together to reverse these negative trends.
One important step that we can take right now is to support the development of the Killingly Energy Center, a 550 megawatt combined cycle natural gas power plant using high efficiency and low emissions technology.
The developers, NTE Energy, are 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 union jobs and, when completed, will provide a clean source of energy.
The magnitude of this investment in our region offers many benefits for the state, the region, and the town of Killingly.
For example, when the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission was looking at closing Naval Submarine Base New London, energy supply was one of their concerns. Not only will the Killingly Energy Center provide new and much needed economic development, it will also enhance the region’s overall electrical system with a clean source of affordable energy.
Throughout southern New England, several coal and oil generation power plants are either retiring or at risk of retirement. The Killingly Energy Center will be a state-of-the-art gas-powered plant replacing these older, dirtier, and less efficient plants, resulting in significant environmental improvements. During peak demand, the Killingly Energy Center will help the state meet and maintain its air quality standards.
The Killingly Energy Center also holds many benefits for the host community, Killingly. Once completed, the facility will be the town’s largest taxpayer, paying in excess of $90 million to the Town of Killingly. Under the Community Environmental Benefits Agreement (CEBA), the Killingly Energy Center will provide an additional $5 million 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 minimal impacts on town services.
Connecticut stands at a crossroad. Are we going to be a state that welcomes and encourages investment and job growth, or will we remain the State of “NO”? The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut stands with those willing to bring responsible development that promotes economic development and benefits, as well as creates much-needed jobs. We ask other organizations to do likewise.
For the reasons stated above, and many more, it is imperative that the entire community support this important development. Doing so will provide a much-needed boost to our environmental and economic wellbeing as well as providing much needed jobs for the region.