Bloom Energy today announced the result of a defining legal victory before the Superior Court of California, which overturned a resolution by the City of Santa Clara that would ban future installations of Bloom Energy’s fuel cells.
The court found that Santa Clara violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which requires that an impact study be conducted so the public is aware of any issues to the environment or health of its citizens prior to implementing such a resolution. By failing to do this, the City of Santa Clara not only broke the law, but attempted to implement policy that could do more harm to the environment.
Bloom Energy produced evidence in the litigation that a ban of this nature would likely result in increased greenhouse gases, air pollutants, and reliance on dirty diesel generators – specifically, that Santa Clara’s aging combustion-based power plants are not as clean as Bloom’s distributed, always-on, non-combustion process of generating clean electricity. The court reaffirmed Bloom’s position in its ruling that fuel cell deployment decreases the City’s dependence on combustion-based power plants, and therefore very likely could reduce harmful emissions and improve air quality.
“Environmental policy should actually work to reduce harmful environmental impacts, serve the public good, and be carefully crafted in consultation with experts. But in this case, officials in the City of Santa Clara made the inaccurate claim that their policy was good for the environment and would contribute to reduced emissions – ignoring the views of environmental experts on the policy’s potential environmental harm and the needs of the community for clean, resilient power sources,” said Josh Richman, Bloom’s vice president of business development and policy. “This case should serve as a cautionary tale to policymakers who would seek to use the false pretense of sustainability to garner support for interests that have nothing to do with addressing the causes or consequences of climate change.”
Court documents revealed emails from city officials that shed light on the real motivations behind the City’s ban on Bloom’s technology – to stop Bloom Energy Servers from impacting its own revenue forecast of sales of electricity from its municipal utility.
Bloom Energy Servers are among the most effective ways to displace less efficient centralized power plants with more efficient distributed generation, reducing carbon emissions and other air pollutants. By using Bloom’s technology, companies and communities can improve air quality, decrease water consumption, decrease reliance on diesel generators, and reduce noise in residential areas. Moreover, Bloom’s AlwaysON Microgrid technology provides power 24/7, keeping schools open, hospitals running, data centers online, manufacturers operating, and grocery stores serving neighbors.
“CEQA was enacted to advance the state’s environmental leadership,” continued Richman. “In this case, facts were at best misunderstood by policymakers — and at worst, intentionally ignored to hide the true goal of the policy — all to the detriment of the environment and to the citizens and businesses in the City of Santa Clara.”
This ruling is a seminal moment as privately-owned utilities and publicly-owned utilities grapple with the twin challenges of our time: addressing the challenge of climate change through energy technologies that reduce harmful emissions and the need to increase the resiliency of our electric power supply with more resilient power that can address the challenge of the irreversible climate change that has already occurred. Bloom’s Energy Server addresses both issues. Thanks to its distributed, always-on, non-combustion process of generating clean electricity, Bloom is engaged on both fronts, working every day to reduce emissions, provide resiliency, and promote sustainable communities.
With the resolution now set aside, customers can purchase Bloom Energy Servers and retain power during grid outages.
About Bloom Energy
Bloom Energy’s mission is to make clean, reliable, and affordable energy for everyone in the world. The Company’s product, the Bloom Energy Server, delivers highly reliable and resilient, always-on electric power that is clean and sustainable. Bloom’s customers include twenty-five of the Fortune 100 companies and leaders in cloud services and data centers, healthcare, retail, financial services, utilities and many other industries. For more information, visit www.bloomenergy.com