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Environmentalists pleased wind farm still in the works

It was dinnertime at the League of Women Voters' retreat in Rehoboth Beach on Oct. 31 when Lisa Pertzoff learned that NRG Energy might buy Bluewater Wind. Pertzoff told the league's president, who interrupted dinner with the announcement. "There was a stunned silence," Pertzoff said, then "there were some rueful chuckles."

With NRG's history of local pollution, some remain wary of company's motives

It was dinnertime at the League of Women Voters' retreat in Rehoboth Beach on Oct. 31 when Lisa Pertzoff learned that NRG Energy might buy Bluewater Wind.

Pertzoff told the league's president, who interrupted dinner with the announcement.

"There was a stunned silence," Pertzoff said, then "there were some rueful chuckles."

Environmentalists were divided Monday in their feelings about the sale of Bluewater to NRG, the owner of a coal-fired power plant near Millsboro that is a heavy local polluter. Some of the activists were instrumental in pushing for the state to investigate a cancer cluster around the plant.

Some were enthusiastic, supporting anyone who would see the project through. Others were suspicious of NRG's motives.

Kim Furtado, a naturopathic practitioner, said last week her support for Bluewater was unwavering.

"The day that I see those windmills off the coast is the day I celebrate all the work we've done," she said. "If NRG wants to be part of that work, I applaud them. I look forward to seeing NRG truly roll up their sleeves and be part of the work of cleaning up Delaware and protecting the health... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

With NRG's history of local pollution, some remain wary of company's motives

It was dinnertime at the League of Women Voters' retreat in Rehoboth Beach on Oct. 31 when Lisa Pertzoff learned that NRG Energy might buy Bluewater Wind.

Pertzoff told the league's president, who interrupted dinner with the announcement.

"There was a stunned silence," Pertzoff said, then "there were some rueful chuckles."

Environmentalists were divided Monday in their feelings about the sale of Bluewater to NRG, the owner of a coal-fired power plant near Millsboro that is a heavy local polluter. Some of the activists were instrumental in pushing for the state to investigate a cancer cluster around the plant.

Some were enthusiastic, supporting anyone who would see the project through. Others were suspicious of NRG's motives.

Kim Furtado, a naturopathic practitioner, said last week her support for Bluewater was unwavering.

"The day that I see those windmills off the coast is the day I celebrate all the work we've done," she said. "If NRG wants to be part of that work, I applaud them. I look forward to seeing NRG truly roll up their sleeves and be part of the work of cleaning up Delaware and protecting the health of our citizens while we also produce power."

Constance Peterson of Lewes, a member of Citizens for Clean Power, said she was "just shocked" to hear that the parties were talking, "just surprised, just disappointed."

"I do hope any of that stuff doesn't interfere with what Bluewater offered, what passed and what we're trying to get out there," Peterson said.

Chad Tolman, energy chairman of the state Sierra Club chapter, said it's good to see NRG coming around to renewables.

"I think it kind of indicates that NRG is seeing the writing on the wall," Tolman said in a recent interview. "You really like to see people come around, realize they made mistakes and want to do something different in the future."

Bill Zak, of Lewes, another member of Citizens for Clean Power, said about 30 people attended a meeting for Bluewater supporters in Rehoboth Beach on Monday. He said there was a respectful exchange, but some skepticism in the room from people who knew only NRG's history of "resistance" when, in 2006, it opposed the wind farm plan in favor of its own plan for coal gasification at its Indian River Power Plant.

Bluewater supporters said they worried this might be a token gesture, and NRG would not ever build offshore wind along the coast, Zak said.

But "in this transformative moment, [NRG] may have finally seen the light," Zak said.

People on various sides of the clean-energy debate agreed there doesn't appear to be a conflict of interest for the operator of a coal-fired power plant to also own a wind farm in the same area.

Ray Dotter, a spokesman for PJM, the regional power grid, said it would be a violation of PJM and federal rules for a company to power down a wind farm to favor electricity from another source, such as a coal-fired plant.

Jeremy Firestone, an associate professor at the University of Delaware, said the power purchase agreement with Delmarva requires a critical mass of wind power.

"You're always going to put the wind onto the system. You'd never turn it off," he said.

Drew Murphy, NRG's Northeast regional president, said he saw no scenario where the company would crimp wind production to bolster coal-fired generation.

"I don't see that happening," he said.


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

NOV 10 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/23046-environmentalists-pleased-wind-farm-still-in-the-works
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