Fuel cell power will reduce GHG emissions, air pollution and electric costs, and increase reliability
SAN JOSE, Calif., July 17, 2020 – Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today announced it has begun powering two of its largest Los Angeles-area facilities with Bloom Energy (NYSE: BE) solid oxide fuel cells. The switch to fuel cells will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, air pollutants and the cost of power, as well as provide reliable electricity independent of the power grid. Photos of the fuel cells at one of the SoCalGas facilities are located here.
To produce electricity, Bloom Energy’s fuel cells could use natural gas, renewable natural gas, or hydrogen. The fuel cells at SoCalGas intake natural gas and oxygen, and through an electrochemical reaction, produce electricity without any combustion. Bloom Energy Servers can operate at 60% efficiency and are considered one of the most efficient power solutions currently available. More information on how fuel cells work may be found here.
“Using Bloom Energy’s fuel cells for our facilities is yet another way that SoCalGas is demonstrating our commitment to be the cleanest gas utility in North America,” said Maryam Brown, president of SoCalGas. “These onsite generation systems will reduce climate emissions, air pollution, and provide uninterrupted clean power that won’t be affected by grid power outages. As an added benefit, we’ll save money on our electric bills.”
“The SoCalGas pipeline system is integral to many Bloom Energy Servers installed in central and southern California, so we were eager to team up again to bring fuel cells to SoCalGas’ own facilities,” said Kris Kim, managing director of strategic development at Bloom Energy. “Fuel cells at utility-owned sites are a natural fit as we are both looking to the future of energy and prioritize qualities like fuel flexibility, emissions reductions, efficiency, and reliability.”
“I am delighted to see SoCalGas has chosen Pico Rivera to showcase this exciting new technology,” said Sen. Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera). “It is no longer up for debate; hydrogen will be a part of California’s clean energy future. I have fought for investments in both hydrogen infrastructure and clean transportation programs in the California Legislature and I will continue to do so. I am proud of SoCalGas for taking the initiative and bringing these investments to the 32nd Senate District and I look forward to continuing to work with them as we pursue our clean energy goals.”
In addition to providing cost savings and improving reliability of power, the fuel cells will lead to a reduction in carbon emissions by 683 metric tons per year compared to the current grid profile – which is like eliminating annual GHG emissions produced by the electricity use of 112 homes. Because no fuel is burned to produce the electricity, smog-forming pollutants and particulate matter are reduced by more than 99%. And, because they virtually eliminate all combustion-related pollutants, the California Air Resources Board has certified the Bloom Energy Servers as a Distributed Generation Technology that do not require a generation permit, a designation given only to the cleanest technologies in the state.
Adoption of distributed power generation solutions, also called distributed energy resources, is a growing trend in the U.S. These solutions can combine environmental benefits and the ability to provide uninterrupted power in the event of natural disasters or outages. While SoCalGas uses solar generation at 6 of its 113 facilities, the company selected the fuel cell solution for its Monterey Park and Pico Rivera facilities for their superior resiliency.
The Bloom Energy Servers at each of SoCalGas’ facilities total 950 kilowatts in size, replacing over 90% of the baseload power that would otherwise come from the grid. The Servers are configured as AlwaysON Microgrids. Microgrids are a distributed power supply that are always-on – operating alongside the main grid and independently during an outage. Bloom Energy has deployed its Servers at 600 sites globally, and more than 85 of those are microgrids, which have powered through over 1,500 outages.
The environmental benefits of switching to fuel cells at these facilities are part of SoCalGas’ vision to be the cleanest gas utility in North America, and support a 21st century energy system that provides clean, affordable, resilient and integrated energy. As part of its vision, the utility last year committed to replacing five percent of natural gas supplies to its core customers with renewable natural gas (RNG) by 2022 and 20% by 2030.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, SoCalGas® is the largest gas distribution utility in the United States. SoCalGas delivers affordable, reliable, clean and increasingly renewable gas service to 21.8 million customers across 24,000 square miles of Central and Southern California, where more than 90 percent of residents use natural gas for heating, hot water, cooking, drying clothes or other uses. Gas delivered through the company’s pipelines also plays a key role in providing electricity to Californians— about 45 percent of electric power generated in the state comes from gas-fired power plants.
SoCalGas’s vision is to be the cleanest gas utility in North America, delivering affordable and increasingly renewable energy to its customers. In support of that vision, SoCalGas is committed to replacing 20 percent of its traditional natural gas supply with renewable natural gas (RNG) by 2030. Renewable natural gas is made from waste created by dairy farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants. SoCalGas is also committed to investing in its gas delivery infrastructure while keeping bills affordable for our customers. From 2014 through 2018, the company invested nearly $6.5 billion to upgrade and modernize its pipeline system to enhance safety and reliability. SoCalGas is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), an energy services holding company based in San Diego. For more information visit socalgas.com/newsroom or connect with SoCalGas on Twitter (@SoCalGas), Instagram (@SoCalGas) and Facebook.
About Bloom Energy
Bloom Energy’s mission is to make clean, reliable energy affordable 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, cost-effective, and ideal for microgrid applications. Bloom’s customers include many Fortune 100 companies and leaders in manufacturing, data centers, healthcare, retail, higher education, utilities, and other industries. For more information, visit www.bloomenergy.com
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