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Bloom Energy's New High-Tech Manufacturing Hub in Delaware Could Employ Up to 1,500 Workers

Area Development Online News Desk (06/13/2011)
Bloom Energy announces plans to build a new high-tech manufacturing hub in Delaware, subject to a final agreement with Delmarva Power, as well as the passage of enabling legislation and regulatory approval. The facility would be located at an old Chrysler site now transformed into the University of Delaware's Science and Technology Campus.

The new investment could create up to 1,500 high-tech jobs between the company and its suppliers at the site of the former Chrysler factory in Newark to manufacture Bloom Energy Servers, which are already helping to power companies like Google, FedEx, Coca-Cola and WalMart.

These innovative servers are based on technology used by NASA for its reliability, safety and efficiency. They convert natural gas, bio gas or liquid bio fuels such as ethanol to electricity through an electro-chemical reaction, rather than through combustion. Bloom also plans to install 30 megawatts of Bloom Energy servers in Delaware to provide locally manufactured power to Delaware businesses and residents alike.

Specifically, the new facility will employ 900 people with a potential additional 600 jobs through co-located suppliers, said state officials. An estimated 350 construction jobs also could be created this year, with production beginning mid-2012.

"After 10 years of growth in our home state of California, we are ready for expansion to other markets," said Bill Kurtz, chief commercial officer and chief financial officer for Bloom Energy. "Delaware complements our California roots..and strategically positions us to serve customers on the East Coast, and expand our business." He reiterated that his company's commitment to building the factory and installing the Bloom Energy Servers is contingent upon approvals from Delmarva Power and Light, the Delaware Legislature and Public Service Commission.

Delaware was chosen as the "clear Number One choice" for the factory site, explained Kurtz, due to the its "visionary political leadership and pro- business policies, an innovative state utility, a world-class university, skilled talent pool, great infrastructure, and proximity to the Northeast market..This is a powerful combination bringing 21st century innovation and jobs to Delaware."

Up to 50 acres from the old Chrysler site would be dedicated to the new Bloom facility and its supply chain. The Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) is recommending the University receive a $7 million grant to create infrastructure improvements throughout the entire site. Other incentives under consideration include a conditional grant from the state's strategic fund of $11.25 million for the 900 direct jobs the manufacturing hub would employ, and a conditional incentive of $6,250 for each job (up to 600) co-located to the site by suppliers.

In addition, DEDO has offered 3 percent of Bloom's total capital expenditures up to the first $50 million of Bloom's CAPEX. This conditional grant provides the state the authority to recapture its investment if job targets are not met or if Bloom does not maintain the jobs at its Delaware facility for up to seven years, with recovery equal to the percentage of the employment target unmet.

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