Library filed under Energy Policy from Delaware
After Delawareans were faced with increases up to 60 percent on their electric bills last year, legislators decided to start a process to broaden the scope and availability of energy. They issued a request for proposals, which were reviewed by the Public Service Commission (PSC), Delmarva Power, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and other state agencies. The proposals they received included an offshore wind farm, a natural gas plant and a coal-fired power plant.
When the Delaware Public Service Commission ordered Delmarva Power to obtain local power sources, that was supposed to be a means of providing price relief for electric consumers. At least that's what the Delaware Legislature had in mind when they passed the legislation. Somehow, eco-dreamers hijacked the price relief aspect of the plan, and the result is a pie-in-the-sky scheme to put a wind farm off the Delaware coast...........I have a really bad feeling about staking future energy availability on a proposal by a company to build an unreliable power source out in the ocean to transmit electricity to the mainland for distribution.
WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) -- Multiple reports and studies, especially those published in the last year, suggest the United States, specifically the East Coast, has great potential for offshore wind. The politicized debate over whether to develop wind power offshore has dragged on since the late 1990s, when the first project was proposed in Cape Cod, Mass., off the Nantucket Sound. Since then there have been several other proposals, none of which has been completely approved.
Legislators in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic passed a number of bills applying to the electric power industry, with several states committing to emissions reductions through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and other states making broad organizational changes to their regulatory processes.
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.
NRG Energy says it has no interest in building a wind farm off the Delaware coast. It is, however, interested in building a natural gas plant to back up that wind farm, and wants the state to insist that plant be built in Sussex County.
WASHINGTON - The House rejected a resolution Wednesday that would block government plans to spur construction of major new power lines in many states regardless of local opposition. The issue has been contentious in parts of the East Coast and in the Southwest, where two high priority transmission corridors for power lines were proposed. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., warned colleagues that unwanted power lines could come to their district.
Offshore wind farms, such as the one planned off the Sussex County coast, will have to wait to gain federal approval because of a laborious effort to regulate the technology. Bluewater Wind, bolstered by an endorsement from four state agencies last week, hopes to build as many as 200 wind turbines in the Atlantic. The company says its turbines will generate pollution-free electricity at a stable price. At the direction of the state agencies, negotiations have begun between Bluewater and Delmarva Power for a long-term power purchase agreement. But even if they strike a deal, and the company wins state and local permits to build an offshore wind farm, Bluewater will have one time-consuming hurdle left.
The state agencies also ordered Delmarva to negotiate with NRG and Conectiv Energy to build a natural gas backup plant, to provide power on peak demand days when the wind turbines may not be moving as much. Even opponents of wind power say a national audience can take lessons from what happened in Delaware. The fact that the state wants to build a natural gas backup shows the real cost of building wind power, said Lisa Linowes, executive director of Industrial Wind Action Group in New Hampshire. "It's like buying a car, and you need to buy a second car on afternoons when it's really hot," Linowes said. Delaware is embracing wind because "socially, it'll be wonderful," but is "shutting the door on this great coal opportunity," Linowes said.
A natural gas plant is suited for that backup role, said Dave Bayless, a professor of mechanical engineering at Ohio University. A natural gas plant is able to fire up quickly, but a coal gasification plant starts up more slowly, he said. That means a coal plant used as a backup would be less responsive during peak demand periods, he said.
The state controller general says he's taking the temperature of legislative leaders before he decides whether to vote for wind power. Russell Larson said he'll meet with leaders of both parties in the House and Senate to get a sense of what they are thinking.
Delaware officials delayed making a decision Tuesday about a proposal to build 200 large windmills offshore of Atlantic beach resorts, saying they needed more time to study this and other competing power-plant bids...One sticking point seemed to be a new plan to combine the wind farm -- proposed several miles offshore of either Rehoboth Beach or Bethany Beach, Del. -- with a backup plant burning natural gas.
In the meantime, wind power is blowing strong. The Delaware proposal, which should get a preliminary green light this week from state officials, pits wind power against its traditional archrival: cheap, plentiful, but dirty, coal. So far, locals seem to be favoring wind, despite the fact that the turbines will be visible, albeit slightly, on the horizon of heavily trafficked beaches. Those beaches, and the tourists they attract, are a major source of state revenue.
An energy plan that would draw electricity from a natural gas-powered plant and an offshore wind farm in Sussex County could be a net loss for consumers, critics said Thursday. The proposal, issued by the Public Service Commission on Wednesday, would bring the nation's first offshore wind farm to the coast of Delaware. But it also calls for construction of a 177-megawatt natural gas turbine in Sussex County at a site east of Bridgeville to help balance erratic transmissions from the wind farm. And that, said Sen. Harris B. McDowell III, D-Wilmington North, is a costly combination.
A Public Service Commission staff report recommended directing Delmarva Power to negotiate with Bluewater Wind LLC to buy power from Bluewater's proposed offshore wind turbines. The report also said Delmarva should negotiate with Conectiv Energy to buy power from a natural gas plant in Sussex County, in part to provide backup for the wind power. The PSC released the 73-page report late Wednesday afternoon......The report acknowledged the recommendation might be expensive, but called it an innovative, environmentally friendly solution.
A new federal proposal to help electricity flow more freely could help the energy-choked East Coast. But it could also infuriate landowners, who have traditionally gotten their way in fights against utilities in Delaware. U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman last week named Delaware as part of his proposed eastern National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor. It would run from New York to Virginia, and west to Ohio. A second corridor would run through California, Arizona and Nevada.
A day after a consultant's report called for a delay in choosing a new power plant, speculation mounted that the process is on the verge of sputtering out and could wind up back with the General Assembly. "This has gotten off track," said House Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View. "I think it's going to get thrown back in our laps."
State regulators need more information - and possibly a new round of bids - before they rule on Delmarva Power's need for a new in-state power supply, according to a Public Service Commission consultant report released late today. The findings threatened to delay or disrupt a multi-billion dollar competition that has ignited an intense public debate over state energy and environmental policy. Public comment meetings on the issue are scheduled for next week in all three counties. Legislation approved last year called for a decision on the power plants bids by early May. Lawmakers ordered the selection process in a utility deregulation reform measure that also required Delmarva to submit a new 10-year plan for supplying customer needs. The consultant report released today found a series of gaps and weaknesses in Delmarva's proposed long-range plan. It also suggested a request for bids from out-of-state suppliers or development of a second-round of "renewable" energy project bids if state officials back an offshore wind-farm already under consideration. "Absent such a market test, we are not comfortable in making a recommendation that the state agencies direct Delmarva to negotiate a power purchase agreement with any of the bidders," the consultant wrote.
States with renewable portfolio standards have generated growth in the renewable energy sector, but many of the Appalachian states don't have one. Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and New York all have some fairly progressive goals, but West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee don't have a state RPS and wind projects often ignite battles.
GEORGETOWN -- Wind and coal power advocates pressed their case, sometimes angrily, Monday as the first round of public comments ended in a potential multibillion-dollar race for rights to build a new Delaware power plant. About 150 people turned out for the state-sponsored session at the Georgetown campus of Delaware Technical & Community College. Four state agencies convened the meeting while evaluating three proposals for plants ranging in size from 177 megawatts to 600 megawatts. State lawmakers ordered Delmarva Power to seek new, reliable in-state electric supplies for its standard-offer customers last year after public complaints about rate hikes that followed deregulation in 1999. Bids included Conectiv's proposal for a 177-megawatt, mostly natural gas-fired plant to meet peak needs; Bluewater Wind LLC's offer of a 200-turbine windmill farm off the Atlantic Coast and NRG Energy's proposal for a 600-megawatt plant that would burn synthetic, natural gas-like fuel made from coal.