Yesterday, the Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board voted to uphold Secretary O’Mara’s decision to grant Bloom Energy the right to build their Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, called Bloom Boxes, on nine acres of land near the coastal zone. Bloom Energy says their boxes will be good for the environment, will lower energy costs, and will create jobs in the state. The Board decided this was good enough for them, and denied John Nichols standing, despite the fact that five hours earlier they voted 4-3 with 1 abstention to allow him standing to make his case.
We are disappointed, but not surprised, by the decision made by the Board. More than half of voting board members were appointees of the governor’s administration, whose appointees in DNREC are behind the decision to give Bloom Energy over $550 million in taxpayer subsidies to build their technology on land occupied by wildlife uncommon to the state of Delaware. Additionally, the decision means Delmarva Power customers will be on hook for over $620 million over the next 21 years to help subsidize the Bloom Boxes, as part of a deal Delmarva Power reached with the state and Bloom Energy.
We feel this is the incorrect decision. During testimony, despite repeated objections from the other side and from DNREC, we were able to show the public how secretive Bloom Energy was on their technology. Admitting they never shared with the public or DNREC what is actually in their boxes, we exposed their box’s use of rare earth metals from China that are part of the box’s manufacturing, and the byproduct is hydrogen sulfide- a poisonous gas. Forcing Delaware taxpayers, and Delmarva Power customers in particular to pay more than triple for less clean air and less efficient energy sources is not how Delaware needs to go about fixing our energy problem. Furthermore, the lack of transparency between the government and Bloom Energy Corporation was appalling to those of us who believe in an open government, and in free-market principles, where everyone has the right to do business in the state, not just the chosen ones.
The votes from the board members:
Robert Wheatly- voted against giving Mr. Nichols standing after he had already been granted it.
Albert Holmes- voted against giving Mr. Nichols standing
John Burton, SR- voted against giving Mr. Nichols standing
Peter Jamison-voted against giving Mr. Nichols standing
Richard Legatski- voted against giving Mr. Nichols standing
Stanley Tocker- abstained from voting
Robert Bewick-abstained from voting
Dr. Pallatheri Subramanian PHD- voted against giving Mr. Nichols standing
Caesar Rodney Institute