Saturday, October 06, 2007

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, 2007

The Members 144th General Assembly

Dear Colleagues,

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

State Senate

1st District

Deborah Hudson

State Representative

12th District
The language of the letter ("Rep. Hudson and I believe...") makes it clear that McDowell is the author.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

sheesh, with the assistance of the extensive, scholarly background of our very own University of Delaware Oceans Studies Dept. staff, BlueWater Wind should be able to allay all of the good Senator's fears.

And with the ridiculous news, some of it just yesterday, about NRG and DP&L squabbling and grasping for a bigger piece of the energy future, our future surely is wind power. Wind power for Delaware has already given the nod to the company that has met the Senators' own lawful guidelines and timelines for getting sustainable energy online from a local source.

People who now wish to derail the process are perceived as not providing for their constituencies but rather for continuing the existing corporate monopoly. That is just not acceptable, either in fact or perception.

It is unethical to attempt a continued domination of the free market on a false promotion of a product's viability long after it rolls over the hill.

(in this case coal-fueled energy that PECO wants to shove down our throats by these federally mandated power lines going through Delaware from the WV mines points Northeast)

The expectation of an established, for-profit company, that they have a right to continue making a particular amount of return for their stockholders, becomes a sham once there is no longer the same market for their product.

And when the market in question is also a public utility, you had better believe that concerned citizens will be examining the motives of these companies and individuals for what looks here to be an obstruction of fair competition.

10:22 AM, October 07, 2007  

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