An Overt Effort to Scuttle Wind Power in the General Assembly
Last week State Sen. McDowell and five colleagues sent a letter directing the controller general to hold off approving a final deal until he had consulted with the General Assembly. This week, McDowell and State Rep. Deborah Hudson sent a letter to their colleagues making the case for scuttling the current negotiations to bring wind power to Delaware:
October 2, 2007The language of the letter ("Rep. Hudson and I believe...") makes it clear that McDowell is the author.
The Members 144th General Assembly
Rep. Hudson and I have recently had the honor of traveling to Europe with Gov. Minner. During this business trip we had an opportunity to meet with several Dutch companies who are working to develop wind power. We have gathered a great deal of information concerning Delaware energy policy that we wish to share with you:
1. On average, the Dutch electricity consumer pays about 30 cents per kWh – twice as much as Delaware consumers – in order to justify expensive options like off-shore wind;
2. The Dutch have built many onshore wind farms. They have started only one off-shore wind power plant and it is experimental. They reported their onshore wind farms are much less expensive than the experimental offshore power plant.
3. Before deciding to build the experimental offshore power plant, the Dutch completed a detailed off-shore wind study with actual data on wind speeds for every hour of the year.
4. When the decision was made to build the experimental project, the Dutch chose a size that is one-third the size of the power plant proposed for construction in federal waters off the Delaware coast.
5. The government agreed to provide large subsidies so that the electricity price would increase but not too fast.
6. A representative from Vestas Wind Systems (a leading producer of wind turbines) recommends that off shore wind turbines should not be in service for more than 20 years.
Based on the energy information gathered on our trip to the Netherlands, we believe it would be prudent for Delaware to consider the following steps:
• Recognize that off-shore wind power plants are experimental
• Require completion of a detailed wind resource assessment based on actual data before using higher taxes or higher electric bills to pay for development of this experimental technology
• Conduct a quantitative analysis of off-shore wind, onshore wind and other renewable energy options in the PJM territory, and energy efficiency and conservation options by our households and businesses, in order to create an objectively based menu of cost-effective green energy options for Delaware (we can do this through the integrated resource planning process that the Governor and the General Assembly created in last year’s legislation)
• The choice of green energy options should be based on a competitive bidding process including all cost-effective alternatives.
In closing, wind power is certainly an exciting and intriguing form of alternative energy. Rep. Hudson and I believe that an affordable form of wind power should be factored into Delaware’s Renewable Energy Portfolio.
Harris B. McDowell, III