Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Four of Us Agree on Wind Power

We are four different bloggers (two Republicans and two Democrats) with four distinct points of view. But we have come together because we agree that it's time for Delaware to say yes to offshore wind power.
Bluewater Wind's offshore wind farm has been reviewed in hearings, subject to repeated analyses, supported by thousands of letters and e-mails from citizens, selected in a competitive process, survived intense negotiations, and endorsed by a majority of members of Delaware's House of Representatives.
One hurdle remains: House Concurrent Resolution 38, which enjoys the support of 35 legislators of both parties, has passed the House, and is headed to the Senate. We are calling upon the Senate to take one last decisive step to make Delaware the first state in the U.S. to make offshore wind power a reality.
We offer this joint statement as a prologue to our separate posts on the subject. But together we agree that the time has come to say yes to our energy future.
Dave Burris
Maria Evans
Jason Scott
Tom Noyes

In addition to the joint statement, we have all posted separate comments. Maria says she's not that green:
I’m a global warming skeptic. I drive a car that’s less than stellar on gas mileage. I would march a billion rats into a laboratory for testing to ensure I’d have one less wrinkle a decade or two down the road. But I’m in favor of the wind farm proposed to sit off the coast of Rehoboth Beach.
Dave admits he was skeptical of the deal on some points:
The final argument is that Delmarva Power is a private company and BWW is a private company and that the state has no business forcing them into a contract. I'll admit I bought that argument for a while, as those principles are near and dear to my heart. However, in the end, DPL is a regulated utility with a guaranteed profit, and even if it weren't, the time for that argument was during the HB 6 debate, not now. The law is the law.
Jason make makes a moral case for wind power based on Christian ethics:
Rising above the dim of the absurd claims from Delmarva Power, it must be made clear to everyone that if we as Delawareans fail to take this step, we will have failed to live up to the moral responsibility that we owe to our children and grandchildren, and we will have failed in our ethical responsibility to be the live participants in this Democracy that our founding fathers intended us to be.
Herein, my own comments:
The pending Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between Bluewater Wind and Delmarva Power would make Delaware a leader in renewable energy, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and protect us from inevitable future price increases as energy demand continues to climb.
HB 6 (the Electric Utility Retail Customer Supply Act of 2006) was signed into law two years ago in response to the sudden 59 percent rate hike brought on by electric power deregulation. HB 6 established a process for procuring a new energy source based in Delaware, and gave the Public Service Commission (PSC), Office of Management and Budget, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Office of the Controller General the authority to select a bidder based on criteria including energy price stability, reduced environmental impact, the use of new technology and feasibility.
After a competitive process, the four agencies directed that Delmarva Power enter into negotiations with Bluewater Wind to build an offshore wind power facility in Delaware. These negotiations have produced a power purchase agreement (PPA) to build and operate the nation's first offshore wind power facility here in Delaware. The Public Service Commission staff report issued last December finds that the PPA meets the criteria established byHB 6.
Despite this positive staff report, and overwhelming popular support, the agencies were unable to achieve a consensus when they met on December 18, 2007. In particular, the Office of the Controller General, representing the General Assembly, was not prepared to vote to approve the Power Purchase Agreement.
House Concurrent Resolution 38, which enjoys broad bipartisan support, would recommend that the controller general approve the Bluewater PPA. Last week, the House passed HCR 38 by a decisive margin of 25 to 11. The measure faces determined opponents in the Senate.
The Senate Energy and Transit Committee has drafted a report that is widely expected to argue that the project is too expensive; that the PSC erred in moving ahead with the project; that onshore wind from out of state would be preferable; and that the entire process be scrapped.
In short, the draft report is expected to agree with Delmarva Power, take issue with the work of the PSC and dismiss the vote of a majority of the House of Representatives. This report is being met with sharp disagreement in the committee and the Democratic caucus.
The key argument against the Bluewater Wind project is of course that it is too expensive.
I am an advocate for wind power, but not at any price.
On the matter of cost, projections that the wind power agreement would cost ratepayers a few dollars a month are based on the startling assumption that natural gas prices will decline over the next four years and will not climb above 2007 levels until the year 2012.
That is not a typo; these projections assume that natural gas prices will not rise above 2007 price for as long as fifteen years.
How does that compare to recent history? Natural gas prices tripled between 1997 and 2007. Given that worldwide energy demand will grow at least 50 percent over the next 20 years, it is hard to imagine how energy prices will not continue to climb. Instead of costing us extra, offhsore wind will almost certainly save us money.
We are almost there. Eight of 21 senators have signed on as sponsors of HCR 38. We need three more votes. The people of Delaware have consistently voiced their support for wind power in Delaware. We are too close to give up now. We can make offshore wind a reality in Delaware. You can reach your senator through this roster. If you don't know your senator, you can call the Department of Elections:
New Castle County: (302) 577-3464
Kent County: (302) 739-4498
Sussex County: (302) 856-5367
We are now eight years into the 21st century. It's time we start to build our energy future.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I don't think it would do much good for me to contact my senator, for he happens to be none other than Harris McDowell. (sigh.)

Edmund Dohnert

9:55 AM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger Nancy Willing said...

This is quite a feat, the antithesis to Kavips four whoresmen!

12:59 PM, April 15, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't get mad, get busy. We can do something really important by contributing to the Delaware Environmental PAC. They will score legislators on their pro-environment votes, and support candidates and incumbents who do right by our environment. Make out your check to Delaware Environmental PAC, include your address on the check and mail to: Delaware Environmental PAC c/o Sierra Club Delaware Chapter, 100 West 10th Street, Suite 1107, Wilmington, DE 19801. Contributions are not tax-deductible.

3:49 PM, April 15, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat that sounds good, but people like Mike Castle score well on that type of thing.

People like Castle and McDowell game scoring systems; In fact, Castle games those scoring systems so well that Allen Muller of Green Delaware loves him in spite of his horrible Bush supporting/no help on wind power record.

7:48 PM, April 15, 2008  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

As it happens, I sit on the Delaware Sierra Club political committee.

Harris McDowell can try to game the score all he wants. He's the leading opponent on the most important environmental issue of our day. I wouldn't look for him to get an endorsement or a dime from the Sierra Club when he comes back up for election in two years.

9:30 PM, April 15, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom -

Prediction: Harris McDowell will not run for reelection two years hence, but rather he is planning on being the first director of this weird fledgling entity called the Sustainable Energy Utility as his reward for killing wind power for Delaware. Time, of course, will tell.

As best I can tell from it's website and the little I've read about it, the SEU looks like it will be a typical quasi-governmental organization whose real purpose is not to accomplish any meaningful widespread energy conservation, but rather to gets it members' snouts buried into the public feeding trough via government contracts and open-ended programs.You can be sure that Delmarva will find the SEU quite user-friendly once it's up and running.

Edmund Dohnert

10:11 PM, April 15, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you want to be forced to buy your supplies from Walmart? Do you want your profits to be regulated by the state?

Energy generation through wind power looks promising. If it is, let the believers research it and invest in it.

After a forced marriage, both Blue Wind and Delmarva Power would suffer if Blue Wind has any problems. Where will energy consumers go then?

The best course is to get the state out of this deal and get the government out of regulating rates. You have to wonder how much money has flowed to legislators and other officials so that either side can get it's way?

The solution:
1) wind power - go!
2) anti-competition - no!

10:12 AM, April 19, 2008  

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