PPL Teams with Starwood to Bring Fuel Cell Technology to Hotels; Construction at Two New Jersey Properties to Start This Summer
PRNewswire-FirstCall
PARSIPPANY, N.J.

A subsidiary of PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) has signed an agreement with one of the largest hotel companies in the world to install, own and operate one 250-kilowatt fuel cell system at the Sheraton Parsippany Hotel and another at the Sheraton Edison Hotel Raritan Center, properties belonging to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: HOT).

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19981015/PHTH025 )

Groundbreaking for both projects is scheduled to take place this summer, with the fuel cells scheduled to come on line by the end of the year. The New Jersey Clean Energy Program will provide approximately $1.7 million in funding to PPL as part of its incentive program to encourage the use of clean, efficient energy technology. These two projects are part of the master agreement PPL and Starwood signed that could eventually lead to PPL installing fuel cells at other Starwood properties across the United States. Other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The energy services and distributed generation arm of PPL EnergyPlus will provide the fuel cell system, and PPL's Energy Marketing Center will supply the natural gas. New Jersey Natural Gas Co. will distribute the natural gas to power the fuel cells at the Parsippany hotel, and NUI Elizabethtown Gas will distribute the natural gas for the Edison property.

"Through GenSelect(SM) -- PPL EnergyPlus' innovative distributed generation program -- we're bringing new, efficient and environmentally friendly energy technology to customers," said Paul Champagne, the president of PPL EnergyPlus.

"Until recently, this type of energy technology was not available commercially, and its practical use was very limited," Champagne said. "But fuel cells are now part of a growing range of energy solutions that PPL can provide."

Fuel cells generate electricity with no combustion. They are, in effect, like large, continuously operating batteries that generate electricity as long as fuel, such as natural gas, is supplied. Since the fuel is not burned, pollution commonly associated with the combustion of fossil fuels is dramatically reduced. The technology is similar to that which helps power NASA's space shuttle.

"Starwood is extremely happy to be teaming with PPL as we launch this environmentally friendly program," said Ted Darnall, president, Starwood North America Hotel Operations. "We are confident that fuel cells will prove to be a reliable source of energy and help reduce our overall energy costs."

Plans also are in the works for Starwood to place fuel cells at select properties in New York and Connecticut.

Champagne said the partnership among PPL, Starwood, New Jersey Clean Energy Program, New Jersey Natural Gas Co., and NUI Elizabethtown Gas is an example of PPL's belief in reaching out to partners beyond its traditional service territory to cultivate the next generation of power supply.

PPL will be installing fuel cells provided by FuelCell Energy Inc. of Danbury, Conn. PPL has an equity investment in FuelCell Energy and is a distributor of its fuel cells in North America.

In celebration of Earth Day, and to coincide with the contract signing, an educational activity fair designed for middle school students is scheduled today at the Sheraton Parsippany Hotel. The fair will help educate the students to the benefits of the fuel cell energy technology.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world, with more than 740 properties in more than 80 countries and 110,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. With internationally renowned brands, Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchiser of hotels and resorts including St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Sheraton, Westin, Four Points by Sheraton, W brands, as well as Starwood Vacation Ownership Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts.

FuelCell Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FCEL) (www.fuelcellenergy.com), Danbury, Conn., is a world-recognized leader for the development and commercialization of high efficiency fuel cells for electric power generation. The company is developing Direct FuelCell® technology for stationary power plants with the U.S. Department of Energy through the National Energy Technology Laboratory, whose advanced fuel cell research program is focused on developing a new generation of high performance fuel cells that can generate clean electricity at power stations or in distributed locations near the customer, including hospitals, schools, universities and other commercial and industrial applications.

PPL Corporation, headquartered in Allentown, Pa., controls or owns more than 10,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States, sells energy in key U.S. markets, and delivers electricity to nearly 6 million customers in Pennsylvania, the United Kingdom and Latin America.

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SOURCE: PPL Corporation

Contact: Jim Santantaso, +1-610-774-5997, or Steve Gabrielle,
+1-610-774-7095, both of PPL, or Fax, +1-610-774-5281

Website: http://www.fuelcellenergy.com/

Website: http://www.pplweb.com/

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