Bloom Energy secrecy fuels ongoing criticism
Last week, Bloom Energy and Exelon announced an agreement to develop 40 megawatts of fuel cell capacity. The project will include an impressive 170 installations in California and the East Coast.
Exelon will own a majority stake in the projects, with customers paying for the power under a long-term deal.
You might remember Exelon as the company that is planning to complete the merger with Delmarva Power owner, Pepco Holdings.
The agreement is with Constellation Energy, part of the non-utility side of Exelon, the owner of the nation’s largest fleet of nuclear power plants and a growing number of utilities in the Mid-Atlantic and Illinois.
The deal appears to double the current number of about 140 fuel cell installations in the U.S., according to information on Bloom’s help wanted posts. Exelon had earlier signed a far more modest deal with Bloom.
Customers include Walmart, which already has about 40 Bloom installations and the city of Hartford, Conn. Hartford will build a “micro-grid” that allows key buildings to remain open in the event of an extended outage.
In terms of generating capacity, 40 megawatts is not a big deal. It amounts to about one-sixth of the capacity of the Calpine natural gas-fired power plant that is nearing completion in Dover.
Still, it’s good news for the Bloom assembly site in Newark. So far, the plant has been a disappointment on the job front with a workforce of slightly more than 200, at last report, well below projected 900 workers.