Starwood Hotels & Resorts
and FuelCell Energy, a leading manufacturer of ultra-clean power generation plants for commercial and industrial customers, today announced the expanded use of fuel cell power plants to include the Westin Hotel brand with the inaugural installation to consist of a 500 kilowatt (kW) Direct FuelCell power plant at The Westin San Francisco Airport Hotel location. The 500 kW DFC power plant for The Westin San Francisco Airport Hotel will supply base load power for the 390-room hotel while the heat byproduct will be used to heat the hotel’s indoor pool.
“Starwood’s expansion of its fuel cell energy program into the Westin brand exemplifies the company’s commitment to the most efficient, ultra-clean and reliable onsite base load power generation,” said R. Daniel Brdar, President and COO of FuelCell Energy, Inc. “Starwood, an innovative corporate leader who has recognized the value of fuel cells through repeat purchases at multiple locations is demonstrating that our DFC products are advancing from the early adoption phase to more mainstream application.”
Once the Westin hotel unit is installed and operating, Starwood will be generating 2.75 MW of ultra-clean power for five of its U.S. hotels in California, New Jersey and New York. The first unit was installed in 2002 at the Sheraton in Edison, NJ. Westin is the upper-upscale brand of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, with 121 hotels globally in approximately 31 countries and territories.
“Our use of fuel cells at Sheraton hotels has successfully reduced our energy costs while offering us quality power with strong environmental benefits, and we are eager to begin applying this formula to our Westin and other brand hotels,” said John Lembo, Director of Energy for Starwood. “With DFC installations at hotels on both coasts of the U.S., we are fulfilling our pledge to be the best business neighbors with a commitment to helping our environment while providing the highest quality of service to our guests.”
Starwood was recently named as the Number 1 company in Buildings Magazine’s 2005 ‘A’ List due to its green initiatives, which resulted from the installation of DFC power plants at four other hotel properties in the U.S.
“This kind of growth and development is exciting as FuelCell Energy sitings continue to pick up momentum in California,” said James Michael, President of Alliance Power. “Each new project further cements our relationship with Starwood and shows how this kind of technology can make a difference to the environment and is repeatable at other locations.”
The DFC power plant at the hotel will be installed and operated by Alliance Star Energy, a joint venture between FuelCell Energy and Alliance Power.
Pacific Gas and Electric, administrator for CPUC’s Self-Generation Incentive Program for their service territory, is expected to issue a reservation letter of up to $1.25 million for The Westin San Francisco Airport Hotel installation.
The State of California continues to lead the way in supporting fuel cell technology by providing financial and regulatory support. Fuel cell energy is categorized as an “ultra-clean and low-emission distributed technology, which produces zero emissions during operation or produces emissions that are equal to or less than limits established by the California Air Resources Board.
FuelCell Energy is seeing increased interest for its ultra-clean DFC power plants by customers such as Starwood that are demanding clean, efficient and reliable onsite power generation. This is more pronounced in markets where high electrical costs, strict emissions controls, grid constraints and other characteristics require a clean, efficient distributed generation solution. The key attributes of the company’s DFC power plants include: favorable emissions profile (and resulting less restrictive permitting requirements), lower operating and maintenance costs (due to higher fuel efficiency and remote monitoring), and improved reliability (having power generation located at the customer’s site). The company is having success in developing repeatable business in geographical markets such as California that offer sufficient funding to make the pricing of the company’s DFC power plants more competitive with the local cost of electricity and cogeneration.