Articles from Delaware
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."
The financial troubles of Bluewater Wind's parent company will likely not have an impact on the project being debated in Delaware, observers said. But one analyst said the Bluewater project has other issues that make it far from a sure thing, even if they sign a contract with Delmarva Power. ...In Delaware, despite indications on Friday that Bluewater and Delmarva were close to an agreement, no announcement was made Monday. Senate Majority Leader Anthony DeLuca said last week the parties had until early this week to reach agreement, or the Senate would consider its next steps.
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.
Reports coming out of Dover hold that the two sides in the great battle of the offshore wind farm are negotiating. Where they will lead, we don't know. ...The legislators passed a law directing Delmarva Power to find a reliable local source of electrical power and ended up with that, plus an almost religious battle over offshore wind power. Delmarva opposed this setup from the beginning. And never too far away is the spectre of a long legal fight that could delay action even longer. ...Listening to the radio advertisements put out by both sides is like going on a roller coaster ride. True believers on either side of the fight have no trouble finding the truth, but everyone left in the middle is dizzy and slightly sick to the stomach.
Bluewater Wind, Delmarva Power and municipal utilities are edging closer to a deal that could end a yearlong battle over building a $1.6 billion offshore wind farm. Senate Democrats are pushing for a compromise that could be reached within a matter of days, according to those close to the talks. But they temper such optimism with the fact that Delmarva has walked away from earlier talks. ...The utility says it's unfair to make its customers pay more for so much power from an expensive new technology.
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.
It's been all quiet on the wind front in Delaware, as the state's budget woes dominate discussion in the Legislature. For now, debate by elected officials of a proposed offshore wind farm has been moved to the back burner in Dover. But offshore wind farm supporters continue to lobby lawmakers to approve the project, the fate of which has been in limbo since December, when representatives of four state agencies tabled a vote on a proposed contract between Bluewater Wind and Delmarva Power.
In a pre-emptive strike against a proposed Bluewater Wind contract, Delmarva Power has signed contracts with a land-based wind farm provider for up to 100 megawatts of power at any given time. Delmarva announced today it had signed the contract with Annapolis, Md.-based Synergics Wind Energy for up to 100 megawatts of energy and renewable energy credits from wind farms in western Maryland.
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.
Delaware's two big wind-power initiatives face an uncertain future as millions of dollars in federal subsidies are being held up in Congress. ...In the absence of an extension for the credit, Delmarva would likely have to wait out a delay in construction, or pay more for the power. The Bluewater project's timeline is longer, making it less susceptible to the short-term political stalemate. But the uneven history of the credit underscores a risk to the Bluewater project, observers say. ...Bluewater spokesman Jim Lanard said it was "unimaginable" that Congress would stop funding the tax credit, and that Bluewater was prepared to move forward with the project even if Congress elects to fund the tax credit on a year-by-year basis.
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.
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.
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.
A legislative move to keep Delmarva Power from having its customers foot the bill for the Bluewater wind farm fight fizzled today, at least temporarily. 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. But Kowalko's resolution encountered heavy weather in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee, whose chairman, Ocean View Republican Rep. Gerald W. Hocker, blasted it as "one of the most anti-business pieces of legislation I have seen."
Delmarva Power said Wednesday that it has selected six companies with which to negotiate contracts for 460 MW of power from onshore wind farms. Delmarva had 31 offers in response to a solicitation for alternatives to a power purchase agreement with Bluewater Wind, an offshore wind developer. That PPA, tabled in December and still under debate, was the result of a state law that required Delmarva to contract for power produced in the state.
When the Sustainable Energy Utility was formed last year, lawmakers envisioned a small nonprofit that could help Delawareans insulate their homes, buy energy-efficient refrigerators or install solar panels. But the SEU's scope could grow dramatically, thanks to a regional effort to tax polluters. Its coffers could swell by $5 million to $12 million per year, thanks to so-called "carbon taxes." At a time when other agencies are cutting back, the SEU could become a big player in the state's environmental efforts, and influence the debate about whether Delaware needs more power plants or alternatives, such as offshore wind turbines.
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.