Bloom Energy is deploying more than 40 megawatts of fuel cell production in the Northeast through a series of agreements under a Community Distributed Generation (CDG) program.The initial portfolio of projects centers on the New York City metro area.
Bloom operates a plant at the University of Delaware Star Campus in Newark.
The current program gives incentives to developers to install clean power generation within the grid distribution network to alleviate stress on the electric grid, decrease harmful greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants, reduce costs, and enhance energy reliability, a release stated.
The New York area is prone to grid and outage issues, due in part to a high population per square mile and aging infrastructure.
CDG customers will receive utility bill credits for using power produced by the fuel cells that Bloom labels “energy servers.”
Customers – notably small businesses with smaller loads and residential customers – will now have greater choice and access to cost-effective and more resilient energy sources, according to the release.
Utilities benefit from increased grid resiliency and lower transmission and distribution infrastructure outlays, as the power generation system is located within the distribution infrastructure, the release stated.
Bloom’s Energy Servers are expected to reduce carbon emissions to a figure equivalent to taking more than 11,000 cars off the road for one year.
Bloom previously stated that its fuel cells are becoming more competitive when it comes to the cost of producing electricity. The California company has long cited the ability of the always-on fuel cells to provide back-up power during emergencies or periods when big users are asked to fire up diesel generators that in some cases do not have the new emissions controls.
“Community distributed generation can be a national model to provide small businesses and residential customers greater access and choice for clean and reliable power generation sources,” said Ivor Castelino, managing director, business development, Bloom Energy. “These types of projects allow Bloom to provide clean power in a small footprint with enhanced resiliency to customers who, otherwise, have not had a choice for their energy needs. Bloom’s compact, easily deployed energy solutions are ideally suited to highly populated areas, where reducing greenhouse gas and air pollution, while enhancing reliability of the local electric grid, are of paramount importance.”
Bloom has signed agreements for CDG projects totaling more than 40 megawatts in various stages of development, with 7.5 megawatts already deployed on Staten Island, New York. Bloom Energy’s development partners and investors in these projects include Captona, Daroga Power, NineDot Energy, and South Jersey Industries, among other partners.
“Bloom Energy provides Captona the ideal growth technology and long-term reliability for our sustainable investing goals in clean and renewable projects,” said Izzet Bensusan, founder and managing partner, Captona. “As a current owner and operator of multiple projects, we foresee additional expansion in our investments with Bloom and their upcoming solutions, such as bringing hydrogen to our portfolio mix.”
Bloom operates two arrays of fuel cells in northern Delaware under a state-approved long-term contract. Although powered by natural gas, the fuel cells count toward’s the state’s alternative energy portfolio that calls for 40 percent of electricity to come from renewable sources by 3035.
The agreement has long been under fire because rate payers pay more than they would if renewable energy was purchased on the open market.
To date, efforts by Bloom critics to void the agreement have failed.