Library from Delaware
A Delmarva Power consultant estimates that three land-based wind contracts will cost residential customers the equivalent of 24 cents more a month over the life of the contracts. The estimate was part of a package of financial information Delmarva has submitted to the Public Service Commission, which will consider approval of the company's land-based wind power contracts in the coming months.
The "Birds, fish may like wind farm" article on Monday 11 was poorly researched. It has been well-documented that thousands of birds (from large raptors to small warblers) are killed by land-based wind turbines in the western U.S. each year. And many species of migrating birds using the Atlantic Flyway cross Delaware Bay between southern New Jersey and Delaware every fall and spring. Neither of these facts was mentioned in the article.
Lori Neuman, NRG Energy spokeswoman, said because wind is an intermittent resource, NRG Energy will seek permission for a back-up resource, such as a natural-gas-fueled plant. Bluewater Wind's planned offshore wind farm now has state approval and is on its way to securing required permits. But, the approved contract requires Delmarva Power to purchase significantly less power from the wind farm than previously planned.
The final blessing by the agencies on a compromise power purchase contract between Bluewater Wind and Delmarva Power came in the House Chambers at Legislative Hall, allowing Bluewater to begin the permitting phase for a 200-megawatt farm off the coast of Rehoboth Beach. At the same time, the agencies agreed that the debate over whether to mandate construction of a backup natural gas plant in Sussex County would be handled by the Public Service Commission, which regulates Delmarva Power, thus excusing the other three agencies from a role.
One of the most anticipated political votes of the year unfolded as a friendly formality Thursday, as four state agencies unanimously ratified a contract to build what may be the nation's first offshore wind farm. ...At the same time, the agencies agreed that the debate over whether to mandate construction of a backup natural gas plant in Sussex County would be handled by the Public Service Commission, which regulates Delmarva Power, thus excusing the other three agencies from a role. The backup plant was intended to provide a reliable local power source for times when the wind is not blowing as hard.
State officials on Thursday approved an agreement between Delmarva Power and a wind farm developer that could lead to the nation's first offshore wind farm off the Delaware coast. The agreement between Delmarva Power and Bluewater Wind LLC was unanimously approved by the Public Service Commission and representatives of three other state agencies. The agreement, which follows months of conflict and negotiations between the two companies, calls for Delmarva to buy up to 200 megawatts of power annually for 25 years from a wind farm about 12 miles off Rehoboth Beach.
A new Delaware power plant burning natural gas is still worth pursuing, but it should be handled as part of Delmarva Power's long-term planning process for acquiring electricity, the Public Service Commission staff has recommended. The staff, whose counsel the PSC usually follows, also recommended giving final approval to the compromise between Bluewater Wind and Delmarva for a wind farm project off Rehoboth Beach. ...On Thursday, the four agencies are also scheduled to give some direction to the natural-gas plant proposal, which has been less popular politically. The PSC staff originally recommended the backup plant in large part because it would provide electricity when the wind isn't blowing as hard.
Maryland has opened energy supply talks with a Delaware offshore wind developer, hoping to tap into green energy from an expanded wind farm off Rehoboth Beach. State Energy Administration officials in Maryland said Wednesday that options now under review include using Bluewater's proposed turbine complex to power all of Maryland's state and county buildings, and possibly drawing energy from a second wind farm that could be built off Ocean City. ... "This is in its infancy. At first blush, I would say: Build it in Delaware, let us look at it, let us see how it looks and what kind of problems you have first," Hall said. Neither of Bluewater's talks in Maryland and New Jersey currently involve forced contracts or costly, regulator-driven deals of the type used in Delaware to produce the Delmarva contract.
Representatives of four state agencies will reconvene Thursday, July 31, and have planned to cast their final vote on a contract between Bluewater Wind and Delmarva Power that could lead to the nation's first offshore wind farm. Representatives of the two companies say they are optimistic the state agencies' representatives will support their contract. ... Changes were made to the state's renewable energy portfolio requirements, giving Delmarva Power 350 percent credit for each renewable energy credit it purchases from Bluewater Wind.
The Delaware Electric Cooperative and its 11 sister co-ops have signed an agreement to buy power from a planned land-based wind farm in Pennsylvania. The Old Dominion Electric Cooperative has signed a 15-year agreement with AES Corp. for power from a planned wind farm straddling Tioga and Bradford counties in north-central Pennsylvania. It is named the Armenia Mountain Wind Energy Project. The purchase includes half the power and half the renewable energy credits from the facility, which is expected to produce between 100 and 140 megawatts of power when the wind is blowing hardest, the company reported.
State officials outlined the final steps needed to approve the Bluewater Wind contract with Delmarva Power on Tuesday, as the federal government published long-awaited proposed rules for offshore wind farms. ...During the meeting, Bluewater Wind President Peter Mandelstam noted that the federal Minerals Management Service had just unveiled 450 pages of proposed rules governing offshore wind farms. None has been built off the U.S. coast, and none can be placed in federal waters until the rules are enacted. Federal waters begin three miles from shore.
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.
The average residential Delmarva Power customer could end up paying just 70 cents a month more over the next 25 years for Bluewater Wind's power than they would have paid for fossil-fuel generated electricity, a team of state consultants said Thursday. The projection is significantly lower than the $6.46 a month "wind power premium" the consultants projected in a December analysis of the previous proposed contract between Bluewater and Delmarva, which would have had Delmarva buy twice as much wind power. ...Under the new, smaller contract, Sheingold estimates the average monthly additional cost on a residential customer, averaged over 25 years, will be 70 cents. In the early years, those additional costs will be an estimated $1.79 a month over market, and over time, will turn into a savings as fossil fuels get more expensive.
Delaware lawmakers took an $800 million step toward a cleaner energy future last week, endorsing a 200-megawatt offshore wind farm likely to spin off more noise than light -- at least for now. The Bluewater Wind venture on average would power only one out of 15 light bulbs in Delaware's homes and small businesses when it begins operation in 2013. That 6.7 percent share of nonindustrial power sales would pose no threat to coal as king of overall electric supply in Delaware and would barely register on regional and national power grids dominated by coal and nuclear. ..."I don't think business decisions should be legislated like that. The wind farm is a good, positive thing, but they've rammed it down somebody's throat and they're making people pay for it," Blanchies said. "When the state is trying to promote something, they should provide grants and do other things to promote it, not take money away from the ratepayers."
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.
Delmarva Power signed a landmark offshore wind power deal with Bluewater Wind on Monday, agreeing to buy enough power to light 50,000 homes in Delaware for the next 25 years. The long-awaited, $800 million deal could make Delaware the first state in the nation to build a wind farm off its shores. An array of as many as 70 towering windmills would rise in a tract east of Rehoboth Beach by 2012. ...Both parties agreed the contract will cost average residential customers about $5 a month more -- over the 25 years -- than they would have paid for electricity without offshore wind power. With volatile fossil fuel prices, no one can predict how much additional cost -- or savings -- customers may see over the life of the contract.
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."