Sunday, October 14, 2007

State Rep. John Kowalko Writes Regarding Wind Power

Earlier this month State Sen. Harris McDowell and State Rep. Deborah Hudson wrote a letter in which they urged that offshore wind power be considered "experimental" and that wind power should be built only as the result of "a competitive bidding process including all cost-effective alternatives." (Didn't we just do that?)
State Rep. John Kowalko has responded to the McDowell/Hudson letter:
Dear Colleagues,
Last week we received a letter from Senator McDowell and Representative Hudson about their recent trip to examine offshore wind park facilities in Amsterdam as part of an effort to better understand Bluewater Wind’s proposal to build a similar project off our coast. While I applaud their diligence, I believe they have conveyed some wrong impressions from their trip, perhaps because some of the facts they cite regarding the Dutch experience do not apply here.
The first and arguably most important issue raised in their letter is the price. While the Dutch may pay 30 cents per kWh, we here in Delaware will not. Bluewater Wind has committed to a price of 10.59 cents per kWh and guaranteed their price for 25 years, subject only to the rate of inflation. If they do not supply energy at the price agreed upon they are subject to heavy penalties.
Furthermore, the price of Bluewater Wind’s energy is directly tied to the size of the project and to the fact that it will not receive a government subsidy as the Dutch project does. In essence, the relative size of the project in comparison to the Dutch project Senator McDowell and Representative Hudson visited is what helps keep cost per kWh lower.
The second issue they raise is whether wind power is a proven or “experimental” technology. There are established wind parks across the globe and some countries are already building second and third projects because the technology works.
A third issue raised in their letter is whether there is data to support the fact that Bluewater Wind’s project can produce the energy it is pledged to provide. There has been significant research done, but if you need further assurances consider this: Bluewater Wind was recently purchased by Babcock and Brown, the world’s fourth largest wind farm developer and investor. I can assure you the new owners did not do so because they only “thought” or “hoped” the project would work.
As elected officials, we should act no differently. We should ask questions about the project, how it will work, its benefits and costs. It is our responsibility as elected public servants. But as we consider all the facts of the Bluewater Wind proposal, please consider one simple fact. Is Delaware going to take a lead role in developing clean, reliable and stable-priced energy as it prepares for its future?
If energy producers continue to use “dirty” fossil fuel based technologies, they will continue to produce pollution and contribute to the sea level that already threatens Delaware’s shores. If Delmarva Power purchases energy from another state rather than a Delaware based company, jobs are produced there not here. The Bluewater Wind project will create 500 jobs for the three year construction period and up to 80 permanent, union operations and maintenance jobs.
If we miss this opportunity we may not get another.
Representative John Kowalko
McDowell was interviewed by Allan Loudell on WDEL last Friday. (Hopefully, the podcast will be posted Monday.) When Loudell asked if he would instruct the controller general, who represents the General Assembly, to veto a deal, McDowell replied that he didn't want the controller general to "cherry pick" the data in favor of approving a deal. I have never heard any legislator complain that the controller general's office was in any way unfair or biased in its analysis.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that Senator McDowell had better be putting in the extra hours of study to satisfy himself of the validity of the details in this matter. He is asking. He had ought to take a look at the answers before him and realize that his fellow Delawareans are looking right over his shoulder.

7:31 AM, October 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you heard him on the 'DEL he apparently took what he was told at face value, and passed it on as gospel.

He has made a serious political error and should be called on it ASAP before the voters of the 1st.

It is particularly those voters, who need to understand that the results of what Harris McDowell was attempting, if continued unchallenged, would have raised our already high electrical rates, by some estimates even 60% higher!!!!!!!!!

Everyone needs to know that.......

6:32 PM, October 15, 2007  

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