Thursday, March 06, 2008

Debunking Delmarva Power on out of State Renewable Energy

Delmarva Power claims it can find a better deal for renewable energy from out of state. But Chad Tolman, who knows his stuff, points out that there isn't that much available. Chad does the math in the News Journal today:
There's not much wind power to sell
Posted Thursday, March 6, 2008

Gary Stockbridge, president of Delmarva Power, urged Delawareans to wait for the results of the company's request for proposals to wind developers outside of Delaware. He claims he can save customers $50 million each year by buying wind power from other states, without signing a long-term purchase agreement with Bluewater Wind. Bluewater has
offered a guaranteed price of under 10 cents per kilowatt hour for 25 years.
Delmarva Power buys electrical power from the PJM grid, to make up for the shortage of generating capacity in Delaware. PJM doesn't have much wind power to sell. The PJM territory includes Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., most of Ohio and small parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and North Carolina. At this time all 12 states and the District of Columbia have just over 1,000 megawatts of installed capacity, most of it in Illinois.
This is about twice the capacity of the offshore wind farm proposed by Bluewater Wind, but it could supply only Delaware's renewable energy portfolio standard of 20 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2019. The District of Columbia and seven other states in the PJM territory have similar RPS requirements.
The demand for wind energy will no doubt soon outpace supply, and the price will probably go higher than the Bluewater Wind offer.
If Delaware gets the first offshore wind farm in the United States, it could become a major center for manufacture and deployment for offshore wind turbines for the whole coast, creating thousands of new jobs. Babcock and Brown, which owns Bluewater Wind, has offered to help make this happen. Buying land-based wind from other states means giving up lots of jobs for the sake of a short-term cost savings.
Delaware wetlands, wildlife, beach tourism, homes and infrastructure are in danger from rising sea levels that result from burning fossil fuels like gas, oil and coal. Estimates for sea level rise for this century are uncertain, but range from 2 feet to more than 5 feet.
Scientists warn that stabilizing climate and saving our coastlines is going to require major reductions in carbon dioxide emissions soon. The only way to do that is through conservation, greatly increased energy efficiency, large-scale renewable energy sources and replacement of fossil fuels.
Studies at the University of Delaware College of Marine and Earth Studies show a huge wind resource off the coast from Massachusetts to North Carolina -- enough to provide average power of 184,000 megawatts.
Chad Tolman, of Wilmington, is the energy chairman of the Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club and an advocate of offshore wind power.


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