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House wants OK for offshore wind park

The House solidly approved a resolution today demanding approval of a 150 turbine offshore wind park east of Rehoboth Beach, while project supporters worked to head off a separate, damaging committee analysis. The 25-11 vote vote sent the measure to an uncertain future in the Senate, where both Democratic and Republican leaders have had more reservations about the project's cost, fairness and effect on Delmarva Power. ...The Senate may decide to give guidance a different way, but the important thing is one of two houses has given guidance to the Controller General to support the contract with Bluewater." Others were less happy. "I think to send a message forcing a for-profit company, when you're in a time of deregulation [to sign a contract] is completely the wrong thing to do," said Rep. Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View, who voted against the measure. He warned that some customers would abandon Delmarva, raising the costs of the wind farm for remaining residents.

The House solidly approved a resolution today demanding approval of a 150 turbine offshore wind park east of Rehoboth Beach, while project supporters worked to head off a separate, damaging committee analysis.

The 25-11 vote sent the measure to an uncertain future in the Senate, where both Democratic and Republican leaders have had more reservations about the project's cost, fairness and effect on Delmarva Power.

Officials in December tabled a plan that would have ordered Delmarva to sign a 25-year contract for purchase of electricity from Bluewater Wind LLC's proposed offshore wind park. The Public Service Commission and two other other state agencies supported the forced purchase, but the legislature's Controller General Russsell T. Larson reported finding no General Assembly consensus on the deal which required a unanimous vote.

"I think that's a significant vote, because it represented not only upstate and downstate, but it's also bipartisan," said Rep. Robert J. Valihura, R-Talleyville. He added later: "The next step is to get the governor behind it too."

Gov. Ruth Ann Minner issued a prepared statement late today describing the issue as very complicated." She said... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The House solidly approved a resolution today demanding approval of a 150 turbine offshore wind park east of Rehoboth Beach, while project supporters worked to head off a separate, damaging committee analysis.

The 25-11 vote sent the measure to an uncertain future in the Senate, where both Democratic and Republican leaders have had more reservations about the project's cost, fairness and effect on Delmarva Power.

Officials in December tabled a plan that would have ordered Delmarva to sign a 25-year contract for purchase of electricity from Bluewater Wind LLC's proposed offshore wind park. The Public Service Commission and two other other state agencies supported the forced purchase, but the legislature's Controller General Russsell T. Larson reported finding no General Assembly consensus on the deal which required a unanimous vote.

"I think that's a significant vote, because it represented not only upstate and downstate, but it's also bipartisan," said Rep. Robert J. Valihura, R-Talleyville. He added later: "The next step is to get the governor behind it too."

Gov. Ruth Ann Minner issued a prepared statement late today describing the issue as very complicated." She said that Bluewater had provide a "credible" proposal, but "there are still significant concerns about the impact on Delaware ratepayers that have not been addressed to everyone's satisfaction. A project of this magnitude requires extensive study and debate and that process is ongoing."

Bluewater spokesman Jim Lanard described the vote as a "very important step," adding: "I think the real issue is that this gives guidance to the Controller General.

The Senate may decide to give guidance a different way, but the important thing is one of two houses has given guidance to the Controller General to support the contract with Bluewater."

Others were less happy.

"I think to send a message forcing a for-profit company, when you're in a time of deregulation [to sign a contract] is completely the wrong thing to do," said Rep. Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View, who voted against the measure. He warned that some customers would abandon Delmarva, raising the costs of the wind farm for remaining residents.

Lawmakers acted after a day of heavy lobbying in both chambers on both sides of the issue. Delaware Audubon Society conservation chairman Nicholas A. DiPasquale warned supporters in an e-mail that "crunch time" had arrived.

"An intense effort is underway this morning and early afternoon to pressure the House into turning down the wind farm before the McDowell report has even been released," DiPasquale wrote. "Your voice must be counted today!"


Source: http://www.delawareonline.c...

APR 10 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/14345-house-wants-ok-for-offshore-wind-park
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