Is Bloom on verge of fuel cell advance? (Karl Baker)
The immediate news item is an earnings call for Bloom Energy, which became subject to this practice as the result of its recent IPO. According to Credit Suisse analyst Michael Weinstein: “There are no problems with the technology. The hiccup is how they are dealing with investors, overpromising and under-delivering.”
Bloom undershot its sales forecasts for the quarter. Its stock price dropped more than 20% after the announcement, and is now trading 50% below a September high. Blaming hurricanes for the shortfall probably didn’t help to burnish management’s credibility. However, Weinstein said Bloom’s prospects appear to be improving, which according to this story “could mean a future hiring surge at its Delaware plant.” And Bloom’s fuel cell technology may “be competitive without federal subsidies by the time the Business Energy Investment Credit sunsets in 2023.”
Many Delawareans provide the company an extra boost through mandated purchases of Bloom’s "relatively expensive electricity." Mr. Baker goes on to report that a petition by “Bloom critic” John Nichols seeking a review of any options to ameliorate the burden on ratepayers of a 21-year contract between Bloom Energy and Delmarva Power (which passes the excess cost on to ratepayers) was unanimously dismissed by the 5-member Public Service Commission on an unspecified date [October 12, nearly a month ago]. A Bloom official is quoted that the petition had “no basis” even though the arrangement costs Delmarva Power ratepayers about $3 million a month (over $200 million on a cumulative basis), and is scheduled to remain in effect until 2033.
The nature of the “fuel cell advance” that is mentioned in the headline and hinted at by Mr. Weinstein’s comments is not discussed in the story. There is a mention of major sales in South Korea, but no details as to who is buying them or for what purpose.