Friday, November 23, 2007

Russ Peterson on Wind Power

Public Service Commission Hearing on Delaware’s Energy Future
Statement by Governor Russ W. Peterson
November 20, 2007

Madam Chair, Commissioners, and agency representatives, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to speak on behalf of Delaware’s and our planet’s energy future. I have dedicated the better half of my career to protecting our global environment and to the extent that I have been successful, I consider that my legacy. We Delawareans can take pride in the contribution we have made, such as the law to protect Delaware’s coastal areas from destructive impacts of heavy industrialization and offshore loading facilities. We fought off the naysayers then and made a commitment to protect our natural heritage for future generations, and have reaped the benefits ever since.
The decisions you four agencies now make in shaping Delaware’s energy future will be part of your legacy, and Delaware’s legacy. Now is the time for Delaware to face up to the serious threat of global warming by embracing a form of electric generation that does not use the fossil fuels that cause it. You have the opportunity to make Delaware the first state in the nation to generate clean energy from an offshore wind park.
The wind is a free fuel – it transports itself – it doesn’t cause global warming – it does not, like the fossil fuels, emit effluents that poison us – it promises electricity at a stable price – it will not be subject to the carbon tax that will very likely and appropriately be applied to fossil fuels – and the technology for using the wind has been well established.
So, why not use it? The large investment in building and installing the wind turbines and transmission lines is high, and will result in a small premium for the electricity produced. The consultant’s report estimates about $1.60 per week for an average size house, the price of one half-gallon of gasoline. When a carbon tax is eventually applied to fossil fuels, the premium for wind will be much lower.
You four state agencies earlier blessed the Bluewater Wind proposal and asked Delmarva to negotiate with them. These negotiations have been less than successful. Delmarva Power has wildly exaggerated the premium for wind. She needs to get away from her love affair with fossil fuels and provide some leadership toward reducing the super-serious threat of global warming. I encourage you to do all you can to find common ground here.
A wave of concern about global warming and of resolve to do something about it is now growing and spreading all over the world. Just this past weekend the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change with members from 130 nations reported the results of their latest study. It showed that emissions of greenhouse gasses worldwide was increasing faster than predicted, and making global warming more dangerous than the worst case previously envisioned. The U.N. Secretary General, in releasing the report said, "Climate change is the defining challenge of our age," and called upon the United States to "play a more constructive role." You and I need to take this problem more seriously.
The Nobel Peace Prize Committee showed their concern recently by awarding their Peace Prize to the U.N. panel and to Al Gore for their work in enlightening the world to the threat of climate change. Our own University of Delaware Professor John Byrne is a prominent member of that panel. We can now recognize him as a Nobel Laureate.
More and more countries, states, cities, corporations, churches, and synagogues are becoming involved. The news media have made it a prime subject. The New York Times on Nov. 7 of this year had a twelve-page Special Section on the "Business of Green." Absent significant action by the Bush Administration, state governors are taking over creating regional agreements to cap greenhouse gas emissions. Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana told a group of Midwestern governors that dealing with global warming was the greatest imperative of this and future generations. "We need to find a sustainable, renewable American supply," he said.
President Harker of University of Delaware is working to establish a new Institute of Alternative Energy to develop renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The courts are getting into the action. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just rejected fuel standards established by the Bush Administration, telling them to produce new rules taking into account the value of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Clearly a powerful force is building to do something about global warming. We Delawareans have an opportunity to do so by building an offshore wind energy park.
Let’s get on with the job.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was hoping for a transcription of this speech when I saw his picture at the Nov. 20 hearing.....

Footnote: I understand he doesn't appreciate Cheney?

10:15 AM, November 24, 2007  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

Russ Peterson served in the Nixon White House as an environmental advisor. I have read that he and Cheney, who held several posts in the Nixon White House, did not get along.

8:30 AM, November 26, 2007  

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