DOVER, DE - Cause of Action, a Washington D.C.-based legal advocacy group, has filed suit today in US Federal Court, District of Delaware, against Governor Jack Markell and five members of the Delaware Public Service Commission.
The Caesar Rodney Institute (CRI), a Delaware-based non-partisan think tank, has challenged the merits of utilizing high-cost Solid Oxide Fuel Cells to produce electrical power for sale to ratepayers of Delmarva Power, Delaware's largest energy utility provider. CRI was the sole entity opposing the contract between Delmarva Power and Bloom Energy at the Delaware Public Service rate hearings in October of 2011, on the basis the economic impact on Delaware's economy would be negative because of the contract. CRI has been concerned about the constitutionality of the contract from the very beginning.
Since CRI and John Nichols, a citizen activist, were not able to convince the Public Service Commission to change its views on either the economic or environmental impact of the permit application, Mr. Nichols decided to take his case to the Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board. He challenged the permit application on whether Bloom Energy had the right to build its Solid Oxide Fuel Cell technology in lands that were considered protected for wildlife. CRI funded expert testimony as part of Mr. Nichols' motion to appeal the permit decision.
The Board voted to deny Mr. Nichols standing at the hearing, which allowed Bloom Energy to proceed with installation of its Solid Oxide Fuel Cell units in the Coastal Zone. Mr. Nichols opted to file a lawsuit against Governor Markell and five members of the Public Service Commission, using information CRI provided during testimony. He was joined by Fuel Cell Energy, Inc., a company which makes fuel cells, and which feels it was denied the opportunity to do business in Delaware because of the government's decision to not open the bidding process to outside companies.
Caesar Rodney Institute