Article

Delaware wind farm: Bluewater deadline extended

Delmarva Power has granted NRG Bluewater Wind an extension of a crucial deadline, as the renewable-energy developer works through federal uncertainty that could delay construction of the wind farm planned off Rehoboth Beach. Bluewater has planned to erect a meteorological tower at the site this autumn.

Delmarva Power has granted NRG Bluewater Wind an extension of a crucial deadline, as the renewable-energy developer works through federal uncertainty that could delay construction of the wind farm planned off Rehoboth Beach.

Bluewater has planned to erect a meteorological tower at the site this autumn, but it could be delayed if it fails to receive federal permits because of bureaucratic turmoil in the wake of the Gulf oil spill , said Peter Mandelstam, Bluewater's president.

Wednesday marked the second anniversary of Bluewater and Delmarva's signing of the nation's first, and still only, contract to purchase offshore wind power. It also marked the deadline for Bluewater to pull out of its contract with Delmarva without paying a $6 million penalty.

The parties have agreed to extend that date, but are still working out a new deadline, along with other project target dates that could push the completion date past the current target of 2014, said David Gaier, NRG spokesman.

Mandelstam said the extension is not a reflection of the financial health of the project, but of the uncertainty in the federal regulatory process.

"We, too, are collateral damage from the Gulf disaster," Mandelstam said... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Delmarva Power has granted NRG Bluewater Wind an extension of a crucial deadline, as the renewable-energy developer works through federal uncertainty that could delay construction of the wind farm planned off Rehoboth Beach.

Bluewater has planned to erect a meteorological tower at the site this autumn, but it could be delayed if it fails to receive federal permits because of bureaucratic turmoil in the wake of the Gulf oil spill , said Peter Mandelstam, Bluewater's president.

Wednesday marked the second anniversary of Bluewater and Delmarva's signing of the nation's first, and still only, contract to purchase offshore wind power. It also marked the deadline for Bluewater to pull out of its contract with Delmarva without paying a $6 million penalty.

The parties have agreed to extend that date, but are still working out a new deadline, along with other project target dates that could push the completion date past the current target of 2014, said David Gaier, NRG spokesman.

Mandelstam said the extension is not a reflection of the financial health of the project, but of the uncertainty in the federal regulatory process.

"We, too, are collateral damage from the Gulf disaster," Mandelstam said Wednesday.

The agency that regulated offshore wind -- the U.S. Minerals Management Service -- also regulated the oil and gas industry. It drew criticism for a cozy relationship with oil companies and was recently broken into separate agencies.

Mandelstam said this will require a learning curve for the leadership of the new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

Bluewater has an exclusive lease to build a meteorological tower, which will track wind speeds, off Delaware, but needs a construction permit.

The details of the Bluewater-Delmarva contract changes will be made public in a filing with the Public Service Commission next month, said Delmarva spokeswoman Bridget Shelton. The PSC must approve any changes.

"We continue to want to work with NRG Bluewater Wind to see this project brought to fruition, which has both environmental and economic benefits for Delaware," Shelton said.

Matt DaPrato, a wind analyst with IHS Emerging Energy Research, said the extension shows the "predicament where offshore wind is in right now, trying to develop in an uncertain regulatory process, and trying to get off-takers in a recession, where ratepayers will have to pay a premium for the power. That's very hard for utilities, regulators and ratepayers, all the way down, to stomach," DaPrato said.

There's another important deadline coming up later this week. Friday is the last day for renewable power developers to apply to the federal government for leases to build their projects in the waters off Delaware. Mandelstam said Bluewater will submit its application Friday.

The contract extension showed the degree to which Delmarva wants to work with Bluewater, Mandelstam said.

"It bodes well. We're going to be business partners for 25 years," he said.


Source: http://www.delmarvanow.com/...

JUN 24 2010
http://www.windaction.org/posts/26878-delaware-wind-farm-bluewater-deadline-extended
back to top