Monday, May 07, 2007

The PSC Meets Tomorrow to Discuss Delaware's Energy Future

The Public Service Commission (PSC) is scheduled to meet tomorrow, and Delaware’s energy future is on the agenda:
The Commission will hear argument and deliberate whether, in its judgment, Delmarva Power & Light Company should pursue a long-term power contract with one or more of the three bidders. The three State agencies (Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control, Office of Management & Budget, and Controller General) will also have to make a similar decision.
The Washington Post has the story on page A-1:
REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. -- Two hundred towering windmills, each so tall that its blades would loom over the U.S. Capitol Dome, could be built in the Atlantic Ocean near one of Washingtonians' favorite beach retreats, under a plan being considered in Delaware.
The plan, which could create the first wind "farm" in waters along the East Coast, envisions a thicket of turbines offshore of either Rehoboth Beach or Bethany Beach, Del. As the blades are spun by ocean winds, designers say, the wind farm could provide enough power every year for 130,000 homes.
The wind farm is one competitor in an unusual kind of power-plant bake-off: Delaware officials are also considering plants that would burn coal or natural gas as they seek ways to generate more electricity. A preliminary decision could be made tomorrow.
University of Delaware Professor Willett Kempton is circulating a letter he wrote to the PSC with Jonathon Levy of the Harvard School of Public Health, in which they estimate the net public health costs of forgoing wind power in favor of continuing to burn fossil fuels:
Focusing on premature deaths, this approach would yield an estimate of approximately 8 fewer deaths per year due to the Delaware wind park. Using EPA’s standard economic value of statistical life of approximately $6 million, these benefits are on the order of $50 million per year. There would also be proportional improvements in a number of other health outcomes, ranging from respiratory or cardiovascular hospital admissions to asthma attacks to days with restricted activity, as described in the Cape Wind EIS above.
Applying the above scaling factor to the findings reported for Cape Wind yields additional benefits of approximately 9 fewer hospital admissions, 3,500 fewer asthma attacks, and 10,000 days with restricted activities (major or minor), among other outcomes. These outcomes have direct and indirect economic consequences as well; using the values from the Cape Wind analysis with a 0.64 scaling factor yields an additional $6 million in benefits per year.
If we multiply the above health benefits over the 25-year life of the project, it will mean that the project will avoid roughly 200 deaths, with a total societal benefit of over $1 billion, along with numerous other health outcomes with a total societal benefit of approximately $150 million. If the health costs were discounted at a 3% social discount rate, that would be a discounted present value of approximately $1 billion. With the inclusion of other health outcomes and given the factors described above that might imply greater benefits per unit emissions reduction in Delaware, the discounted present value of the health benefits of the proposed wind park likely greatly exceeds $1 billion.
Over the 25-year contract term of the project, the State’s Independent Consultant estimated that Delmarva ratepayers would pay $493 million additional for the wind power. But, as we have shown, rejecting this bid in order to achieve an apparent $493 million savings in electric costs is not cost-effective because it imposes a cost of at least one billion dollars, and likely more than that, on the population and the health system. This cost was not included in the evaluation by either the Delmarva consultant or the Agency Independent Consultant, neither of whom included public health impacts in their analysis.
This analysis, which I urge you to read in its entirety, is based on the full 600 MWs wind proposal, and thus can be roughly scaled to the size of the wind farm being considered. In rough terms, every dollar in excess cost (as estimated by the PSC’s consultants) would translate into two dollars in health savings.
At this point, we all need to be mindful of the ways in which the events of the last week require that we revisit earlier economic estimates. Specifically, the hybrid proposal put forward by the PSC staff and the announcement by the Delaware Municipal Energy Corporation that it plans to buy $200 million to $300 million of electricity from Bluewater Wind over the next 25 years, make earlier assessments of the net cost of wind power even more tenuous.


Anonymous kaivps said...

The time for logic is quickly passing. The recalcitrance of Delmarva, proves that the time for the flexing of political muscle is now upon us. 94% of Delawarean have a lot of political muscle. How much? A lot more votes than Delmarva can buy, that's for sure.

Tonight is the night to leave your message with the General Assembly. At no other time through this process can individuals make as deep an impact as they do this evening. For those of you who call from close to your computer screen, click this link, then click House or Senate, for your representative. It is that easy. Those of us who are currently paying far too much for their energy, are hoping that switchboards light up tonight as never before.....


4:45 PM, May 07, 2007  
Anonymous Richard Martin said...

There is another way for Delaware to obtain inexpensive Wind Power. This way will not require any upfront investment by any goverment, industrial, or commercial entity.

I have attached a letter which I recently sent to the Governor.

Greetings Governor Minner:

I am a distributor of the new RaceCom Wind Turbine System. This revolutionary new system generates electricity without the use of a large propeller driven turbine. The entire unit sits on the roof of the facility to which it is supplying electricity. Less than ten feet in height, the RaceCom Wind Turbine should be able to be installed without any special building permit requirements. The Wind Turbine is extremely quiet and does not impose a danger to birds or other wild life. Best of all, unlike wind farms, the Wind Turbine is less likely to be subject to terrorist attacks because each facility has its own Wind Turbine.

RaceCom is willing to install the new Wind Turbine on any government, industrial, or commercial facility at NO COST. However, the facility must meet the following requirements:

1. The facility must be eligible for net metering or cogeneration.
2. The facility must have a flat roof and an adequate wind supply.

RaceCom will guarantee the Wind Turbine for a period of ten years and will maintain the unit for that period of time. RaceCom will receive a portion of the electricity cost savings over the ten year period as compensation for installing and maintaining the Wind Turbine. In addition, any grants or credits associated with the installation of a wind turbine will be assigned to RaceCom.

I urge you to contact me in order to discuss how we can work together to decrease the electricity costs for your citizens, and to decrease the dependence on foreign oil.

Sincerely yours,
Richard Martin
Penndleton Enterprises, Inc.
72 Fletcher Avenue
Cranston, RI 02920

11:21 PM, May 07, 2007  

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