Opponents of the Bloom Energy project in Newark announced the date of a hearing in U.S. District Court in Wilmington will be held on Wednesday.
According to the Caesar Rodney Institute, the suit will be heard at at 2 p.m. in Wilmington, before Judge Christopher J. Burke.
The plaintiffs are John Nichols and Fuel Cell Energy of Connecticut. Nichols claims his rights are being violated as a result of a government-backed deal to provide over $600 million in taxpayer stimulus, according to the institute, which labels itself as a non-partisan public policy group.
Fuel Cell Energy believes it was unable to sell products in Delaware because Bloom Energy had already been chosen to take the deal offered by the government. Critics have claimed that opponents shopped for a company that would oppose the deal and that Fuel Cell Energy could have made its own proposal. The plaintiffs are being represented by Cause of Action, a Washington, D.C. area group.
Excavation work is already under way at the site of the planned Bloom factory in Newark that was part of the deal with the state In return for building the plant in Delaware, the state negotiated a deal that installs fuel cells, with the energy feed into the electrical grid. In return, Delmarva customers pay a few dollars a year extra in their utility bills. A portion of the fuel cell project is in operation.
The institute and Nichols have fiercely opposed the deal, claiming the added cost to rate-payers stifles economic development. The Dover-based institute has also been a critic of solar and wind power projects.