Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Wind Power Hearings Open Tomorrow

The first of five hearings on how to avoid bringing wind power to Delaware is tomorrow at 6:30 PM in the Senate chambers in Dover. Senator Harris McDowell, who chairs the Energy and Transit Committee, has called five hearings on doing something, anything, other than building a wind farm in Delaware, and while we're at it, how about scrapping the requirements of HB 6.
The attitude of McDowell and other opponents of the wind farm is: We're for renewable energy, just not here, just not now, not too fast, and certainly not too much.
Not here means not in Delaware. Not now means not anytime soon. Not too fast means that legislators should feel free to scrap the process underway for more than a year and start over. Not too much means that trying to buy smaller quantities of onshore wind power is preferable to building 450 megawatts of offshore wind in Delaware.
Members of the public are invited to speak at tomorrow's hearing. I will be there to point out the shaky assumptions behind the assertion that we can't afford wind power. On that subject, the New York Times yesterday ran a story on how resistance to building new coal power plants is leading to greater demand for higher natural gas, which leads to higher prices:
With opposition to coal plants rising across the country — including a statement by three investment banks Monday saying they are wary of financing new ones — the executives see plants fired by natural gas as the only kind that can be constructed quickly and can supply reliable power day and night.
But North American supplies of natural gas will be flat or declining in coming years, according to the Energy Information Administration. The United States already has high natural gas prices, a problem for homeowners and many industries, like chemical and fertilizer producers. Some experts fear a boom in gas demand for electricity generation will send prices even higher.
It has happened before: The price of natural gas tripled in the late 1990s and early in this decade, partly because so many companies built generators to use the fuel.
Remarkably, the argument that we can't afford wind power is based on the assumption that natural gas prices will go down over the next four years. And yet some insist on calling wind power advocates unrealistic.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buying on shore wind power from other states doesn't fill the requirement in HB 6 that the source be "Delaware based." That was a very hot point with Senator Copeland when I interviewed him.

Surely, Senator Copeland will be tremendously vocal about how buying wind power from surrounding states isn't a "Delaware based" source.

6:30 AM, February 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at a meeting the other night where someone said that they have struck a significant source of natural gas in PA. Great news.
We need to eliminate the dependency on oil without going towards nuke or the untested and (to me) crazy sounding coal gassification.

10:00 AM, February 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had several phone calls from BWW and someone came to my door yesterday to talk to me about BWW. I wish they would spend some of their money providing buses from the Wilmington and Newark to the Dover hearings. I can only afford to get down there on my own steam tonight.

10:02 AM, February 07, 2008  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

The natural gas isn't a new find. It's just that drillers have found a new, and expensive, way to access it.

The AP has the story:

Geologists and energy companies have known for decades about the gas in the Marcellus Shale, but only recently have figured out a possible -- though expensive -- way to extract it from the thick black rock about 6,000 feet underground.

Like prospectors mining for gold, energy executives must decide whether the prize is worth the huge investment.

10:17 AM, February 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember this is the hybrid deal that PSC is recommending. The deal is not just to construct the BWW wind farm. There will be a gas turbine and when the wind is not blowing, the power will come from natural gas.

Even if this hybrid approach is successful (dispatchable - available when it is needed) to close down all of the coal/oil at Indian River, power generation is still dependent on natural gas. The electricity grid is like a house of cards, if generation is not available and power cannot come in from elsewhere to meet demand, the whole thing collapses.

Please do not insult our intelligence by forwarding the argument that this wind farm will save us from fossil fuels. Wind generation, like all other renewable energy resources, is but one possible step to take away from the existing carbon dominated energy system. We need to face this challenge with eyes wide open, not with fear and histrionics.

11:54 AM, February 07, 2008  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

I think if you read this blog carefully, you will find a minimum of histrionics.

Offshore wind would reduce, but not eliminate, the need for other energy sources. The wind farm would provide roughly 28 percent of the energy needs of Delmarva's Standard Offer Service customers.

12:08 PM, February 07, 2008  

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