KR Sridhar

KR Sridhar, co-founder and CEO of Bloom Energy, poses next to Bloom Energy power servers in this 2010 file photo.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has fined Bloom Energy more than $45,000 for violating air quality regulations.

The fine relates to Bloom’s Red Lion power-generation site near New Castle, where the company operated its gas-powered fuel cells without a permit for more than a month earlier this summer.

Bloom, which manufactures the fuel cells on the University of Delaware’s STAR Campus, last year received a construction permit to replace 42 existing fuel cells at the Red Lion site.

However, after installing them, the company failed to request authorization to begin operating the new equipment. State officials also discovered that the facility exceeded its allowed energy generation capacity on one day in June.

DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin ordered Bloom to pay a $40,000 penalty and also reimburse the DNREC for $5,500 it spent investigating the violations.

Bloom waived its right to a hearing and paid the fine. The company has since obtained the proper permits.

Based in California, Bloom came to Newark in 2011 after state officials offered the company millions of dollars in job-creation incentives to build fuel cells at the STAR Campus to generate electricity and help Delmarva Power meet its renewable energy requirements. They also guaranteed a revenue stream to Bloom through a “renewable energy” surcharge on Delmarva Power customers, even though Bloom’s fuel cells are powered by nonrenewable natural gas.

The surcharge has cost Delmarva customers more than $200 million and will last for another 14 years. According to one estimate, it could cost Delmarva Power customers $700 million or more by 2033.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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