Saturday, May 11, 2013

The VTA and The Wilted Bloom





The Santa Clara Valley Transport Authority (VTA) told Bloom Energy to get lost.   Late last year Anna Eshoo a politician on the left got ahead of herself  by leaning over backwards to gift $750,000 of tax payer money to the VTA to install  two Bloom boxes. 

Suddenly after folks started investigating the “deal” there was a change of heart for the Board of the VTA to further investigate the project.

That investigation is now done and the deal is off.

Good to see the VTA has realized the Bloom is off the rose.  We all know how I feel about the expensive, inefficient, and dirty Bloom Box based on the data we found in Delaware.   The onion is further peeled back via the data in the VTA pdf referenced above.

The 400 kilowatt system for the VTA was to cost $5.8 million or approximately $14,500 per kilowatt.  An automobile with a 150 kw engine costs $20,000.  Wow!!!   This is a record for a power plant.  Now the zinger the maintenance contract to keep the two boxes in repair was to cost $425,000 a year.  If we assume that the two boxes generate full power for 8,000 hours a year, the amount of power generated is 3.2 million kwh per year.  Divide the $425,000 maintenance cost by 3.2 million kwh and we get 13.3 cents per kwh as the cost for maintenance  alone.  Add to this the cost of natural gas for the inefficient boxes and the payback for the massive investment and power from the Bloom Boxes is well over 30 cents a kwh.

I say Bravo to the team in DC and Sacramento that handed out massive tax credits to the owners of Bloom boxes.  Bravo Mr. Jared Huffman now my Congressman who had a hand as an Assemblyman in the California legislation promoting Bloom.  Bravo Ms. Eshoo you almost gave the $750,000 away without even doing the math. 

The real Bravo goes to Mr. Michael T. Burns the general manager of the VTA who put an end to the sham project in his memo to the board of the VTA. (see the link above).  

Now we have Delaware data about how dirty the Bloom Box is and we have VTA (California) data how expensive the Bloom box is, I wonder how quickly my Congressman Mr. Huffman will agree to meet up with me so he can get some basic lessons on thermo and economics and not continue to sponsor gangrene legislation.  I think Huffman will hide as he and Eshoo are trying to still shore up support for the Administration in the House that is getting very close to landing some big fish in the Fisker (Bloom’s sister company) debacle.

The VTA memo also shines the light on a company called Alternative Energy Development Group (AEDG) out of Radnor Pennsylvania.   AEDG is partnered with Bloom as well as some other connected solar companies such as SunPower.


I will try find out more about AEDG who were unable to bring funding to the Bloom VTA project “due to insufficient financial return”.   My take on the insufficiency of financial return is that the Bloom Boxes are bloody expensive to build and to operate.

Of course if Apple, E Bay,  AT&T, Walmart, Target, Staples, Adobe, Coca Cola, BofA, Fedex, Life Technologies, Cypress Semiconductors, and others want to greenwash by deploying Bloom Boxes their CEO's should read this blog and maybe they will have second thoughts about false claims their companies are making about lowering carbon emissions.  Sadly we are paying over half of the investment cost of these unsightly Bloom Boxes.

10 comments:

  1. Good find, I've had multiple dealings with their sales folks and never quite understood why some of the big name firms would sign -- this document actually provides a valuable insight

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    1. Kevinthere is so much greenwashing and the likes of AT&T are no greener than Bloom. That the Feds and state give money for this junk is the sad news.

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  2. You have to be careful when looking at this review. Cogen power has a tax credit which comes from the taxpayers and the credit is for using waste heat by Cogen itself. Just consider that natural gas is cheaper to the consumer than electricity. VTA was wise to save money but only when you realize that the savings is hidden in the form of a tax credit. VTA is not a tax payer so they do benefit at the tax payers expense. To produce the same amount of output power Cogen uses nearly double the fuel.

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  3. You have to be careful when looking at this review. Cogen power has a tax credit which comes from the taxpayers and the credit is for using waste heat by Cogen itself. Just consider that natural gas is cheaper to the consumer than electricity. VTA was wise to save money but only when you realize that the savings is hidden in the form of a tax credit. VTA is not a tax payer so they do benefit at the tax payers expense. To produce the same amount of output power Cogen uses nearly double the fuel.

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