Friday, February 01, 2008

John Carney Steps Up

Proponents of wind power have been pressing Lt. Gov. John Carney to exercise his influence to keep the Bluewater Wind project from being killed in the General Assembly. As the News Journal reports, Carney has stepped up with an announcement that Bluewater and its parent company, Babcock and Brown, plan to base their east coast operations here in Delaware—if the wind power agreement goes through:
Lt. Gov. John Carney requested the promise from Babcock and Brown, an Australia-based global energy and investment company that acquired Bluewater last year. Carney announced Thursday that the company had agreed to the pledge.
Bluewater is looking at ports, staging areas and training areas in Delaware, including at the Port of Wilmington and near Milford, Bluewater spokesman Jim Lanard said.
The statement from Babcock & Brown was short on specifics:
Statement of Hunter Armistead, head of Babcock & Brown’s North American energy group:
"Presuming Delaware approves the fully negotiated and pending Power Purchase Agreement with Bluewater Wind, the nation’s First State will become a world leader in the new clean energy economy as the first state to embrace offshore wind energy. Babcock & Brown has supported and invested in Bluewater Wind to establish an offshore wind energy business on the east coast, where renewable energy sources are greatly needed. We appreciate Lt. Governor Carney's leadership and initiative on this important issue and lookforward to working closely with him to make this a reality."
John Carney is putting his prestige on the line, and that’s a good thing. Wind power advocates—including Carney supporters—have been saying that John Carney has the most to lose if wind power dies here in Delaware. The pressure is on him to deliver, particularly in the Senate. Eleven Democratic members of the State Senate, including Harris McDowell, have endorsed John Carney. (Call it the Carney Caucus.) House Concurrent Resolution 38 has 21 Representatives and 7 Senators signed on as sponsors or cosponsors. If Carney’s announced supporters in the Senate vote yea, the deal gets done.
And if the deal gets done, there will be plenty of credit where credit is due, and the campaign for governor will focus on other issues. Jack Markell was the first statewide official to get behind wind power with
an op-ed he wrote in January of last year. Carney voiced his support for the wind farm back in May, just before the Public Service Commission and the other agencies directed Delmarva Power to negotiate a contract with Bluewater Wind back in May. The question for John Carney is not whether he supports wind power, but whether he can show the leadership with his own supporters to close the deal.

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