Articles from Delaware
The federal government has taken the first step toward officially assigning a portion of Delaware's offshore waters to companies interested in building wind farms, including NRG Bluewater Wind. NRG wants to build an offshore wind farm, and already has a contract with Delmarva Power to buy the electricity.
Dover, Del. - When President Barack Obama announced March 31 he had authorized plans to move forward with oil and natural gas exploration off the Atlantic coast, he touted it as a way to responsibly and carefully put the country on track to using less foreign oil.
Detractors of offshore wind power have long pointed out that the wind doesn't always blow very hard, even over the high seas, which makes it a somewhat undependable way to keep the lights on. But a team of University of Delaware researchers say they've quantified a way to make that less of a problem -- and reduce the need to develop costly backup power plants on land or dip into the expensive peak-period electricity market when winds are limp.
Gov. Markell seems intent on saving our state's economy on the twin pillars of gambling and renewable energy. The former is the lesser of two evils, for I may chose not to personally support casinos, but I'm doomed to higher energy costs if mandates for solar and wind are extended. Turning backwards to renewable energy is equivalent to a revival of the horse and buggy industry.
Wind turbines towering up to 199 feet high might loom on Isle of Wight County's horizon. This week, county planners got their first look at a proposed code change that would pave the way for homeowners and businesses to begin using wind turbines to generate electricity. Under Isle of Wight's proposed regulations, homeowners and small businesses would be allowed to erect up to three turbines per lot by right.
Now regional power grid operator PJM Interconnection is dialing back its projections of future energy use amid a sluggish economy, increases in energy efficiency and the new economics of energy in the age of carbon consciousness. That has set off a domino reaction of delays in power companies' plans to build those lines, as PJM reassesses when the lines will be needed, if they're needed at all.
Delmarva will buy half the output at any given time from the 67-turbine wind farm. The utility's contract is with AES Wind Generation, the wind farm's developer. Under the contract, Delmarva also buys half the renewable-energy credits from the project.
DelaWind has withdrawn its application for a $350,000 investment from the state economic development office, as well as an application for tax credits from the U.S. Department of Energy, O'Brien said in a written statement. ...The uncertainty of when the turbines would be built affected the ability to attract financing, Carney said.
Speaking to a wind industry trade group Thursday, Gov. Jack Markell urged federal agencies to speed the permitting of offshore wind farms so construction can begin on schedule. But one federal official key to the permitting process said there's value to being more methodical.
NRG Energy officials are counting on Congress to reauthorize a loan guarantee program that the firm says is "crucial" to the success of a planned wind farm off Rehoboth Beach. Right now, the planned wind farm doesn't qualify for the program because it only covers projects set to start construction by Sept. 30, 2011. And that's a year or more before the construction on the Delaware project would start. Without the federal loan guarantees, NRG would need to pay higher interest rates on any borrowing, which could cut into the project's profitability.
It was dinnertime at the League of Women Voters' retreat in Rehoboth Beach on Oct. 31 when Lisa Pertzoff learned that NRG Energy might buy Bluewater Wind. Pertzoff told the league's president, who interrupted dinner with the announcement. "There was a stunned silence," Pertzoff said, then "there were some rueful chuckles."
But if Bluewater's offshore wind farm gets built, it may have both to thank for keeping the project afloat. Bluewater lost its financial backing when its Australian parent company, Babcock and Brown, was ravaged by debt and the global economic meltdown. The wind farm developer missed a critical deadline this summer to provide a letter of credit to Delmarva, which has a 25-year contract with Bluewater to buy power from turbines off the coast of Rehoboth Beach.
Bluewater Wind expects a controlling interest in the firm to be sold in the next few weeks, and sources familiar with the plan say the company is in serious negotiations to sell to NRG Energy Inc. In selling a majority stake in the offshore wind farm company, Bluewater would get the immediate financial help it needs to keep its projects moving forward, and the backing of a large energy company that should ease the financing of billion-dollar wind farms.
Delmarva Power's four power purchase agreements with wind developers should begin paying dividends by the end of the year, with the first clean-energy electrons flowing to the state later this fall. One land-based wind farm under contract to the local utility could start sending electricity to Delaware by year's end, and another in western Maryland could get its permit soon despite concerns the turbines could harm endangered species. That project has an easier path to approval thanks to a controversial new law that exempts smaller wind farm projects from an extensive environmental vetting.
Bluewater Wind expects to name a new investor within two months, pumping badly needed capital behind its plans to build a wind farm off Delaware's southern coast. Peter Mandelstam, president of the offshore power development company, said he is confident a deal will be completed within 60 days with a new ownership partner and that Babcock and Brown, its embattled Australian financier, would be out of the project by the end of the year.
New Jersey and Delaware environmental officials say a wind farm planned for the Delaware Bay could disturb an important flyway for birds. Delsea Energy of Toms River, N.J., has a plan to construct 106 turbines in the upper Delaware Bay, on the New Jersey side of the shipping channel that divides Garden State waters from those controlled by Delaware.
With plans moving forward in New Jersey and Delaware - not to mention recent progress in Cape Wind's years-long fight in Massachusetts - it's far from certain that Deepwater and Rhode Island will succeed in their quest to be first. And make no mistake, being first is important. For the developer, it means more than just bragging rights. It gives the company a leg up on its competitors as it tries to develop additional wind farms elsewhere. For the state, it means much-needed economic development and valuable green-collar jobs.
Many residents of this quaint beach town say they are all for green energy, but when Bluewater Wind officials came to town with a concept plan to bring the power cable from their proposed offshore wind farm under their beach, boardwalk and bandstand, they had one really big question: What's in it for the town?
A project that could involve the town in the Bluewater Wind offshore wind farm project has been proposed, and officials and residents are looking at possible plans with careful eyes. Bluewater is planning to construct a wind farm several miles off the coast of Rehoboth Beach in the coming years.
Delaware may want an offshore wind farm, and the idea has won more confidence than any other similar plan in the nation. But the company that has promised it has a few challenges to overcome, not the least of which is financing. Can Bluewater find its sea legs?