Saturday, February 16, 2008

Delmarva Power Truth Squad, Part 3

The public is clamoring for clean energy. Energy prices are rising. But don't worry, Delmarva Power president Gary Stockbridge is on the case. He describes how his company is looking out for our interests in today's News Journal:
Our obligation to our customers is clear, and over the past few years I have heard it repeatedly up and down the Peninsula: We need to increase our use of renewable energy and keep the rates low.
There's another place he might have heard of such an obligation: House Bill 6, which established the energy procurement process Delmarva Power is so intent on derailing. House Bill 6 set criteria for selecting a new energy generating source, including:
the cost-effectiveness of the project in producing energy price stability, reductions in environmental impact, benefits of adopting new and emerging technology, siting feasibility and terms and conditions concerning the sale of energy output from such facilities.
Delmarva Power's president want you to know he's on your side:
In 2007 we stood up in support of some of the most aggressive renewable goals in the state and across the country. Today we are standing up and fighting to keep rates low.
What Mr. Stockbridge failed to mention is that his company is standing in the way of implementing HB 6, through lobbying and a lawsuit challenging the enforcement of the law. He goes on to offer his interpretation of what
our state government is trying to do:
There is only one reason to rush into a 25-year contract for $5.6 billion that will not even start for five years, a fear that the alternatives will present a far more attractive proposal.
First, who's rushing? The PPA now on the table is the result of numerous hearings, reports and analyses, thousands of public comments over more than a year.
As for the many reasons to push for the approval of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), these are enumerated in the whereas clauses of House Concurent Resolution 38, including:
WHEREAS, the Public Service Commission staff report finds that the Power Purchase Agreement meets the criteria established by House Bill 6, including price stability, reduced environmental impact, and the use of new technology; and
WHEREAS, operation of the proposed offshore wind farm would provide jobs for Delawareans and make Delaware a leader in a new industry at a time when manufacturing jobs are disappearing; and
WHEREAS, construction of the proposed offshore wind power facility would make a significant contribution to a reduction in greenhouse gas and toxic pollution emissions; and
WHEREAS, citizens of Delaware have offered thousands of comments and letters in favor of the proposed wind power facility; and
WHEREAS, the Public Service Commission, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Energy Office and the Controller General did not act on the Power Purchase Agreement because of the lack of a consensus among the four entities; and
WHEREAS, approval of the Power Purchase Agreement would endow Delmarva Power's customers with protection against future price increases and price volatility due to the rising cost of electricity produced from fossil fuels and international political uncertainties.
Evidently the 28 sponsors of HCR 38 don't agree that there is "only one reason" for moving ahead with offshore wind power. Seemingly oblivious of these other possible reasons, Stockbridge changes the subject by discussing the state's renewable energy portfolio standards:
Since the state set these aggressive goals, only a single renewable solution has been explored: the Bluewater Wind offshore proposal.
More precisely, only in-state renewable energy source has been explored in the RFP process. But then only one company submitted a proposal for consideration in the process.
Actually, there is nothing in the law that prevents Delmarva Power from searching for other sources of alternative energy. On the contrary, the annual Integrated Resources Planning process mandated by law, and being considered as a separate docket by the Public Service Commission, gives Delmarva Power the opportunity, indeed the obligation, to consider new sources of renewable energy.
If Delmarva hasn't yet found any other sources, then now would be a great time to do so. But wait, Stockbridge writes that Delmarva is doing just that, with the small caveat that the company wants to use this as an excuse for killing the Bluewater Wind project.
I don't understand why Delmarva Power is so hell bent on killing offshore wind in Delaware. One possible reason is the company's antipathy towards long term PPAs, which restrains the company from buying power on the open market. Some may know this approach as deregulation, through which the magic of the market is supposed to keep prices low. But then, we all know how that's worked out for consumers.

3 Comments:

Anonymous J Austin said...

Delmarva is hell bent to kill offshore wind, because the 155MW project on average represents 25% of the power needs through 2028. Tie them to one long term contract, then why not a second, a third.
Its the road to re-regulation.

5:03 PM, February 16, 2008  
Blogger Nancy Willing said...

Delmarva and Bluewater square off again at the Civic League for NCC meeting tomorrow night at 7PM at the Public Safety Building near the Del. Psychiatric Center in New Castle.
Come and ask them directly.

6:09 PM, February 18, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said from NJ Letters to editor:

Any elected official who repeatedly does what’s expedient at the time, despite common sense, lacks foresight, sound judgment, scruples or all of the above. The only cure for this malady can be found in the voting booth.

Ben Lisenby
Wilmington

2:46 PM, February 20, 2008  

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