Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Delaware
A new state law conflicts with Sussex County's windmill ordinance - bringing the local wind turbine industry to a grinding halt. Under county regulations, at least 5 acres of land are required for placement of a wind turbine without a variance ...Under new state law no conditional uses or other zoning review processes are required for placement of a wind turbine.
The University of Delaware's new 253-foot-high wind turbine already has the City of Lewes looking toward the future. How should the city handle requests from property owners seeking to install a residential version of a wind turbine? ...Vaughan said the city has to consider the impact residential wind turbines would have on Lewes' streetscape.
In response to concerns that area residents may start erecting their own wind turbines within city limits, officials are considering a moratorium on the installation of such structures. According to officials, the ban could last a year or more as officials attempt to adopt regulations. Mayor Jim Ford said the city's building codes do not currently contain language pertaining to wind turbines.
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.
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.
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."
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.
The House solidly approved a resolution Thursday demanding approval of a 150-turbine offshore wind park east of Rehoboth Beach. The 25-11 vote was the clearest legislative endorsement so far of the $1.5 billion construction project and came as project supporters lobbied to head off a damaging report that is soon to be released by a Senate committee. ..."I think to send a message forcing a for-profit company, when you're in a time of deregulation [to sign a contract] is completely the wrong thing to do," said Rep. Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View, who voted against the bill. He warned that some customers would abandon Delmarva, raising the costs of the wind farm for remaining residents.
Delaware should kill a 25-year purchase proposal for offshore wind energy, according to a draft report prepared for a legislative committee reviewing the state's energy supply. ... The draft -- written by committee Chairman Harris B. McDowell III, D-Wilmington North -- says that Bluewater Wind's offshore energy venture in Delaware could be jump-started with public aid. However, if approved as is, the report could be the death knell for a state-mandated offshore wind contract between Bluewater Wind and Delmarva Power. "Probably the report will determine what will be done" on the wind vote in the Senate, said Senate President Pro Tem Thurman Adams Jr., D-Bridgeville.
The House solidly approved a resolution today demanding approval of a 150 turbine offshore wind park east of Rehoboth Beach, while project supporters worked to head off a separate, damaging committee analysis. The 25-11 vote vote sent the measure to an uncertain future in the Senate, where both Democratic and Republican leaders have had more reservations about the project's cost, fairness and effect on Delmarva Power. ...The Senate may decide to give guidance a different way, but the important thing is one of two houses has given guidance to the Controller General to support the contract with Bluewater." Others were less happy. "I think to send a message forcing a for-profit company, when you're in a time of deregulation [to sign a contract] is completely the wrong thing to do," said Rep. Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View, who voted against the measure. He warned that some customers would abandon Delmarva, raising the costs of the wind farm for remaining residents.
Legislation to force the state to approve a proposed offshore wind farm to generate electricity was sent to the full House late Wednesday, after a committee hearing dominated by supporters of a 150-turbine project east of Rehoboth Beach. But the Energy and Natural Resources Committee also approved a measure calling for another bill that would spread Bluewater Wind's electricity costs beyond Delmarva Power's customers to all state electricity customers, a provision many believe would kill Bluewater's project. Prospects for quick action on either measure, House Concurrent Resolution 38 or HCR 4, was unclear. A Senate committee has been holding its own hearings on costs and alternatives to Bluewater's project since February, with a report expected in April.
Bluewater Wind's parent company has pledged to make Delaware the hub of its mid-Atlantic offshore operations if the state approves a long-term wind electricity contract with Delmarva Power. ...Sen. Charles Copeland, R-West Farms, a skeptic of the wind contract, said it was a positive development for a state losing its manufacturing jobs, and a wise move for Bluewater. Copeland wondered whether Babcock would have decided to make Delaware its center of offshore operations anyway, without the pledge, "but it does solidify it some. ...It's always good during an election year when politicians actually do what the voter is requesting of them," Copeland said. But he said the announcement was short on specifics, and still doesn't make the project any more affordable for low-income Delaware ratepayers.
Is offshore wind power terribly expensive or a great bargain? It depends on whom one asks. In the debate over offshore wind power, Delmarva Power, Bluewater Wind and their allies have used charts and graphs to make their point. They are often based upon studies that make very different assumptions. But as the parties head back into negotiations, Public Service Commissioners and staff hope that Delmarva Power and Bluewater Wind can agree on some common measurements.
... since any wind farm construction would be several years away anyway, there is no urgency to stop the clock on negotiations now. This also matters because a Delaware wind farm could be the first offshore in the nation. Although there are land installations across the country, other wind projects off Cape Cod and Long Island have been stymied by controversy, including over aesthetics, cost and habitat impacts.
The Public Service Commission has developed serious reservations about Bluewater Wind's plans to build an offshore wind farm and windmills to help provide the state with affordable electric power. Bluewater has been hailed by many as a source of affordable, clean, renewable energy. But a PSC report on Oct. 30 cast doubts on those plans. ...The wind farm with a natural gas backup plant emerged as the winners of that effort. But the PSC report now says that the plans by Bluewater are not in the public interest because of the dramatic increase in price for the public.
An upcoming decision by the Sussex County Board of Adjustment will chart a course for the future of a new county business, and it could also set a precedent for the fate of a readily available alternative energy source. NextGen Energy Inc., an alternative energy company in Millsboro, wants to get into the wind turbine business but has run into a major stumbling block. Under current county regulations, windmills for residential or commercial use on lots of fewer than five acres are not permitted.
... Delmarva, unhappy it is being forced to buy power in the first place, hopes to minimize the amount of energy its buys on a long-term basis. The power company is concerned about the cost of wind power and has long contended it wants to protect its customers from having to pay for excess energy. In May, the Public Service Commission and three other state agencies ordered Delmarva to negotiate with Bluewater Wind for a 200-300 megawatt offshore wind farm.
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.
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.
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.