Santa Clara Pushes Higher Clean Energy Goals, Bloom Energy Not Happy Campers

By Robert Haugh

The City of Santa Clara wants to generate electricity from 100 percent carbon-free sources by the year 2045.  

So the City Council decided on May 7, 2019, that its electric utility, Silicon Valley Power (SVP), will require any interconnecting self-generation technology, like Bloom Energy’s Servers, to use fuel sources, like solar, wind and biogas, to produce electricity.

At the Council meeting, dozens of people spoke in favor of  Bloom Energy and said that SVP was being unfair.

According to a City press release:

“Bloom fuel cells use natural gas, a non-renewable energy source that continuously emit GHG when they generate power. As a result, their increased usage would run contrary to the clean energy goals set by the City and State.”

So the council voted unanimously, despite the company’s protest.

Interestingly, some blogs and Jody Meacham in the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported that Santa Clara has “banned” Bloom Energy’s technology.  

Is that true? Not according to City staff. Here’s what they say in a press release:

“That is not accurate and, unfortunately, is promoting confusion on the actual action that the City took. Bloom Energy could continue to install their fuels cell in Santa Clara if they choose to use renewable fuels, serve as backup generation, or disconnect from the City utility. Bloom has previously told the City it does not prefer these alternatives as it will affect their profit margin.”


The press release also states:

“As a Public Electric Utility, Santa Clara’s Silicon Valley Power is not driven by profits, as reflected in its significantly lower utility rates when compared to other private sector utilities.”

Double Ouch.

Bruce Karney, founding director of Carbon Free Silicon Valley, liked the City’s decision.  Here’s what he said at the Council meeting:  “I come from Mountain View tonight because this policy is fantastic and I applaud the leadership of staff for developing it. Carbon is the biggest challenge that humanity faces.”


  1. Not knowing the backstory, it seems like a step in the right direction. The question of the day is, how much will it cost the end users, customers?

  2. Hi Robert,

    With respect, Santa Clara is not telling the whole story at all. Its resolution received very significant opposition from academics and legal and climate experts on the grounds that it will increase CO2 emissions, and will increase combustion-related pollutants.

    Talk of profits is quite besides the point. The City Council is ignoring science.

    Perhaps your readers would be interested to hear from some of those experts?

    This blog summarizes much of the testimony that was provided at the City Council meeting in opposition to the resolution.

    Yours sincerely,

    David McCulloch
    Vice President, Communications
    Bloom Energy

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