photo: Todd Woody
In The New York Times on Wednesday, I write about California regulators’ preliminary decision to reject requests by two big utilities to install grid-connected fuel cells:
While Google, Wal-Mart and other corporations have embraced fuel cells, California regulators have turned down requests from the state’s two biggest utilities to install the technology.
In a preliminary decision, an administrative law judge with the California Public Utilities Commission found unwarranted an application from Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California to spend more than $43 million to install fuel cells that would generate six megawatts of electricity.
The technology transforms hydrogen, natural gas or other fuels into electricity through an electrochemical process, emitting fewer or no pollutants, depending on the type of fuel used.
“It is unreasonable to spend three times the price paid to renewable generation for the proposed Fuel Cell Projects, which are nonrenewable and fueled by natural gas,” wrote the administrative law judge, Dorothy J. Duda, in a proposed ruling issued last week. “In addition, the applications do not satisfactorily address how full ratepayer funding of utility-owned fuel cell generation would enhance private market investment and market transformation of the fuel cell industry.”
You can read the rest of the story here.