Do Bloom Fuel Cells Qualify as Low-Emissions Distributed Generation?
Yes, according to the CPUC’s tortured math.
In a newly revised proposed decision, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) lowered the emissions threshold to be eligible for its Self-Generation Incentive Program subsidy to 334 kilograms of CO2 per megawatt-hour in 2016.
California’s SGIP is a generous subsidy ($83 million per year) intended to spur development of low-emissions distributed generation with upfront and performance-based incentives for eligible behind-the-meter generation technologies. These include wind, gas turbines, combined heat and power, advanced energy storage, biogas and fuel cells. But the CPUC has to decide what “low emissions” actually means now that the state has a 50 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2030.
The calculation could exclude fuel cells and small gas engines from participating — and regulatory folk from the solar, fuel-cell and natural-gas industries have weighed in with their own formulas in letters to the CPUC.
One of many vendors vying for the subsidy is fuel cell company Bloom Energy. According to Bloom’s data sheet, its first-year average emissions number is 333.4 kilograms of CO2 per megawatt-hour.
Bloom can achieve 333.4. The proposed threshold is 334.