updated 2/1/2011 9:46:13 AM ET 2011-02-01T14:46:13

DANBURY, Conn., Feb. 1, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FuelCell Energy, Inc. (Nasdaq:FCEL) a leading manufacturer of ultra-clean, efficient and reliable power plants using renewable and other fuels for commercial, industrial, government, and utility customers today announced that Southern California Edison Company (SCE) has ordered a 1.4 megawatt (MW) DFC1500 fuel cell power plant to install as a utility-owned fuel cell on the campus of California State University, San Bernardino. The ultra-clean electricity generated by the power plant will interconnect into the existing SCE distribution grid. The distributed generation attribute of fuel cells enables SCE to add power generating capacity at the point of use without a commensurate investment in the transmission and distribution grid. 

"Southern California Edison is committed to environmental protection, and our power generation includes more alternate and renewable energy than nearly any other utility," said Mark Nelson, director of Generation Planning and Strategy for Southern California Edison. "Ultra-clean and reliable power generation from this fuel cell power plant will help us meet the needs of our customers while also illustrating our efforts at improving the air quality in our service territory."

Distributed generation provides power at the point of use, lessening reliance on the electrical transmission grid and represents incremental capacity that avoids or reduces investment in the transmission and distribution system. Actions taken by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to promote the adoption of clean distributed generation power sources are intended to improve power quality and reliability, increase energy efficiency and enhance energy independence. In the spring of 2010, the CPUC authorized Southern California Edison and another California utility to pursue utility owned fuel cell installations at California universities, recognizing fuel cells as preferred resources due to clean fossil fuel generation and distributed generation.

This DFC1500 installation will use natural gas as the fuel source to generate ultra-clean electricity utilizing an electrochemical reaction. Due to the absence of combustion, virtually zero pollutants are emitted such as NOx, SOx or particulate matter. Additionally, the fuel cell power generation process is highly efficient, generating more power from a given unit of fuel and lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to combustion based power sources in a similar size range.   

The Direct FuelCell (DFC) power plant will utilize the high quality heat from the power generation process in a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) configuration that will connect to the campus hot water system, supplementing an existing combustion-based boiler. This CHP configuration will assist Cal State San Bernardino in reducing its carbon footprint by lessening the reliance on the less efficient boiler. CHP applications improve energy efficiency, leading to lower costs and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and provide enhanced energy security and increased resiliency of the energy infrastructure by reducing the need for power used to generate heat, easing congestion of the transmission grid. In a CHP configuration, DFC power plants can achieve efficiencies up to 90 percent, depending on the application.

"This project demonstrates two distinct end markets that value the attributes of fuel cells," said Chip Bottone, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, FuelCell Energy, Inc. "Ultra-clean distributed generation delivered in an economically compelling manner is an attractive proposition for utilities while universities value the energy security attained from reliable baseload power generated on campus in a manner that helps them reach their sustainability goals."

Cal State San Bernardino will be the fifth California university with a DFC installation, representing eight megawatts in total power generation capacity.  In conjunction with the installation of the power plant, the University is expected to incorporate fuel cell technology into its curriculum to teach students and the public about the benefits of fuel cell power generation.  The unit is expected to be operational in early 2012.  

California State University, San Bernardino has an enrollment of more than 17,000 students and employs more than 2,100 faculty and staff. Founded in 1965, the University is located in San Bernardino County, equidistant between Los Angeles and Palm Springs.

About FuelCell Energy

DFC® fuel cells are generating power at over 50 locations worldwide. The Company's power plants have generated over 650 million kWh of power using a variety of fuels including renewable wastewater gas, biogas from beer and food processing, as well as natural gas and other hydrocarbon fuels. FuelCell Energy has partnerships with major power plant developers and power companies around the world. The Company also receives funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and other government agencies for the development of leading edge technologies such as fuel cells. For more information please visit our website at www.fuelcellenergy.com

This news release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the Company's plans and expectations regarding the continuing development, commercialization and financing of its fuel cell technology and business plans. All forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Factors that could cause such a difference include, without limitation, general risks associated with product development, manufacturing, changes in the regulatory environment, customer strategies, potential volatility of energy prices, rapid technological change, competition, and the Company's ability to achieve its sales plans and cost reduction targets, as well as other risks set forth in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements contained herein speak only as of the date of this press release. The Company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statement to reflect any change in the Company's expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

Direct FuelCell, DFC, DFC/T, DFC-H2 and FuelCell Energy, Inc. are all registered trademarks of FuelCell Energy, Inc. DFC-ERG is a registered trademark jointly owned by Enbridge, Inc. and FuelCell Energy, Inc.

CONTACT: FuelCell Energy, Inc.
         Kurt Goddard, Vice President Investor Relations
         203-830-7494
         ir@fce.com
         
         California State University San Bernardino
         Sid Robinson, Associate Vice President Public Affairs
         909-537-5007

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