Infrastructure Task Team
7. Regional infrastructure plan
Develop a regional infrastructure plan for Northwest Connecticut that capitalizes on prior transportation and other infrastructure planning carried out by LHCEO and NWCCOG.
This Initiative Supports Goal 5 - Infrastructure
Meeting Minutes - Board of Directors
Monday, June 20, 2016
@ NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: Frank Chiaramonte, Susan Clayton, Fran Delaney, Rick Lynn, Mark Lyon, Laura McCarthy, Rich Meinert, Ted Murphy, Doug Parker, JoAnn Ryan, Ted Shafer, Dan Sherr, Stephen Silver, Larry Sweeney, Sharon Waagner, Erin Wilson, Amy Wynn, Steve Zarrella
Guests: Ruth Fitzgerald, Carol Gould, Jane Williams (NCCC), Maggie Selby (WEI), Mike Maniago (Torr. Police Chief)
I. Presentation of the draft of the NHCOG Regional Transportation Plan
by Rick Lynn, Executive Director, Northwest Hills Council of Governments and Ruth Fitzgerald, Founding Principal, Fitzgerald and Halliday, Inc.
A. Key regional priorities:
- Maintain and optimize current assets
- More focus on non-auto mobility
- Enhance livability
- Improve connections
- Maximize resources and economic opportunity
B. Summary of needs by mode of transportation:
- Roadway / Bridges-generally well served
- Transit-very high degree of latent demand
- Rail-improving facilities and opportunities for freight travel
- Bicycle travel-shoulders and markings are needed
- Pedestrians-more sidewalks are needed
- Off-road travel (trails/greenways)-trails are key draw or tourists and residents
C. Regional Recommendations:
- Maintain NHCOG participation in existing CTDOT programs
- Advocate for increased funding for rural programs
- Consider retaining a part time/on call transportation engineer/planner
- Promote the development of municipal pavement management plans for local roads
- More regional representation on paving priorities for state roads
- Take full advantage of state funding for local roads
- Identify truck volume issues to assess workable solutions
- Develop a plan for additional scenic road designations
- Consider providing opportunities for electric car charging stations
- Explore the issue of photo-enforcement to manage speed
- Conduct a complete streets pilot program
- Stay abreast of the statewide freight plan
- Maintain and expand the public works equipment purchasing program
- Complete the Torrington Transit Center
- Appoint a Transit Coordination Committee
- Hire a full or pat time regional transit coordinator
- Pursue the recommendations of the rural independent transit system and revise for current conditions
- Purchase new vehicles for paratransit services and expand services
- Explore expansion of transit services to NWCCC
- SEE DRAFT PLAN FOR THE ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS
D. Comments and Recommendations from Board Members:
- The Transportation Plan must speak with one voice in order to get the needed funding
- The plan must have public input
- Airport/Air service should be considered
- Need improved Internet service to expand Uber services
- Biggest demand is by people who can't get transportation on their own
- Consider light rail as part of the plan
- Transportation Hub needed for Torrington. They only have a facility for buses at present
E. Review and comments for the plan are due by July 5th
- Review regional priorities
- Review regional recommendations
- Review local projects (anything missing?)
Meeting Minutes - Board of Directors
Monday, May 16, 2016
@ NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: Jocelyn Ayer, Peter Bevivino, Bill Burgess, Frank Chiaramonte, Susan Clayton, David Dean, Fran Delaney, Anthea Disney, Lou Helt, Brad Hoar, Mark Lyon, John Maxwell, Laura McCarthy, Pat Mechare, Rich Meinert, Ted Murphy, Doug Parker, Leo Paul, Dan Sherr, Steve Silver, Don Stein, Kevin Sullivan, Larry Sweeney, Sharon Waagner, Amy Wynn, Steve Zarrella
Guests: Jane Williams (NCCC), Katherine Freygang (Cornwall Energy Task Force), Scott Gray (NW CT Chamber), Walter Klimczak, Jr. (Eversource Gas), Frank Wolak (FuelCell Energy)
1. Eversource Energy
Steve Silver, Community Relations and Economic Development Specialist for Eversource Energy & Walter Klimczak, Jr., Western Regional Manager of Maintenance for Eversource Gas
- Gas burns more cleanly than oil or coal.
- Eversource is expanding current gas lines, the lines come from Mass.
- The line stops in Torrington, Torrington has had gas lines since 1952.
- Gas quality is pure methane, there is an abundant supply.
- There are 3,250 miles of pipeline, with 151,000 services (customers)
- The forecast is to lower prices with planned expansion for Torrington
- 30 miles of pipe replaced each year (budget $40 million/year)
- Average cost per mile to install new pipe is $800,000.
2. Connecticut Green Bank (formally CT. Clean Energy Fund)
Bob Wall, Associate Director of Outreach for CT Green Bank
- 20,000 people (residential) now use solar energy in CT
- State supported program to encourage clean energy use
Programs for Commercial customers
- C-PACE - Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy
a. 100% financing of green energy
b. CT solar equipment leasing program
c. Multi-family housing financing available
- Energy on the Line
a. Designed for manufacturers
b. New program - six month window to apply
Bob's contact info: 860-257-2354 or Bob.Wall@ctgreenbank.com
3. FuelCell Energy
Frank Wolak, Vice President Government Relations for FuelCell Energy
- An integrated company: R&D, sales, manufacturing, project execution, and services
- Started in 1995, now has 600 employees in Danbury & Torrington
- 300 employees at the Torrington manufacturing facility (built in 1996)
- Fuel cell stacks (made of 4 modules) generate 2.8 MW
- Use natural gas (non combustible) and/or bio-methane
- Gases are converted to hydrogen with nearly zero carbon emissions
- Best suited for densely populated areas (universities, cities, factories)
- 100 units installed worldwide (CT, S. Korea, California, Germany)
- Current expansion project in Torrington from 65,000 ft. to 167,000 ft.
- Work force will expand at Torrington manufacturing facility when new expansion is completed in 2017 from 300 to 500.
- The cost of generation is 10 cents per kilowatt hour.
- FCE is working with Exxon/Mobil to capture gases from refineries for use with fuel cells
4. Cornwall Energy Taskforce
Katherine Freygang, Chair
- Cornwall decreased residential energy consumption by 20% by using clean, renewable, green energy.
- Task Force encouraged home energy audits.
- Town-wide efforts earned a solar panel for the school.
- Surplus energy generated by solar panels goes to low income housing.
- Town offices are net zero energy users because of the solar panels.
- A portfolio Manager Assistant Program is available to better inventory energy usage.
- They sponsor community events to raise awareness and publish newsletters.
- She suggests integrating efforts with other towns to maximize benefits.
NWCTEDC Minutes - Executive Committee
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
@ NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: Jocelyn Ayer, Elinor Carbone, Rich Meinert, Doug Parker, Leo Paul, Jr., JoAnn Ryan
I. Task Team Updates
Infrastructure: Jocelyn Ayer
1. Jocelyn is updating the current transportation plan for the NW Hills Council of Governments.
2. She will be meeting with Bill Baxter, Rick Lynn and others to provide an accurate assessment of current and future transportation and infrastructure needs.
NWCTEDC Minutes - Board of Directors
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
@ NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: : Jocelyn Ayer, Bill Baxter, Bill Burgess, Elinor Carbone, Frank Chiaramonte, Susie Clayton, David Dean, Anthea Disney, Richard Labich, Rick Lynn, Pat Mechare, Rich Meinert, Ted Murphy, Doug Parker, JoAnn Ryan, Dwain Snow, Don Stein, Sharon Waagner, Erin Wilson, Wendy Rego, Jerry Rollett, Ray Drew, Howard Pincus, Bob Geiger, Stephanie Podewell, Vic Muschell, Aurora Daly, Colin Pease, Tara Jo Holmberg
I. NW CT Infrastructure Survey Summary:
Speaker: Jocelyn Ayer (NW Hills Council of Governments)
A. Why is a "Regional Infrastructure Action Plan" important?
We need to identify and agree upon the key infrastructure issues we need to address to retain and expand existing businesses in NWCT and attract new businesses. We can then strategically seek out funding and other resources to address these targeted infrastructure needs.
B. Infrastructure focus areas include:
1. Transportation of people & products (including roads, rail, bike, and bus)
2. Water & Sewer Service
4. Communications (broadband internet and cell phone service)
C. Results of Infrastructure Needs Survey:
(Note: only 35 survey responses have been received to date)
Key issues identified by survey respondents:
- Passengers cannot travel here using existing rail service (68%)
- Customers & potential employees cannot get here quickly enough using existing bus service (58%)
- The lack of reliable cell phone service affects our ability to retain and attract businesses (58%)
- The sewer service area in my town is too limited or there is no public sewer (41%).
- The cost of electricity effects our ability to retain and attract businesses ( 37%).
D. Proposed Infrastructure Action Plan contents:
- Brief summary of current service and needs in each of the four infrastructures focus areas listed above.
- List of needed infrastructure investments (project list with estimated funding needed)
- Action plan for carrying out priority projects
E. Infrastructure projects listed in the CEDS:
- Housatonic Railroad/Berkshire rail line passenger project
- Implementation of Downtown Torrington Revitalization Plan
- Torrington South Main Street/Litchfield Thomaston Road Sewers and Water
- Northwest Transit Maintenance Facility
- New Hartford Cottage Street Area Sewer Line Extension
- Winchester Main Street Reconfiguration
- Barkhamsted RRDD Industrial Park
- Barkhamsted Route 44 Sewers
II. Torrington Infrastructure Issues
A. Speaker: Jerry Rollett (Torrington Public Works Director)
- Torrington has $500 million of infrastructure to maintain. $2 million is allotted per year for road maintenance and pavement management.
- As roads are being maintained, 'Complete Streets' practices are implemented when possible.
- The city's landfill is installing solar panels to generate electricity for the buildings.
- LED street lights are being installed. The program will save about $400,000 per year in electricity costs.
- River walks are being planned as well as improvements to the sewer lines.
- Downtown sidewalk project is nearly complete.
- Downtown Municipal Development Plan (MDP) requires substantial funding.
- City is working closely with CT DOT to improve traffic flow at the 5 way intersection in the downtown area.
- The MDP project and implementation of complete streets in the downtown area, expansion and upgrades to the water pollution plant, and the construction of a new transit station are all high priority items for the city.
B. Speaker: Ray Drew (Torrington Water Pollution Control Administrator)
- Torrington sewer facility capacity is 7.0 million gallons per day, with current usage about 5.5 million gallons per day.
- Upgrades required by the state will cost $51.3 million.
- Phosphorus levels must be limited, cost to upgrade is $13.4 million.
- Harwinton and Litchfield also use the Torrington sewer system.
- Litchfield is allotted 150,000 gallons per day, current usage is 25,000 gal/day.
- There are a total of 163 miles of sewer lines to maintain, much of the system is over 100 years old.
- The cost for all upgrades is projected at $87 million.
III. Nutmeg Network
Speaker: Wendy Rego (Business Manager, CT Education Network)
- The Nutmeg Network consists of the Public Safety Data Network (PSDN) and the CT Education Network (CEN)
- The Nutmeg Network is supported by the CT Dept. of Emergency Services & Public Protection (DESPP), the CT Education Network/Advanced Services Center (CEN/ASC) and the Dept. of Administrative Services/Bureau of Enterprise Systems & Technology (DAS/BEST)
- The Nutmeg Network is a joint venture between DAS/BEST and UConn.
- The Commission for Educational Technology (CET) is the governing body for CEN.
- Members include: K-12 Schools, Higher Education, Libraries, Museums, Public Television, Municipalities, State Agencies, Public Safety, and Businesses (open Access)
- Libraries are all connected to the network, 70 are connected with high speed fiber and 99 are connected with lower speed DSL.
- They also have a public safety network up and running.
- Funding is from the general fund of the State and from paying participants.
- They work on a cost recovery basis
- They reinvest in the network
- They are considered a state agency
- Towns can benefit from the network's higher bandwidth capacity
- Cost to towns lower at the present time than it was previously because of legislation that was passed.
- Private Businesses could connect to the network, but the last mile is a major barrier.
- Features include: 1 Gbps connections, Access to Internet 2, 10 Gbps backbone (40 Gbps capacity), 24/7 Network Monitoring, Competitive Business Rates, Multiple Internet Service Providers, CEN Member Forums
- Municipal Benefits: State supplemented rates, access to high-speed Internet, ability to share applications with other municipal agencies and with other municipalities, and grant funding available for one more year through OPM for last mile build-out.
- Services: high-speed Internet, business to business connectivity, web content filtering, video teleconferencing, network performance monitoring, domain name services, training
- Future services: VoIP (voice over Internet - phone), Virtual Desktop (VPC), wireless network management, connection to hospitals, library upgrades, municipality expansion project
- 'Last mile' fiber costs can be substantial, population density is a major issue in NW CT, more cost efficient in more heavily populated areas
- Municipalities frequently use the Regional Performance Incentive Program (OPM) to fund the 'last mile' connection.
- 13 towns in CT are currently connected with 67 more pending
IV. Naugatuck Railroad
Speaker: Howard Pincus (President, Naugatuck Railroad)
- Naugatuck Railroad (aka Railroad Museum of New England) runs from Waterbury to Torrington
- Current tracks are in need of repair.
- Most of railroad line is class 2 which means it can travel up to 25 miles per hour.
- Part of the line is class 1 which means it can only travel up to 10 miles per hour.
- Goal is to upgrade the entire route to class 2
- Track improvements are projected to cost $1.6 million for Class 2 operation (25 mph for both freight and passenger).
- Upgrades are also required in several siding locations in Torrington.
- Passenger usage will most likely be limited to tourism, numerous curves limit top speed to 25 mph
- Freight usage for bulk materials (stones & road salt) would reduce reliance on trucks and extend life of roads
- There are other opportunities to carry freight, C&D Demolition could be a freight customer.
- They are exploring new tourism opportunities from Thomaston to Torrington.
- Commuter service is a long way off because you would need 45-50 mph trips which they can't provide due to the multiple curves (track runs parallel to the Naugatuck River).
V. Housatonic Railroad
Speaker: Colin Pease (Vice President, Housatonic Railroad)
- Housatonic Railroad has 90 miles of track from Danbury, CT to Pittsfield, MA, running parallel to Route 7 and the Housatonic River (CT portion is 50 miles).
- Track is vintage 1920's with some segments dating back to 1876.
- Track is in need of upgrading for both freight and passenger use.
- The Rail Improvement Act provides money for replacement
- Phase One would replace 5 1/2 miles of track in worst condition.
- Massachusetts is providing $113 million for upgrades
- Several businesses in North Canaan use the railroad daily including BD, Bicron Electronics and Specialty Minerals.
- Freight is moved north to Pittsfield, MA for connection to CSX.
- Housatonic Railroad has applied for several TIGER Grants to upgrade tracks.
- Cost for total track replacement is projected at $1.25 million per mile or about $62.5 million total.
- Costs for train stations is estimated at $3 million per station.
VI. NW CT Regional Transportation Plan
Speaker: Rick Lynn (Executive Director, NW Hills Council of Governments)
- NW CT Regional Transportation Plan is being reviewed and updated by the NW Hills Council of Governments.
- The newly formed NW Hills Council of Governments (as of January 1, 2014) now serves 21 municipalities in NW CT.
- The top priority transportation issue is maintenance, repairing and maintaining current infrastructure.
- The top priority transit issue is providing a new facility for Northwest CT Transit, which serves much of the region.
- Rick suggested the NWCTEDC endorse the building of a new NW CT Transit to better serve the needs of the region. JoAnn Ryan made the motion to endorse, David Dean seconded, after brief discussion it was passed unanimously.
NWCTEDC Minutes -Board of Directors
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
@ NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: Susan Clayton, Patricia Mechare, Doug Parker, Lauren Smith, Sharon Waagner, Fran Delaney, Anthea Disney, William Baxter, David Dean, Ted Murphy, JoAnn Ryan, Rich Minert, Joann Brogis, Jocelyn Ayer, Frank Chiaramonte, Leona LeJeune, John Maxwell, Richard Labich, Bill Burgess, Lew Chappel, Fiona de Merell, Lou Helt, Rick Lynn, Stephen Silver, Larry Sweeney, Susan Dichter, Rob Michalik
II. Task Team Reports
E. Infrastructure- Bill Baxter, Jocelyn Ayer & Rick Lynn
- Team is trying to figure out how to reach out to other communities and towns to get them involved.
- Jocelyn Ayer's survey gained 35 responses. Lack of railways and cell phone service were largest issues for bringing business to this area.
- Team's focus will be on transportation, sewer, energy, and technology and communications (phone, Internet, etc.).
NWCTEDC Minutes -Executive Committee
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
@ NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: Bill Baxter, David Dean, Lou Helt, Doug Parker, Rich Minert, Rick Lynn, Leo Paul, Pat Power, Lew Chappell, Sherri Dadomo
3. Task Team Updates
Infrastructure Task Team- Bill Baxter and Rick Lynn gave the update. The task team met recently and created a draft of an 'Infrastructure Survey' which will be distributed to municipalities and organizations in NW CT. The team's focus is transportation, water/sewer service, energy/natural gas and communications and has started developing an outline for a proposed regional infrastructure plan.
NWCTEDC Minutes -Executive Committee
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
@ NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: JoAnn Ryan, Lauren Smith, Bill Baxter, Lew Chappel, Rose Ponte, Leo Paul, Doug Parker, Lou Helt, Domenic Carazza, Rick Lynn, Rich Minert, David Dean, Jocelyn Ayer
II. Task Team Reports
1. Bill Baxter and Rick Lynn gave the update.
2. The group has not met yet.
3. Naugatuck Railroad received money for rail upgrades.
4. Rick suggested the need for a regional infrastructure plan. He said there are funds available to develop the plan and hire a consultant to do the research.
NW CT EDC
Minutes - Board of Directors
Friday, September 17, 2010
8:30 am - BD Medical, Canaan, CT
Attendance: Doug Parker, Dan McGuinness, Frank Chiaramonte, Susie Clayton, Fran Delaney, Michael Menard, Amy Wynn, Bob Axelrod, David Dean, Guy Rovezzi, Peter Kent, Colin Pease, John Hanlon, Heath Petersen, Andy Brockway, Scott Hudson, Tim Waldron, Leona LeJeune
President John Hanlon provided an overview of the operations of the Housatonic Railroad. There are two main lines including a north-south line from Danbury, CT to Pittsfield, MA and an east-west line running parallel to Interstate 84 from Derby, CT to the NY state border with freight rights to Beacon, NY. The company has been in operation for 28 years and includes a total of 250 miles of track. HRR employs 37 full-time people. John cited a 400% energy savings when comparing rail freight to truck freight. Freight moved by rail also reduces truck traffic on roads and highways.
The HRR currently operates freight service and recently completed a study to explore expanding to passenger service. Track maintenance is a major issue and no federal funds were provided to CT through the recent TIGER grants. HRR plans to spend 2 million dollars per year on track maintenance. The recent passenger survey results were encouraging and continued study and cost analysis are now underway.
Common issues for all manufacturers is the high cost of living in NW CT and the state, lack of affordable housing, high energy costs, commuting distance and limited public transportation for employees, a small available trained workforce and worker training for existing employees. It was pointed out that NW CT Community College provides extensive training in lean manufacturing and programs such as the Robotics Team at Housatonic High School can help to connect students to future careers in the manufacturing sector. Energy costs can be dramatically reduced through conservation efforts as evidenced at BD. Collaboration with regional clean energy producers such as Fuel Cell Energy is encouraged through grant opportunities provided by the CT Clean Energy Fund. An upgraded rail system and expansion to passenger service could provide another transportation solution for employees in the region.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:05 am.
Minutes - Board of Directors
Friday, July 24, 2009
Fuel Cell Energy - Torrington, CT
NWCTEDC BOD: Doug Parker (NWCTEDC, Pres./Exec. Dir.); JoAnn Ryan (NWCT's Chamber, Pres. & CEO); Chris Vita (NWCT's Chamber, Dir. Of Programs); Rick Lynn (Director, LHCEO); Mark Waterhouse (Garnet Consulting); Ted Murphy (E.J. Murphy Realty); Allan Borghesi (Borghesi Engineering & Construction); Fran Delaney (West State Mechanical, Pres./Owner); Dwayne Snow (Alcoa Howmet); Bob Axelrod (CL&P); Don Stein (Town of Barkhamsted, 1st Selectman); Michael McGuffie (NE Project Support); David Dean (Litchfield County Commercial, Litchfield EDC Chair); Maura Martin (Thomaston 1st Selectman); Michael Menard (Dir. of UCONN Torrington); Bill Baxter (Torrington Development Corporation; Exec. Dir.); Tim Abbott (HVA, Litchfield Hills Greenprint); Celeste Echlin (Savings Bank of Danbury); Leo Paul, Jr. (Litchfield First Selectman); Carolle Jenkins (NWCTEDC BOD); John Maxwell (J&J Precision, Pres.); Vicky Patrick (Petrovits, Patrick, Smith & Co., Partner/CPA; Member of Torrington Development Corp)
Guests/Speakers: Vic Muschell (Muschell & Simoncelli, Attorney/Partner; Torrington Development Corp., Pres.); Peter Kent (Bicron Electronics, Pres.); Bill Riska (Law Office of William O. Riska, Owner/Atty. & GRC Chair for NW CT's Chamber); Gary LeBeau (State Sen. for E. Hartford, Commerce Co-Chair); Michelle Cook (State Rep. for Torrington); Chris Swan (CL&P); Kenny Curran (Chris Murphy's Office); Marty Connor (Torrington City Planner); Andy Skok (Fuel Cell Energy); Jody Doyon (Teacher); Arthur Bogen (Down to Earth Brownfields Consulting); Stephan Welford (HR, DOPT); Michael Keilty (UConn College of Agriculture); Sam Walker; Frank Buonocore (Founders Insurance); Jean Cronauer (NW Conservation Dist., Exec. Dir.); Tony Mitchell (NW Conservation District); Stephen Minkler (NCCC); Chuck Burnham & Bob Gates (First Light Power); Wayne Murray (O&G); Dave Hurwitt (Optiwind); Patty Mastins (NRWIB)
State legislators - opening remarks
Gary LeBeau (CT State Senate, Co-Chair of Commerce Committee) gave a brief overview of the efforts at the state level to promote clean energy through the CT Clean Energy Fund.
Fuel Cell Energy - Andy Skok
- Self-contained units; produce power and can heat water as byproduct.
- Fuel Cells are rated to last 20 yrs but probably last longer w/ proper maintenance; the “battery”/internal collection units must be replaced every 5 yrs, but they're improving these parts to last 7 yrs.
Solar - 2001 Company - Tom Kelly
- These are rolled out, thin solar cells that can be applied to a bldg's w/o any additional structure
- High Investment Return
- “Flexible Solar Collectors” can't be damaged like glass collectors, can be put on metal or other types of roofs; produced outside of Detroit; these even work under snow because they have a higher radiation capturing capacity. The durability makes this better than glass units. They presently don't produce as much power per square inch as a glass unit, but the technology is more convenient and flexible. It will improve in time and allow installation on more surfaces.
- Net metering laws-recollection/purchase of energy for unused power to the electric co.; helps grid when most efficient, in summer when the sun is shining and when is energy use is @ its highest.
- Solar power has no economic viability w/o CT Clean Energy Fund & federal incentives, but will be better in the future as technology improves and usage increases
Hydroelectric - First Light Power - Bob Gates & Chuck Burnham
- Bob worked in hydroelectric business w/ NE Utilities; now with First Light Power due to 1999 deregulation; Gostafrac Suez North America is present owner (the 2nd largest utilities company in the world)
- Bulls Bridge on Rte. 7 (105 yrs old); facilities are getting old; the newest is 50 yrs old in Shepaug; creating new plants and maintaining is expensive; need financial support for upgrades and development
- Largest source of renewable energy in CT
- Benefits: hydroelectric takes up a lot of land which=tax; creates lakes which draws homes and recreational usage. This further helps tax revenues.
- Comparison costs Nuclear=$5500/Kw installed; Fuel Cell=$4020/Kw Installed; Upgrades to Hydroelectric=$2200/Kw installed; Wind=$2200/Kw installed
Wind - Optiwind - David Hurwitt
- CT is mainly class 1 & 2 wind (Wind classified by grades from 0-7; 0=no wind; 7=highest wind production); CT does have very limited class 3&4 wind areas.
- CT has no wind turbines, but Optiwind is building one now on Klug Hill Rd/Farm, Torrington. - Surrounding states have had multiple units for some time now. So we're behind bordering states in wind production.
- Highest cost of setting up a wind turbine is the installation cost. Economies of scale is essential for putting in traditional turbines. Optiwind created a turbine system that has cheaper installation design and easier blades to transport and install. They've also reduced the sound production due to shrouded blades. Their design mitigates bird issues.
- Employment is increasing. Optiwind has grown from 3 employees in 2007 to 20 in 2009, and they're planning to hire more.
O&G Industries - Wayne Murray
Transitioning to a cleaner energy future - the role of traditional sources and emissions reduction technology
- Director of Operations for O&G's Power & Energy Division
- O&G is now mostly working with gas turbines. They have projects in Middletown CT, Braintree, MA, and at UMass Amherst.
- A lot of coal plants throughout U.S., but O&G isn't building any of these.
- The gas turbine systems are relatively clean compared to coal
- More wood burning plants, bio mass, geothermal out in western states
- O&G builds what the companies that hire them want; they don't dictate the technology used.
NE Utilities (CL&P) - Chris Swan, Director of Municipal Relations & Siting
- Distribution and delivery: CL&P no longer generates, but merely focuses on distribution and infrastructure for energy delivery; natural gas is highest power source (36%); Goal is to get 20% of power for renewable sources by 2020. Right now, we have 10% production from renewable sources.
- Recent infrastructure upgrades: a lot of projects throughout the state that have been completed. NU/CL&P has spent billions of dollars to improve the distribution system over the past 10 years. Transmission line updates are necessary to hold down energy costs by reducing congestion charges by federal government and mitigates energy loss caused by inefficiency of antiquated lines.
- Integrating alternate energy sources into the grid: They've created cooperative programs through the interstate reliability project w/ MA & RI (4 projects). This will help us reach the 20% goal by 2020. They're looking to work with Canada (Hydro Quebec), NE Utilities, and a Boston based energy company. State of CT has a policy conundrum due to funding issues facing conservation funds, the CT Clean Energy Fund and energy efficiency investments. Federal dollars have been dedicated to encourage installation of renewable or more efficient energy production sources
Closing remarks - Kenny Curran
- Chris Murphy is on the Energy and Commerce Committee; please contact his office as a resource.
- JoAnn-it's positive that these companies are creating employment opportunities and she spoke of stimulus money to encourage hiring. She asked companies to speak to her, and she let them know the Chamber will contact them soon with more details about participating in this program.
Falls Village Hydroelectric Power Plant - First Light Power
Shepaug River Hydroelectric Power Plant - First Light Power
Thomas A. Watson Generating Station in Braintree, MA - Built by O&G Industries
U Mass Amherst, Combined Heat and Power Plant - Built by O&G Industries
Board of Directors
January 23, 2009
NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: Allan Borghesi, Doug Parker, JoAnn Ryan, Bob Axelrod, Lou Helt, David Dean, Rick Lynn, Dan McGuinness, Leo Paul, Rose Ponte, Pat Power, Tim Abbott, Bill Baxter, Frank Chiaramonte, Chuck Conn, Jeff Cugno, Fran Delaney, Celeste Echlin, Carolle Jenkins, John Kiker, Maura Martin, Michael McGuffie, Michael Menard, John Morici, Guy Rovezzi, Dwain Snow, Don Stein, Vance Taylor, Tim Wallace, Amy Wynn, Ryan Bingham, Cindy Donaldson, Chris Vita, Mark Waterhouse, Kevin Witkos, John McKenna, Anthea Disney and Vic Muschell
Railroad Infrastructure Projects
- Doug recommended regional support for regional railroad infrastructure projects. With renewed state and national efforts to improve the nation's infrastructure, he advised that we should support efforts by the two regional railroads to improve their track structure.
- There are two rail systems in Litchfield County:
- Housatonic Railroad - New Milford to Canaan, parallel to Route 7 and Housatonic River
- Railroad Museum of New England (former branch of Naugatuck Railroad) - Waterbury to Torrington, parallel to Route 8 and Naugatuck River
- Colin Pease, Vice President of the Housatonic Railroad, submitted a detailed request to the CT State Department of Transportation for an extensive upgrade of the rail system from New Milford to the CT border in Canaan. He requested NWCTEDC support and endorsement for this regional infrastructure project.
- Doug motioned to support the efforts of both railroads to upgrade the track structure for the economic benefit of the entire region. Fran Delaney seconded the motion. It was approved unanimously.
- Doug will write a letter of endorsement and support for these regional infrastructure projects.
Torrington Development Corporation - Revitalization Plan
- Bill Baxter and Vic Muschell presented the newest plans for the redevelopment of downtown Torrington. They provided a brief history of the efforts to revitalize the downtown area leading to the current plan.
- An EIE (Environmental Impact Evaluation) has been completed by the State of CT and it was determined that this revitalization would be beneficial for CT and the region.
- A MDP (Municipal Development Plan) is being developed with greater detail. This will be submitted to the state for approval.
- Bill summarized previous regional discussions about the importance of revitalization to the city centers of Torrington and Winsted. "If they don't thrive, the rest of the region suffers."
- Next steps: Public information sessions about the plans will be conducted. City council will need to approve and seek public approval before it becomes an ordinance of the City of Torrington.
- Components of the Plan:
- Make downtown more pedestrian friendly
- Direct traffic through the center more efficiently
- Redevelop the Franklin Street area to complement downtown revitalization
- Redesign the Torrington Plaza to integrate it with the downtown area.
- Create a greenway along the river to connect the areas
- Attract residents to live in the downtown area in condos or apartments
- Attract retail to match consumer demand
- Use Warner Theatre and Nutmeg Ballet as anchors to attract the arts
- Allow multi-use zoning for both commercial and residential use
- Bob Axelrod asked about costs and money sources.
- Bill said all of this hasn't been nailed down, but we need to start planning now.
- Rose said that there are a lot of sources for funds.
- Bob wants to support, but can't without cost details.
- Rose said that we need to do the homework to get the numbers first, before we can seek public or private financing.
- Vic said they aren't asking for money now, just seeking local and regional support for the project to keep it moving forward.
- Mark Waterhouse said project needs psychological commitment to proceed with financial plan.
- Bill and Vic welcome any additional comments or suggestions about the plan
- Allen Borghesi made a motion for NWCTEDC to support the efforts of the Torrington Development Corporation. JoAnn seconded the motion. It was approved unanimously.
NW CT Economic Development Corporation