Friday, October 26, 2007

Will Turbine Problems Affect the Wind Farm?

The News Journal splashed news of a manufacturing problem with the maker of the turbines Bluewater Wind plans to deploy off the coast of Rehoboth, including worried sounds from Delmarva's designated concern troll, Bill Yingling:
Delmarva Power spokesman Bill Yingling said his company is disappointed Bluewater Wind didn't alert Delmarva to the mechanical problem during negotiations for a power purchase agreement.
Delmarva is a reluctant player in negotiations, having been forced by the state to seek a 25-year contract to buy wind power to stabilize electricity prices.
Here's why I'm not concerned about the suspension of production of the wind turbines Bluewater Wind plans to deploy off the coast of Rehoboth. First the company, Vestas isn't going out of business; it's just retooling a part in the turbine. Second, the proposed contract includes penalties of up to $68 million if Bluewater doesn't get the the wind farm up and running on time. And once online, if the turbines don't spin, Bluewater doesn't get paid. Bluewater Wind bears the risk, as it should. The company's ability to shoulder the risk was enhanced when Babcock & Brown, with its $50 billion in assets, took a majority stake in Bluewater.

Bluewater executive Jim Lanard shot back at
"We stand by the commitments we've made, and we're surprised that Delmarva would throw out this red herring without speaking to us directly," Lanard said.
Given that Delmarva doesn't want to do this deal, it seems to me the company's concerns are just a bit overplayed. I imagine power plants of all sorts face and overcome technical problems. For instance, the Salem nuclear power plant has a history of going offline due to engineering breakdowns, but I haven't heard Delmarva balk at buying electricity from Public Service Enterprise Group, which runs the plant. I don't know that Delmarva Power has ever played up a potential mechanical problem with a supplier as it's doing here.


Blogger Paul Smith Jr. said...

That was my impression opf this article as well. People who support the windfarm will see it as a minor retooling, those who don't will see it as a big issue. Someone's reaction to this news will tell you which side of ther issue they're on.

Is it just me, or does it seem like the News-Journal is clearly opposed to the wind farm?

10:18 AM, October 26, 2007  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

I don't know that the News Journal is taking sides here. I do think that opponents (Delmarva Power and some legislators) are trying everything they can to cast doubt on the project. They've been doing a pretty good job of feeding stuff to the News Journal to put the wind farm in a bad light.

10:22 AM, October 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happen to know that some of Conectiv's projects have been compromised in much more substantial ways, during the implementation. We are talking about retooling a plant four years before it has to produce anything for us.

The real question is why doesn't the WNJ give you or one of the other authorities on the subject a call for a quote.

4:33 PM, October 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definately the DP&L profit margin has been used to build infrastructure for Delaware's growth in recent years.

Two years ago at a CLNCC meeting I asked Stockbridge about the 90 miles line of new grid they had just finished putting up down the spine of the state. He admitted the yes, DP&L had been investing in lines and poles as it is known in the vernacular.

Food for thought that with this information about the upgrades at Connective makes this pretty cut and dried.

Power grid is one of the adequate facilities that we should not have to subsidize for development here in NCC by law. Yet, dayyum, there is is. They are getting over on us.

4:15 PM, November 04, 2007  

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