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January 10, 2014

Fuel cell exec pitches lawmakers on energy technology

A fuel cell company that counts Apple, Staples, Verizon and other big companies among its energy clients appealed to Massachusetts lawmakers Wednesday for help deploying what they called “the next generation of energy technology.”

Charles Fox, representing Bloom Energy Corp. of Sunnyvale, Calif., told members of the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee that its energy servers can target locations on the grid where energy is needed and represent a new form of infrastructure that’s more reliable and has lower environmental impacts than existing energy generation modes.

The company does not have operations in Massachusetts, Fox said, but has sites running in 100 locations, including Connecticut, New York, Delaware, North Carolina and California.

Fox appealed to lawmakers to make non-combustible fuel cell technology eligible under a program approved in 2010 that calls on utilities to enter into long-term contracts for “newly developed, small emerging or diverse renewable energy distributed generation facilities.”

In his testimony, Fox said the Department of Energy Resources had determined that Bloom’s energy generation technology was not eligible under the program. Fox appealed to lawmakers for quick action to enable time for solicitations to be completed before contracts are awarded under the state program.

In a letter to the DOER in May, Fox wrote that “Massachusetts simply has no programs in which natural gas powered fuel cells are eligible to compete.”
He told lawmakers that Bloom’s energy servers run quietly with no visible emissions.

“You get more generation out of a much smaller footprint,” he said.

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