Duke Energy is adding power-generating fuel cells to the list of services it provides businesses and institutions. On Monday, the company's non-regulated subsidiary Duke Energy One announced a $250 million deal with California-based Bloom Energy to install fuel cells at more than 30 businesses in four states: California, Connecticut, Maryland and New York.
Fuel cells use a chemical reaction to produce electricity without burning fuel. They're a clean alternative to fossil fuel energy sources, either for primary energy generation or backup.
A Duke spokeswoman said Monday the servers will be installed at data centers, universities, hospitals and other sites that need reliable electricity. They're called "behind the meter" systems because they're on customer premises. The companies will pay Duke for the power under long-term contracts.
“Commercial and industrial customers want resilient, clean energy at predictable costs and solutions tailored for their business needs – and with this technology, we can provide just that,” Swati Daji, Duke Energy’s senior vice president of customer solutions and strategies, said in a press release Monday.
Duke Energy One currently provides electricity services at more than 100 sites, with a total generating capacity of 150 megawatts. The deal with Bloom Energy adds more than 30 sites, totaling 37 megawatts.
"Our goal is to continue to provide these options to customers that need such solutions," spokeswoman Catherine Butler said. "Bloom servers are another option we will add to our offerings to meet specific customer’s needs."
Duke has not announced any plans to use fuel cells in its regulated consumer utilities in the Southeast and Midwest.
Bloom Energy video explaining how fuel cells work, on YouTube.