By Barry Sharpe and Tyrone Jones
The stretch of Route 896 near South College Avenue in Newark, Delaware, was an open, empty lot in 2012 There were memories of the auto plant that had once been there, but nothing more. Bloom Energy’s idea to convert the site to do clean energy manufacturing seemed like a bold opportunity. Ten years later, it is an exciting reality, with the company manufacturing its clean energy platform for customers across the United States and overseas. “A lot of people say it’s not possible to address climate change and create jobs,” said Delaware Sen. Tom Carper when he inaugurated yet another expansion at the facility, “but this company is living proof that it’s possible to do both.”
This year Bloom celebrates the 10th anniversary of its Newark Manufacturing and Assembly Center. We’ve grown from one employee in 2012 to more than 750 at the start of 2023. Our employees have successfully delivered our 15,000th Energy Server™, the solid oxide fuel cell equipment that has been the centerpiece of our commitment to making clean, reliable electricity affordable to all.
We’ll highlight our decade of achievement with events at our plant and in the community throughout 2023, talking about the work being done in Delaware and the colleagues who make it happen.
We’ll also explain our economic impact on the state. We invested $40.5 million to build a plant devoted to growing the world’s clean energy economy, launching our first assembly line in October 2013. Since then, we’ve made additional improvements to the site and now run two shifts to make fuel cells and electrolyzers.
Bloom’s ongoing operations have created a total economic impact of $97 million to the Delaware economy, supporting employment and nearly $4 million in annual tax revenue. From October 2021 through September 2022, our employee compensation topped $46.4 million.
The percentage of our workers who are state residents – 81% – is higher than the state average. These are well-paying jobs, with strong potential for career growth. Indeed, several of our first employees now lead aspects of our Delaware production. We invest $6,000 per worker in new employee training, and $2,500 per worker annually in ongoing professional development.
Companies in the U.S. and around the world have taken note of what we build in Delaware.
Our Energy Server, which we now assemble as a ready-to-install unit, is powering data centers, hospitals, universities, major retailers, and other industries. In 2022, a Packaged Energy Server built in Delaware was sent to Italy, where it is helping to power Ferrari’s assembly plant. We’ve even installed Delaware-built fuel cells on a cruise ship, so that it can run on lower-carbon electricity when it is in port. The builders and operators of vessels that carry people and cargo are taking notice.
For all our expansion, however, Bloom has remained deeply rooted in the state and local community. We have developed close relationships with the University of Delaware, which is just across the street, as well as Delaware State University and Delaware Technical Community College, supporting their educational efforts and providing employment opportunities. One of our senior managers sits on the board of directors of the Delaware Foundation on Science and Math Education. Since 2021 alone, Bloom has contributed more than $390,000 to economic development efforts, supporting veterans and bringing energy to underserved communities. Last November, we held our first Stars and Strides 5K run and walk in Newark, raising funds for the Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans and the Delaware National Guard Youth Foundation.
Bloom Energy will continue to support Delaware’s economy and provide career growth for its workers. This year, they will send the fuel cells and electrolyzers they make for us to Spain, Portugal and beyond. We hope you will celebrate their achievements with us.
Barry Sharpe is Bloom’s vice president of operations in Newark. Tyrone Jones Is Bloom’s senior manager of policy and public affairs there.