The state of Connecticut is expecting job growth in the fuel cell industry despite some recent setbacks to the sector, according to the New Haven Register.
Joel Rinebold, chairman of the Northeast Electrochemical Energy Storage Cluster and director of energy at the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, says the sector can continue to grow, just at a slower pace.
“We still see the industry moving forward,” Rinebold said. “But it’s going to be considerably more difficult.”
The mentioned setbacks are twofold, and include the failure to renew fuel-cell tax credits at the federal level, and a decision by Connecticut and Massachusetts officials to reject a bid by a Beacon Falls fuel cell farm for inclusion in multi-renewable energy procurement. According to Rinebold, the 30 percent investment tax credit for qualified fuel cell projects provided substantial cash flow, for Connecticut fuel cell companies.
It’s still not known whether the incoming Trump administration will renew the fuel cell industry’s tax credits, but the president-elect’s campaign included a major focus on domestic energy sources and creating manufacturing jobs around the country. Rinebold says, “This is an industry that Trump should like.”
According to Global Market Insights, a global market research and consulting firm specializing in industry trends, Connecticut firms currently account for more than half of the fuel cell production in the northeastern United States. The fuel cell industry employs about 3,000 people in the state and generates $600 million a year in revenues.
As for the potential growth, a recent study conducted by the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis at the University of Connecticut found that the fuel cell industry has the potential to create as many as 9,000 jobs a year in the state over the next 27 years, if the use of fuel cells is accelerated over that period of time. Steady growth in use of fuel cells would still result in about 6,000 jobs as year being added to Connecticut’s economy.