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Rehoboth's wind farm faces delays; Construction could be delayed

Bluewater Wind and Delmarva Power have agreed to extend a key project deadline because of a permit delay related to the breakup of the Minerals Management Service (MMS). Under its original 2008 contract with Delmarva Power, NRG Energy's Bluewater Wind had until Wednesday, June 23, to pull out of the deal without paying a $6 million penalty.

While the British Petroleum oil spill was expected to encourage a boom in renewable energy projects, the dissolution of the Minerals Management Service, which regulated offshore leases, has temporarily blocked Bluewater Wind's plans for an offshore wind farm 14 miles off Rehoboth Beach.

Bluewater Wind and Delmarva Power have agreed to extend a key project deadline because of a permit delay related to the breakup of the Minerals Management Service (MMS).

Under its original 2008 contract with Delmarva Power, NRG Energy's Bluewater Wind had until Wednesday, June 23, to pull out of the deal without paying a $6 million penalty.

Delmarva Power spokeswoman Bridget Shelton said the company has agreed to extend the deadline. "The main reason is we want to see this project come to fruition because of the environmental and economic benefits to the state," she said. Shelton said Delmarva Power supports its contract with the wind developers because of the price protection it offers Delmarva Power customers.

The developer has a 25-year power purchase agreement to sell 200 megawatts of electricity to Delmarva Power.

Bluewater Wind already has a lease to build a meteorological tower on the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

While the British Petroleum oil spill was expected to encourage a boom in renewable energy projects, the dissolution of the Minerals Management Service, which regulated offshore leases, has temporarily blocked Bluewater Wind's plans for an offshore wind farm 14 miles off Rehoboth Beach.

Bluewater Wind and Delmarva Power have agreed to extend a key project deadline because of a permit delay related to the breakup of the Minerals Management Service (MMS).

Under its original 2008 contract with Delmarva Power, NRG Energy's Bluewater Wind had until Wednesday, June 23, to pull out of the deal without paying a $6 million penalty.

Delmarva Power spokeswoman Bridget Shelton said the company has agreed to extend the deadline. "The main reason is we want to see this project come to fruition because of the environmental and economic benefits to the state," she said. Shelton said Delmarva Power supports its contract with the wind developers because of the price protection it offers Delmarva Power customers.

The developer has a 25-year power purchase agreement to sell 200 megawatts of electricity to Delmarva Power.

Bluewater Wind already has a lease to build a meteorological tower on the Outer Continental Shelf to collect data for permits to build its planned 450-megawatt wind farm. The tower would be about 14 miles offshore, said NRG Energy spokesman David Gaier. He said the dissolution and reorganization of the Minerals Management Service in the wake of the Gulf of Medico oil disaster affects the permitting process, but not the lease.

Gaier said the overhaul of MMS will delay permits. In addition, leases previously issued by MMS will now fall under the new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. Gaier said Bluewater Wind is ready to move forward as soon as possible, but the timeline for federal permits is not certain.

"We're doing everything in our control and we have received consistent and outstanding support from the governor and the people of Delaware, who know the value of clean energy," Gaier said.

Bluewater Wind planned to submit a proposal to lease an area off the coast of Rehoboth Beach for the wind farm Friday, June 25, Gaier said.

"We take President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at their word, that they intend to make clean, renewable energy a reality and will do everything possible to streamline the permitting process and reduce the time required to make offshore wind power a reality," said Gaier.

Shelton said Delmarva Power will release no details of the deal, including the new deadline, until an amendment is filed with the Public Service Commission in late July.

President Obama dissolved the MMS after allegations it was neglectful in its oversight of offshore oil drilling. The agency was replaced by two new agencies.


Source: http://www.capegazette.com/...

JUN 29 2010
http://www.windaction.org/posts/26962-rehoboth-s-wind-farm-faces-delays-construction-could-be-delayed
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