Thursday, March 13, 2008

How We Got Wind Power Out of Committee

Jeff Montgomery writes in the News Journal that wind power made it out of a House committee yesterday through popular support, sound arguments and a bit of tactical maneuvering:
Legislation to force the state to approve a proposed offshore wind farm to generate electricity was sent to the full House late Wednesday, after a committee hearing dominated by supporters of a 150-turbine project east of Rehoboth Beach.
Now that's what I'm talking about. By "dominated," we mean that the every seat in the room was filled, and that Delmarva Power president Gary Stockbridge was the only speaker out of more than twenty who spoke against the Bluewater Wind project. Maybe if we keep this up, legislators will get the idea that people really want offshore wind power in Delaware.
A little tactical maneuvering helps:
Rep. Gerald W. Hocket, R-Ocean View, the committee chairman, had indicated earlier that he would seek tabling of both resolutions. But Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark South, pressed for approval of the forced approval measure in exchange for agreement to allow a House vote to spread the costs.
After year, we have sharpened our arguments:
"I want the PPA [project]," Wilmington resident Tom Noyes testified at the hearing Wednesday. "I want the price protection that this will provide. Despite what you hear from Delmarva Power, they do not represent my interests. This body represents my interests."
Roughly half of the speakers made similar points about the economic benefits of wind power. Professor Firestone continues to refine the economic case for wind power:
"A long-term, fixed price contract is like insurance," said Jeremy Firestone, a University of Delaware professor of marine policy and legal studies. "That's why we might be willing to pay a little more, because we're reducing risk" of energy shortfalls or paying higher prices for fossil fuel-based power, he said.
A positive attitude is important. Maria Evans of WGMD closed her dispatch from last night on an upbeat note:
More to come…and you know it’s all gonna be good….
Not quite; wind power has some determined opponents in Leg Hall. But yesterday's small success shows up what it's gong to take to get this done.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whenever I go to Dover, I think of muddled and befuddled minds.

Let me recap.
HB-6 was comes along to stabilize the cost of the SOS rate class. If cost and power of the PPA is spread beyond SOS to Delmarva retail load, the cost of the PPA per customer drops, because the PPA would have provided like 25% of the power need. Any way more than the 17.995% that is not solar renewables. However, now more onshore power would have to be contracted for, and unless tied to long term contracts the price stabilization of costs would be reduced.

Now, Delmarva argues for fairness, and Hooker's HCR-40 says ---"the State Energy Office is hereby directed to promptly draft and submit to the General Assembly legislation to fairly and equitably allocate among all Delaware electricity users the costs and benefits of all electricity produced by any offshore wind generation facility."

Thus, the BBW PPA would go from ~25% of the SOS rate class power, to ~9 of Delmarva customers, to something even smaller of the total state load, and they can come back and figure out how to stabilize the cost of the SOS rate class all over again.

The effect would be DMEC, the Co-op and industry would have a small renewable purchase.
As a SOS customer I'm still on the hook to buy 20% renewable energy by 2019. It going to come from either BWW PPA or onshore long term contracts.

When you blow away some of the smoke. The questions that remain unanswered are:

Will it be just the BWW PPA or a combination of renewable contracts that meet the SOS customer requirements?

Will DMEC, the Co-op, and Industry have a renewable energy requirement?

12:39 PM, March 13, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Getting this out of committee is only a fraction of the battle that needs to be done. Even if the House, which is unlikely, passes the resolutions, when it gets to the Senate, it dies as Senator Adams and DeLuca will kill it by desk drawer veto. It's a done deal either way.

9:03 PM, March 14, 2008  

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