Articles filed under General from Delaware
Four state agencies are expected to meet in Dover today to begin the final phase of state approvals for an offshore wind farm contract. ...The contract between Bluewater and Delmarva still needs the approval of the Office of Management and Budget, the legislative Controller General, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Public Service Commission.
But before you go all wacky for wind power, certain opposition groups like the Industrial Wind Action Group and National Wind Watch want you to hear their side of the story. Their claims are more than just not-in-my-backyard, wet-blanket-complaints. They believe the wind energy industry is spinning lies along with the turbines, luring large public subsidies for a system that is, at best, secondary to fossil fuels.
According to a June 25 legislative press release, lawmakers approved changes to laws controlling Delaware's renewable energy credit program and imposing a "non-bypassable surcharge" on all Delmarva Power customers to help spread out and lower the individual cost of the plan to build a wind farm about 11 miles off Delaware's Atlantic shoreline. Senate Bill 328 creates a 350% offshore wind renewable energy credit multiplier, makes the 350% renewable energy credit multiplier available for the life of offshore wind contracts, and spreads the cost and benefits of offshore wind power contracts executed by Delmarva Power to the company's entire customer base.
Compromise terms for an offshore wind farm no longer require a separate onshore backup generating plant in Sussex County, a Delmarva Power official said Monday. ...Under the original proposal, NRG Energy and Conectiv Energy Services Inc. offered to build natural-gas-fired plants to supply Delmarva when production lagged from Bluewater Wind LLC's proposed 300-megawatt wind farm east of Rehoboth Beach. The Public Service Commission ordered Delmarva to seek offers for up to 300 megawatts of backup power in 2007, citing concerns that Bluewater would be unable to meet its full advertised output during parts of the year. But the fact that Delmarva would be buying less power would mean it would have less to replace during periods of reduced wind.
After more than a year of back-and-forth between Bluewater Wind and Delmarva Power over a proposed offshore wind farm, the stage appears set for the final act. Neither side spoke publicly this weekend about the status of negotiations, which Senate Majority Leader Anthony DeLuca, D-Varlano, said last week were near completion. As of Friday, just one matter in a hundred-plus-page contract remained to be negotiated. Two people who have been informed about the status of negotiations said on Sunday that the last matter has been resolved. But as of Sunday night, the parties had not yet finalized the paperwork.
For Greg Menoche, the low hum coming from his backyard is like money in the bank. The Dagsboro-area man is one of a growing number of Delaware residents turning to small-scale wind power to generate electricity for their homes. ... Businessman Louis Thibault, who lives in a rural area near Millsboro, has won county approval for two windmills, but said he's still sorting through his options to pick the right turbine for his home. "I'm still not totally satisfied with what I've found," he said. "I'm not going to spend $20,000 on a wind generator and when I get it, it doesn't work." Flexera's Light said only a few reputable manufacturers are on the market now, and consumers need to be careful. "The vast majority are frauds," he said. "When there's a buck to be made, you end up having a lot of fly-by-nights out there. ... We research and sometimes get burned ourselves."
Bluewater Wind and Delmarva Power continued to chisel away at a wind farm compromise Tuesday. No deal was announced, but even Delmarva officials sounded optimistic a deal could be done, despite the company's long-expressed strong reservations about a state-arbitrated wind power contract. "We're working with Tony," said Delmarva President Gary Stockbridge, referring to Senate Majority Leader Anthony J. DeLuca. "At best, we're encouraged."
A vote on a proposed contract between Delmarva Power and Bluewater Wind was tabled in December, but efforts to reach agreement on a contract have recently regained strength. "We are making a lot of progress through the leadership of Lt. Gov. John Carney and the Senate majority leader," said Bluewater Wind spokesman Jim Lanard. ...Lanard said part of the solution might be changing the framework of the deal. He said parties were considering Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation (DMEC) purchasing more power from the project while Delmarva Power would purchase less than originally planned, reducing the contract for Delmarva Power.
Bluewater Wind and Delmarva Power will work through the weekend to try to forge an agreement on a long-term offshore power deal, with the talks boosted by Bluewater's agreement this week to move forward with a smaller power-purchase guarantee. Senate Majority Leader Anthony J. DeLuca, D-Newark East, said he is hopeful a compromise can be reached by next week, when time will essentially run out for negotiations he has been coordinating. ...Delmarva has said that's too much power at too high a price, and could sue if ordered to sign. The talks were bolstered this week by Bluewater's willingness to accept a smaller purchase commitment as a basis for getting the offshore wind farm project going.
Before we choose to build an offshore wind power plant, we should be aware of some engineering problems with wind power. In particular, too much wind is a problem. ...Let's imagine that the facility was already built and operating. As winds pick up, windmills spin and generate a full 450 megawatts. When the wind speed hits about 55 mph, the windmills shut down for safety reasons. In about 2 minutes, the output from the facility goes from 450 megawatts to zero.
Though two Synergics wind turbine projects in Garrett County have not yet been filed with the Maryland Public Service Commission, the energy expected to be produced by them has already been put under contract. ...The contracts signed are for a proposed Synergics project on Roth Rock bordering Mettiki Coal Co. on Backbone Mountain, according to Frank Maisano, wind-power industry spokesman. This project is expected to begin delivering 40 megawatts of power in September 2009. The second Synergics project will likely be on Four Mile Ridge near Avilton, where Synergics has meteorological towers situated to study the wind potential there, Maisano said. This project is expected to produce 60 megawatts of power by December 2010.
A surcharge on electric bills in Delaware and surrounding states that was designed to increase generating capacity hasn't delivered on its promise, four states are arguing in a complaint filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The states of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania filed the complaint late Friday, together with a coalition of electricity buyers and consumer advocates. They say the surcharge will overcharge electricity consumers in the 13-state territory in the PJM Interconnection grid by $12 billion between 2008 and 2011. As a share of that, Delmarva Power ratepayers in Delaware will overpay by about $125 million in "unjust and unreasonable" rates, the states claim.
Prior to building a wind turbine installation, a wind speed study should be conducted over the course of a year. Such a study will result in optimum design. ...The University of Delaware has a proposal to conduct such a study. It should proceed. No further work on wind power contracts should proceed until sufficient data is obtained. ...Fully study local wind conditions before spending billions of dollars to build wind farms in the ocean or on land.
One crewman died Monday after gale force winds and giant waves damaged a specialized research ship launched in March to study Delaware's offshore wind power resources. ...The ship, dispatched by a New Jersey company working for wind power developer Bluewater Wind LLC, was left adrift and ran aground off Bethany Beach. It ran into trouble on a day when the Coast Guard reported five rescues and a series of distress calls as winds in excess of 50 mph battered the coast. Cangemi said the Coast Guard's Philadelphia office would investigate.
An Atlantic City-based helicopter plucked two crewmen from the RV Russell W. Peterson at about 9:30 a.m. after they reported the ship was being pushed onto a jetty, taking on water and in danger of sinking. Both men were ferried to Peninsula General Medical Center in Salisbury, Md., according to Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher McLaughlin. Their names and condition were not immediately available. The Peterson, a former Gulf Coast oil industry service boat, was christened March 29 and sent to sea to support Bluewater Wind LLC's efforts to build a 150-turbine offshore wind farm in Atlantic waters east of Delaware.
Delmarva Power officials say they will recast recently published newspaper ads against the proposed Bluewater Wind project. The company stands behind the information they contain but will no longer use the headline "Public Notice," which has drawn a complaint to the Public Service Commission (PSC). ...University of Delaware professor Jeremy Firestone filed a draft complaint with the commission, seeking a retraction of the ads and an apology from the company. This week an environmentalist group retaliated against Delmarva Power with radio ads charging that Delmarva Power's campaign against the Bluewater Wind project is using misleading information.
As Delaware lawmakers debate the costs of offshore wind as an energy source, the University of Delaware is studying how to use onshore wind to power its Lewes campus. The university already has committed to spending $85,000 on the project and could receive $4 million if Congress approves requests from Sens. Joe Biden and Tom Carper. The senators included the request among millions of dollars in special projects they're seeking in next year's federal budget. ...The University of Delaware maintains its project is not connected to the current debate. There are only a few coastal areas in Delaware where such a project could work, and one is Lewes, Kempton said.
A bipartisan group of legislators Thursday unveiled a move to try to keep Delmarva Power from having its customers foot the bill for the Bluewater wind farm fight. House Concurrent Resolution 50, whose prime sponsor is Rep. John J. Kowalko, D-Newark South, recommends that the Public Service Commission deny any request by Delmarva to pass on the costs to ratepayers. "The campaign being waged by Delmarva Power and Bluewater and the expenses of that campaign must be borne by those entities. ...Delmarva spokesman Bill Yingling declined to take a position on the bill.
Wind farm generation may be in our future. However, the proposal that is currently before Delmarva Power customers for offshore wind generation is fraught with many problems. If an offshore wind farm has to be built, it should be adjacent to a utility that has a greater customer base than Delmarva has, so the cost per customer would be less.
Bluewater officials showed off the company's million-dollar investment today, chartering a vessel that will head out to sea this week. The vessel will start a 75-day study of bird activity in the area 11.7 miles off Rehoboth Beach, where the company's wind farm would be built. The studies will help determine the possible impact of 150 turbines on avian life. ...Delmarva has contended it doesn't need the power from the wind farm, and that a combination of transmission and conservation can ensure the area's electricity future. The company says offshore wind technology would result in higher rates for its customers. Delmarva also says it can satisfy state renewable power purchase rules by buying less expensive onshore wind power