The Bloom Energy sign is revealed during Monday morning's event at the University of Delaware's Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus.

STAR in Bloom

University, state officials welcome Bloom Energy to UD's STAR Campus


5:31 p.m., April 30, 2012--Bloom Energy held the official groundbreaking for its new manufacturing plant on the University of Delaware’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus on Monday morning, April 30.

Leaders from government, business and the community joined UD President Patrick Harker and K.R. Sridhar, principal co-founder and CEO of Bloom Energy, for the event.

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Located on the 272-acre STAR Campus, the facility is expected to bring hundreds of 21st century manufacturing jobs to the region.

In welcoming the 250-plus invited guests, Harker thanked Gov. Jack Markell and U.S. Sens. Thomas Carper and Chris Coons, the office of Congressman John Carney and Newark Mayor Vance Funk III, for their help in making Delaware an attractive site for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based energy producer.

Harker also lauded Sridhar for “having launched an amazing company 11 years ago and for bringing it to Delaware as Bloom Energy’s first East Coast facility.”

“Both moves required vision, courage and faith,” Harker said. “We couldn’t be happier to have K.R. Sridhar and Bloom Energy here in the First State.”

Harker also praised Markell for his efforts in bringing the company to Delaware as the first manufacturing facility on the STAR Campus location.

“Gov. Markell is all about the First State, and it was undeniably his determination to make this deal happen that’s brought us to this campus today,” Harker said. “The governor’s entire administration -- notably Alan Levin, director of the Economic Development Office, and Collin O’Mara, secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources -- backed this project from the beginning. The hard work of a lot of people has paid off.”

Besides recognizing the efforts of the state’s congressional delegation, Harker expressed gratitude for the support of Delaware’s General Assembly, including Anthony J. DeLuca, senate president pro tempore, and Robert F. Gilligan, speaker of the house. 

Also recognized by Harker for partnering with the state to bring Bloom Energy to Delaware were Joe Rigby, president and CEO of Pepco Holdings, and Gary Stockbridge, president of Delmarva Power.

Harker said that bringing Bloom Energy to the STAR Campus furthers the University’s goal of partnering with industry to better serve the public with practical research and important innovations.

“I couldn’t be happier that Bloom Energy, our very first STAR Campus tenant, is with us in this pursuit,” Harker said. “There’s enormous benefit to be gained from this partnership, and I can’t wait to get started.”

A new legacy

Bringing Bloom Energy to Newark will combine the legacy of quality construction that marked the site of the Chrysler plant with a new legacy of research and innovation that will take place on the STAR Campus location, Markell said. 

“This factory should give hundreds of new employees a chance to put their energy into manufacturing products that will power homes and businesses across the East Coast,” Markell said. “We are excited to see Bloom turning to Delaware to build those servers.”

Sridhar said a business-friendly climate and the strong support of the Governor’s office, the General Assembly and government officials figured large in selecting the First State as the site of Bloom Energy’s East Coast facility. 

“Once the Bloom Energy manufacturing center is completed, we will double Bloom Energy’s production capacity,” Sridhar said. “Delaware complements our California roots and strategically positions us to better serve our expanding customer base.” 

Sridhar also announced several of Bloom’s new customers whose representatives attended the ceremony, including Owens Corning, Urban Outfitters, Delmarva Power, WGL Holdings and Washington Gas, and AT&T, which already uses Bloom Energy servers at its facilities in the Golden State. 

Growing Delaware's manufacturing base

In welcoming Bloom Energy to Delaware, Carper said that the company will help the state to grow its manufacturing base in the United States. 

“In addition to providing Delawareans with reliable, clean energy, Bloom Energy will provide much-needed jobs in manufacturing which will lead us further out of this recession,” Carper said. “I’ve been working with Gov. Markell to bring this innovative company here, and I’m proud that our hard work has paid off.” 

Coons said that a talented workforce, welcoming business community and leadership at all levels of government helped to bring Bloom Energy to Delaware.

“When we think about the threads that will keep America competitive in the global economy for the next generation, we think of innovation, entrepreneurship, clean energy and manufacturing,” Coons said. “All of these are coming together today, here in Delaware.”

A panel discussion moderated by Mark Barteau, senior vice provost for research and strategic initiatives at UD, included Gary Stockbridge, president of Delmarva Power; Gautam Chandra, vice president, business development, stragegy and business process outsourcing for WGL Holdings and Washington Gas Light Co.; Frank O’Brien-Bernini, chief sustainability officer, Owens Corning; and John Schinter, AT&T director of energy.  

Remarks by James A. Wolfe, president and CEO of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, Gary Convis, Bloom Energy COO, and Barry Sharpe, senior director of operations who will manage the Bloom Energy’s Delaware facility, concluded the groundbreaking presentation.

After the presentation, the new Bloom Energy manufacturing center sign was unveiled.

A luncheon reception followed in the Bob Carpenter Center. 

Article by Jerry Rhodes

Photos by Ambre Alexander and Evan Krape

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