Judge eyes challenge to Delaware Bloom Energy deal
Attorneys for Gov. Jack Markell asked a federal judge on Wednesday to dismiss a lawsuit challenging a deal to draw California-based fuel cell manufacturer Bloom Energy to Delaware with millions in state taxpayer dollars and higher rates on Delmarva Power customers.
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#1 Nov 17, 2012
Buried deep in the permit application, in Table 1 on page 161 of a 163-page application, was the number 884. On that page, under penalty of perjury, Bloom officially told the world that its energy servers emit 884 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour.
The number 884 reveals that the Bloom boxes are only 45.2% efficient, compared to the full heating value of natural gas. That’s good, but it still means 54.8% of the natural gas energy is “wasted” or not turned into electricity.
It’s certainly not the “over 60% in efficiency” figure that a Bloom marketing director recently presented to a NASDAQ reporter. It’s not the high efficiency figure that another Bloom executive conveyed to CBS News' Leslie Stahl when she introduced her 60 Minutes audience to the technology in February 2010. It is not the high efficiency level that Bloom told the IRS and California Franchise Tax Board about, when it sought large tax credits for customers that install Bloom Boxes.
Bloom’s permit application also claims Delaware’s air will be much cleaner as a result of its installation of Bloom boxes, with 235 of its ES-5700 Servers generating 47 megawatts of affordable electricity. However, those 235 Bloom boxes cost the same as one 350-MW combined cycle natural gas generator, which would be 53.3% efficient, using the same natural gas fuel.
That means the same taxpayer/ratepayer investment that Bloom wants for its new installation could provide Delaware eight times more clean electricity, if the same money were spent on a combined cycle gas generator.
Also buried on page 161 of the permit application is a Table 2 notation that says these 235 “clean” servers would emit 22.56 pounds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) per day. But Delaware, like other states, regulates VOC emissions at far lower levels (Maryland, for instance, regulates boat repair shops that emit more than 15 pounds per day). Moreover, if the same amount of power had been generated by combined cycle gas turbines, only 0.249 pounds of VOCs would be emitted daily. That’s 90 times less pollution!
To top it off, because of the Bloom servers’ low efficiency and high capital cost, Delaware citizens will pay Bloom over $200 per megawatt hour of power delivered to their electricity transmission grid. But in January 2012, the U.S. Energy Information Agency said the projected “levelized” cost of electricity over the next 30 years from advanced gas-fired combined cycle power stations is $65.50 per MWH.
In other words, Bloom plans to charge Delaware citizens three times the $65.50 rate, for dirtier power.
How did Bloom Energy pull off this boondoggle? Well…
One Bloom director, John Doerr, had the sitting President of the United States over for dinner, and has former Vice President Gore as a business partner. Another director, General Powell was formerly Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The current Vice President hails from Delaware. They are all good friends of Delaware’s “green” Governor and Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).
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