The following article, written by Frank DiCristina, site manager for Wallingford manufacturer allnex, was first published in the Hartford Business Journal on October 16.
If you picked up a magazine, reached into your kitchen cabinet, jumped in your car for a ride, or had soda or water from a beverage can today, you likely used a product manufactured right here in Connecticut.
At allnex, our Wallingford plant has been producing coating resins used in a range of consumer products for more than 75 years.
As a manufacturer, we are constantly innovating in order to stay competitive, which means developing a range of resins for use as wood coatings in kitchen cabinets, automotive coatings, magazine cover coatings, and beverage can interior and exterior coatings.
We're proud of our long history in Connecticut and of the rewarding careers we provide for our 120 employees.
Another key to staying competitive as a manufacturer here in Connecticut has been reducing our emissions while also addressing our state's high cost of commercial energy. That's why in 2001 we transitioned our Wallingford plant from oil to natural gas.
This switch has significantly reduced our environmental footprint, reduced operational costs, and provided us with a more efficient and reliable energy source.
Put simply, natural gas has been critical to our success while also allowing us to be a more environmentally sustainable business.
Connecticut manufacturers pay among the highest commercial energy costs in the nation.
While we have unquestionably benefited from our transition to natural gas, the fact remains that Connecticut manufacturers pay among the highest commercial energy costs in the nation.
Allnex operates multiple manufacturing centers across the country, and our Wallingford plant's energy costs are far higher than those of our facilities in other states.
Among the main reasons Connecticut manufacturers like allnex pay such high energy costs is a lack of pipeline capacity to deliver more natural gas to our state.
While there is an abundance of inexpensive natural gas being produced in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, without new interstate pipeline capacity to bring this resource to the New England market, we will likely continue to pay extremely high costs.
This will put us at a disadvantage as we compete with facilities in other states, and with competitors located in less expensive energy markets.
As one of the largest commercial users of natural gas in the state, addressing issues related to high costs and the lack of pipeline capacity is critical to our future success.
Fortunately, Connecticut's first-ever Comprehensive Energy Strategy, adopted in 2013, prioritized the need for increased capacity, and several pipeline expansion projects have extended natural gas availability to more than 30,000 home users and thousands of businesses across the state.
As the Department of Energy and Environment Protection updates the Comprehensive Energy Strategy, allnex would like to urge a continued focus on policies that will help expand natural gas supply to address our state's high energy costs and keep Connecticut's manufacturers competitive.