Articles from Delaware
Delmarva Power will have until Sept. 14 to come to an agreement to buy power from a proposed wind farm and a backup natural gas plant. That's an extension from the original 60-day deadline that expired late last month.
WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) -- Multiple reports and studies, especially those published in the last year, suggest the United States, specifically the East Coast, has great potential for offshore wind. The politicized debate over whether to develop wind power offshore has dragged on since the late 1990s, when the first project was proposed in Cape Cod, Mass., off the Nantucket Sound. Since then there have been several other proposals, none of which has been completely approved.
Legislators in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic passed a number of bills applying to the electric power industry, with several states committing to emissions reductions through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and other states making broad organizational changes to their regulatory processes.
DOVER -- Four state agencies rebuffed Conectiv Energy's request to submit an offshore wind farm proposal to compete with Bluewater Wind. At Tuesday's Public Service Commission meeting, Conectiv officials argued they would have submitted a proposal for a wind farm earlier if they had known that state officials were seriously thinking about commissioning one. Instead, they proposed a natural gas plant. But members of the commission, and other state agencies, collectively said Conectiv's overture came too late. Bluewater Wind is already in negotiations with Delmarva Power for a long-term power purchase agreement.
NRG Energy says it has no interest in building a wind farm off the Delaware coast. It is, however, interested in building a natural gas plant to back up that wind farm, and wants the state to insist that plant be built in Sussex County.
The shallow water just miles from the Rehoboth Beach shoreline could be the site of the country's first offshore wind farm -- but it will not be the only one, as similar projects are racing forward in Massachusetts and New York, experts say.
Delmarva Power filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the Delaware Public Service Commission's order that the company negotiate to buy power from a proposed offshore wind farm and a natural gas plant. The lawsuit, filed in Sussex County Superior Court, comes eight years after the state embraced deregulation, which has led to soaring electricity bills and engendered resentment from ratepayers and lawmakers.
WASHINGTON - The House rejected a resolution Wednesday that would block government plans to spur construction of major new power lines in many states regardless of local opposition. The issue has been contentious in parts of the East Coast and in the Southwest, where two high priority transmission corridors for power lines were proposed. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., warned colleagues that unwanted power lines could come to their district.
Cooper, who said he has only been keeping up with the wind farm proposal through the news, said his concerns lay with the farm's aesthetics. "I think a pristine skyline would be better than one with windmills in it," Cooper said. He did say he understands the wind farm would be far enough off the coast so as it would not be clearly visible. Bluewater Wind had completed a photo realization tour down the coast, where they exhibited rendered photographs of actual, local beach views of the ocean -- with the windmills digitally rendered on the horizon. Based on those photo realizations, the wind farm would be barely visible on clear days, and completely out of sight on hazy ones.
Conectiv Energy is asking the state to reconsider the utility's plan to build a natural gas plant at its Hay Road facility north of Wilmington. Four state agencies rejected the proposal last month. The state erred when it instead chose a more costly combination of an offshore wind farm and a natural gas backup plant somewhere in Sussex County, Conectiv argued in a filing to the agencies Monday. Conectiv attorney Elizabeth Wilburn wrote that if the state insists on a wind farm, Conectiv and NRG Energy have the right to compete with Bluewater Wind for that contract.
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.
Offshore wind farms, such as the one planned off the Sussex County coast, will have to wait to gain federal approval because of a laborious effort to regulate the technology. Bluewater Wind, bolstered by an endorsement from four state agencies last week, hopes to build as many as 200 wind turbines in the Atlantic. The company says its turbines will generate pollution-free electricity at a stable price. At the direction of the state agencies, negotiations have begun between Bluewater and Delmarva Power for a long-term power purchase agreement. But even if they strike a deal, and the company wins state and local permits to build an offshore wind farm, Bluewater will have one time-consuming hurdle left.
The state agencies also ordered Delmarva to negotiate with NRG and Conectiv Energy to build a natural gas backup plant, to provide power on peak demand days when the wind turbines may not be moving as much. Even opponents of wind power say a national audience can take lessons from what happened in Delaware. The fact that the state wants to build a natural gas backup shows the real cost of building wind power, said Lisa Linowes, executive director of Industrial Wind Action Group in New Hampshire. "It's like buying a car, and you need to buy a second car on afternoons when it's really hot," Linowes said. Delaware is embracing wind because "socially, it'll be wonderful," but is "shutting the door on this great coal opportunity," Linowes said.
DOVER -- Environmentalists exchanged high-fives on Tuesday after four Delaware agencies ordered Delmarva Power to negotiate to buy power from a proposed offshore wind farm -- the first in the United States. Negotiations begin Thursday between Delmarva and Bluewater Wind to see if they can strike a long-term agreement to harness the wind over the Atlantic Ocean for Delmarva's standard offer service customers.
A natural gas plant is suited for that backup role, said Dave Bayless, a professor of mechanical engineering at Ohio University. A natural gas plant is able to fire up quickly, but a coal gasification plant starts up more slowly, he said. That means a coal plant used as a backup would be less responsive during peak demand periods, he said.
The state controller general says he's taking the temperature of legislative leaders before he decides whether to vote for wind power. Russell Larson said he'll meet with leaders of both parties in the House and Senate to get a sense of what they are thinking.
The [Public Service] commission voted unanimously for Delmarva Power to open negotiations with Bluewater Wind to buy power generated by as many as 100 turbines off either Bethany Beach or Rehoboth Beach. The commission also directed Delmarva to negotiate with Conectiv Energy and NRG Energy to back up the wind farm with a gas plant, located in Sussex County.
Delaware officials delayed making a decision Tuesday about a proposal to build 200 large windmills offshore of Atlantic beach resorts, saying they needed more time to study this and other competing power-plant bids...One sticking point seemed to be a new plan to combine the wind farm -- proposed several miles offshore of either Rehoboth Beach or Bethany Beach, Del. -- with a backup plant burning natural gas.
In the meantime, wind power is blowing strong. The Delaware proposal, which should get a preliminary green light this week from state officials, pits wind power against its traditional archrival: cheap, plentiful, but dirty, coal. So far, locals seem to be favoring wind, despite the fact that the turbines will be visible, albeit slightly, on the horizon of heavily trafficked beaches. Those beaches, and the tourists they attract, are a major source of state revenue.
So far, the debate over the windmills has turned on global questions about climate change and very local concerns about the impact on the ocean view. But from the beach, the wind farm's backers say, the giant turbines would look smaller than a boardwalk french fry.