Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Delaware Chooses Wind Power

The Public Service Commission (PSC) and the other three state agencies charged with reviewing the energy proposals yesterday chose wind. More specifically, as the News Journal reports, they directed Delmarva Power to begin negotiations with Bluewater Wind and with either Conectiv or NRG to provide a natural gas backup generating facility. I will post the PSC's order as soon as it becomes available. (Update: It will be available online tomorrow.)
This is a huge victory for truly clean energy and for the long term interests of ratepayers. A large number of activists have worked very hard and impressed decision makers with the their determination and understanding of the issues. Bluewater Wind did a great job of winning over sceptics, such as the construction trades unions that originally backed NRG's proposal.
Negotiations are set to begin tomorrow and end possibly within 60 days, which strikes me as unlikely given the complexities of the issues. We will have to see how forthcoming Delmarva Power is when talks get underway. Three weeks ago, Delmarva president Gary Stockbridge said that the company wouldn't negotiate unless compelled to by court order. The company has wisely reconsidered its position:

Delmarva Power President Gary Stockbridge came under criticism several weeks ago for his vow not to negotiate. On Tuesday, he sounded more conciliatory.
"We will negotiate in good faith with all the parties," he said, adding he will try to get the best price for his customers, as well as buying an appropriate amount of power.
Delmarva has long argued it doesn't need to lock its customers into buying power from a new in-state source.
Even with its more conciliatory tone, Delmarva is offering the same rationale for being reluctant to enter into a long term agreement. As negotiations get underway, it will be important to distinguish between Delmarva's corporate interest and those of its customers. I'm guessing the state will have to push hard to drive the parties to a successful conclusion, which means that citizens interested in the outcome will have to stay vigilant.

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