Bloom Energy takes Santa Clara to task over electric monopoly with amended lawsuit

After filing its second lawsuit against the City of Santa Clara on Jun. 29 over the city’s restrictions on its fuel cell boxes, Bloom Energy filed an amended suit on Oct. 6 with additional background information.

Bloom’s original suit against the City of Santa Clara was in response to a resolution which required the use of renewable fuels for self-generating power sources. Because Bloom’s fuel cells use natural gas, the resolution prohibited its ability to connect to electrical grids through the city’s electrical utility, Silicon Valley Power. Following a ruling in favor of Bloom stating that the city violated state law, the city reclassified Bloom’s fuel cell boxes as power plants, which require permits issued at the city’s discretion.

Bloom then filed the initial second lawsuit on Jun. 29 after the city’s refusal to process its permit applications.

The company this week announced it has amended its second lawsuit based on additional information, including data from the California Energy Commission showing that Santa Clara is home to 79 percent of the state’s large diesel generators operating or in permitting/development. It also notes that nearly the same share of the city’s capacity was approved after May 2018, when it halted permit issuance for Bloom Energy servers. The amended lawsuit further includes data from a recent study conducted by public policy consulting group M.Cubed showing that pollution from diesel generators in the Bay Area and Southern California exclusively is responsible for roughly $136 million in annual health costs, and that the vast majority of Californians – 75 percent – support non-harmful alternative energy solutions like Bloom’s non-combustion fuel cells, according to a new statewide survey by FM3 Research.

“The City’s conduct over the past two years has been arbitrary and capricious, with no basis in the law or in fact,” the company stated in a news release. “Bloom Energy is now taking the prudent and necessary steps to amend our original complaint to address the City’s pattern and practice of protectionist and retaliatory actions to prohibit Bloom Energy Servers and protect its own electric monopoly.​”

“Bloom Energy Servers emit virtually no air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides or sulfur dioxide, and uses no water during operation,” the company’s statement continued. “The City is taking away a right to choose solely to protect the financial interests of its municipal electric utility,” thereby “[encouraging] and [proliferating] the use of diesel generators that emit high levels of CO2 and harmful particulate matter and ensures reliance on their water-intensive and emissions emitting power plants.”​

Cupertino Today will continue to provide updates as the case develops.