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Bluewater: Despite delays, project to move forward

Bonnie Smith, spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency's Philadelphia office, said Bluewater must get a tower construction permit because the ship that will erect the tower will attach to the sea floor. That requirement is part of the National Energy Policy Act of 2005, which amended the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

Bluewater Wind has hit a few roadblocks in recent weeks, but company officials say they are forging ahead with their plans for a wind farm off Delaware's coast. Even the appearance of a shadowy competitor interested in leasing the same slice of the outer continental shelf is not affecting the company's plans.

Occidental Energy filed paperwork with federal officials expressing interest in the same area Bluewater Wind wants to lease. Occidental Energy could not be reached for comment. NRG Bluewater Wind spokesman David Gaier said, "We don't know anything about Occidental."

He said Bluewater Wind isn't concerned about a rival for leasing the area. "We think we've got the recipe for success," he said, including the nation's first power-purchase agreement for offshore wind. In 2008, Bluewater inked a deal with Delmarva Power for a 25-year contract for 200 megawatts of electricity.

Bluewater Wind has applied for a permit to build a meteorological tower, needed to collect data required for later permits. But, since that permit was filed, the Minerals Management Service (MMS), which issued such permits, has been dissolved. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Bluewater Wind has hit a few roadblocks in recent weeks, but company officials say they are forging ahead with their plans for a wind farm off Delaware's coast. Even the appearance of a shadowy competitor interested in leasing the same slice of the outer continental shelf is not affecting the company's plans.

Occidental Energy filed paperwork with federal officials expressing interest in the same area Bluewater Wind wants to lease. Occidental Energy could not be reached for comment. NRG Bluewater Wind spokesman David Gaier said, "We don't know anything about Occidental."

He said Bluewater Wind isn't concerned about a rival for leasing the area. "We think we've got the recipe for success," he said, including the nation's first power-purchase agreement for offshore wind. In 2008, Bluewater inked a deal with Delmarva Power for a 25-year contract for 200 megawatts of electricity.

Bluewater Wind has applied for a permit to build a meteorological tower, needed to collect data required for later permits. But, since that permit was filed, the Minerals Management Service (MMS), which issued such permits, has been dissolved. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement was created to oversee leases and permits on the Outer Continental Shelf, where Bluewater's wind farm will be built. In June, Gaier said the company's lease to build a weather tower to collect data for subsequent permits is secure, but reorganization of the MMS was slowing down the process.

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management officials did not return calls for comment.

Next, Bluewater Wind had to get an air-emissions permit from the federal Environmental Protection Agency for the ship that will install the meteorological tower. Gaier said installation should take about seven days.

Bonnie Smith, spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency's Philadelphia office, said Bluewater must get a tower construction permit because the ship that will erect the tower will attach to the sea floor. That requirement is part of the National Energy Policy Act of 2005, which amended the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, she said. Regulation for the construction ship is different from emissions regulations for cargo ships.

Internationally flagged vessels are governed by an international treaty that limits air emissions, and U.S.-flagged ships are also subject to the Clean Air Act, Smith said. The EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard enforce shipping regulations, she said.

Smith said EPA and Delaware's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) are part of a task force of state and federal agencies working with Bluewater Wind. "EPA fully expects that we will be delegating this program to DNREC, who is requesting the delegation," Smith said.

Bluewater and DNREC worked out a timeline by which Bluewater would submit an application by mid-July, and DNREC anticipated issuing the permit in August. "We understood that the company was very satisfied with this schedule," she said.


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

JUL 21 2010
http://www.windaction.org/posts/27335-bluewater-despite-delays-project-to-move-forward
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