Sunday, December 16, 2007

Wind Power: What Should Be Done

On Tuesday, the Public Service Commission (PSC), the Office of Management & Budget (OMB), the Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC) and the Controller General will meet to consider, and possibly decide, the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between Bluewater Wind and Delmarva Power. The PSC staff report issued Friday offers a sound argument for adopting the PPA, and recommends that the agencies do so with one proviso:
After an informed and deliberative review of the proposed PPA, Staff recommends that the State Agencies approve the PPA with the condition precedent that the Commission enter an order approving a non-bypassable charge, pursuant to 26 Del. C. § 1010(c), that spreads the cost associated with the PPA to Delmarva’s entire customer base.
There has been considerable discussion, and plausible arguments offered, for spreading the costs beyond Standard Offer Service (SOS) customers. However, such a decision lies beyond the matter on the table before the PSC on Tuesday.
As I wrote to the PSC on Thursday, approval of the PPA should not be conditioned on any legislative change to EURCSA, the law governing the process:
If the PSC and other state agencies believe that it would be appropriate to extend the customer base, it should be presented to the General Assembly in the context of an approved PPA. We have all gained an appreciation of the complexity of this process, and should not want the possible need for action on one point—extraneous to the PPA itself—to provide an opening to revisit the entire range of issues reflected in the PPA.
In other words, action on the PPA should be governed by the current law, and not delayed by any possible revisions now being contemplated. The wind power deal on the table would be good for Delaware for reasons cited in the PSC staff report, and merits approval now as provided for under EURCSA.

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