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Wind farm power proposal is gaining momentum

Delmarva Power is currently negotiating with Bluewater Wind, but the parties agreed not to comment on the negotiations, said Jim Lanard, spokesman for Bluewater Wind on Wednesday, June 6. Lanard said the bid for an offshore wind farm showed that the 200 turbines would occupy less than an acre of the Atlantic Ocean. While he would not comment as to which location - either the water off Rehoboth Beach or Bethany Beach - Phil Cherry of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has said the state is leaning towards the location about 12 miles off Rehoboth Beach.

For hundreds of years, scientists and engineers have increased the world's knowledge of fossil fuels and how they provide the energy that today runs our coffee makers, powers our cars and charges our cell phones.

But alternatives to fossil fuels are gaining popularity as the threat of global warming looms. The recommendation of the state Public Service Commission and three other state agencies to negotiate with Bluewater Wind for an offshore wind farm highlights this movement toward alternatives.

According to the International Energy Agency, oil and gas currently provide more than half the world's energy supply. They, along with coal, will continue to be the main sources of energy well into the future.

Delaware, Massachusetts, Vermont and Texas are all working to increase the amount of alternative power used in the energy mix.

Delmarva Power is currently negotiating with Bluewater Wind, but the parties agreed not to comment on the negotiations, said Jim Lanard, spokesman for Bluewater Wind on Wednesday, June 6. Lanard said the bid for an offshore wind farm showed that the 200 turbines would occupy less than an acre of the Atlantic Ocean.

While he would not comment as to which... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

For hundreds of years, scientists and engineers have increased the world's knowledge of fossil fuels and how they provide the energy that today runs our coffee makers, powers our cars and charges our cell phones.

But alternatives to fossil fuels are gaining popularity as the threat of global warming looms. The recommendation of the state Public Service Commission and three other state agencies to negotiate with Bluewater Wind for an offshore wind farm highlights this movement toward alternatives.

According to the International Energy Agency, oil and gas currently provide more than half the world's energy supply. They, along with coal, will continue to be the main sources of energy well into the future.

Delaware, Massachusetts, Vermont and Texas are all working to increase the amount of alternative power used in the energy mix.

Delmarva Power is currently negotiating with Bluewater Wind, but the parties agreed not to comment on the negotiations, said Jim Lanard, spokesman for Bluewater Wind on Wednesday, June 6. Lanard said the bid for an offshore wind farm showed that the 200 turbines would occupy less than an acre of the Atlantic Ocean.

While he would not comment as to which location - either the water off Rehoboth Beach or Bethany Beach - Phil Cherry of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has said the state is leaning towards the location about 12 miles off Rehoboth Beach.

As far as jobs go, a new wind farm would create about 500 construction jobs for each of three seasons of construction, said Lanard. After the third season, which lasts from April to October, about 80-100 jobs would be created to operate and maintain the wind farm for the 20-25 year term of the contract with Delmarva Power. If all goes well the wind farm could be generating electricity in as little as five years, but realistically it will take longer than that because a permitting process for offshore wind is not established and since it will be the first one in the United States, it will probably have to jump through many hoops. But, it could also pave the way for other states.

"The thorough review and analysis that the PSC and state agencies completed is really a great model for other states as they review and move other projects forward," he said. "We hope when the offshore wind farm is constructed that people will be satisfied that the process what well thought out and reviewed. Others will look to this experience in Delaware for guidance."

While wind is free, the start up costs for an offshore wind farm are significant, and these costs will be passed on to consumers. The costs are not set in stone, but they could raise rates by as much as $5.

A University of Delaware poll found that the majority of residents would be willing to bear the increased costs because over time the wind farm would stabilize rates and reduce global-warming emissions, such as carbon dioxide.

Windmills produce no carbon dioxide and the construction would produce fewer emissions than a new fossil-fuel powered plant.

Alternatives gaining steam

The World Resources Institute estimates that renewable sources, including wind, solar, biomass, hydro and geothermal, contribute 15 percent of the world's energy supply. Commercial wind power is now supplying energy in more than 65 countries, which makes it the fastest-growing source of energy after solar.

Delaware has the opportunity now to be the first state in the United States to have an offshore wind farm, said Bill Zak, founder of Citizens for Clean Power, a grassroots organization that pushed for wind power in Delaware.

While Delaware is moving forward with plans for a wind farm, state officials also gave the go-ahead to both Conectiv, owners of the Hay Road power plant outside Wilmington, and NRG Energy, owners of the Indian River power plant outside Millsboro, to negotiate with Delmarva Power on a natural gas back-up plant to be located in Sussex County. The push for back-up shows some lack of confidence within state agencies to have the wind farm stand on its own.

Other alternatives gaining steam include nuclear and hydrogen.

While nuclear was once frowned upon because of problems with disposal and the threat of a meltdown, environmentalists are now taking another look at nuclear because it is cleaner than fossil fuels. Nuclear currently provides 75 percent of France's power supply.

Hydrogen is being researched for use in fuel cell vehicles, as automobiles generate about 80 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions.

The challenge, according to World Energy Outlook, is to optimize the development and use all sources of alternative energy.

"And, while switching to renewable energy sounds like an obvious solution, the generating capacity and cost of alternatives remain significant obstacles," reads a statement from the International Energy Outlook. "Meanwhile, technology, regulation, and consumer choices can all play a role in reducing the impact of our energy use on the air we breathe."

Contact Rachel Swick at: rswick@capegazette.com



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

JUN 12 2007
http://www.windaction.org/posts/9400-wind-farm-power-proposal-is-gaining-momentum
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