Energy, Economic, and Social Impacts of a Clean Energy Economic Policy: Fuel Cells Deployment in Delaware

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Energy Policy
Clean energy-related economic policy is designed to promote new energy technology and vigorous economic development. However, this type of policy is typically implemented and evaluated separately in the economic and energy sectors: comprehensive assessments are rarely done. This study analyzes the policy effectiveness of a clean energy-related economic policy in Delaware from energy, economic, and social perspectives. In 2011, the Delaware government provided generous economic incentives to attract California-based Bloom Energy to establish a fuel cell industry in the state. After eight years of operation, Bloom’s fuel cells demonstrated high-efficiency performance (45%). However, the company has not met the goals of job creation and payroll additions that it had promised to the Delaware government. In addition, public debate has arisen regarding the Qualified Fuel Cell Provider Project (QFCP), a special tariff for Bloom Energy. This paper concludes that when a government provides economic incentives to support new technology development, public acceptance should also be considered, particularly when the policy brings long-term social obligations and effects. Cost-sharing equity, decision making transparency, and knowledge enhancement are issues. Lessons learned from this case are applicable to a broader context.
Fuel Cells, Clean Energy, Energy-Related Economic Policy, Economic Incentives, Social Equity, Energy Efficiency
Energy Policy 2020, Vol. 144, 111617, pp. 1-9;