Thursday, April 17, 2008

McDowell's Report Rendered Toothless

Harris McDowell intended for the Energy & Transit report to do more than provide arguments against approving the Bluewater Wind deal. I've been told he planned to bring the report to the Senate floor for a vote as the vehicle for killing the deal.
When the committee met today, a new draft was circulated, with a sentence that would have instructed the controller general to vote against the Bluewater Wind agreement.
Had McDowell brought this version of the report to the full Senate, and won that vote, that would have been the ball game.
That sentence was removed from the report at today's meeting.
The News Journal has the story:
DOVER — A Senate panel has given its approval to a report critical of the Bluewater Wind project and the state process that led to a proposed 25-year contract with Delmarva Power.
But the panel removed language urging the defeat of the contract, instead instructing policymakers to give great weight to the recommendations.
While the report lost its bite, it still has plenty of bark to it, though some of that was toned down a bit. I'm told there were other changes removing language along the lines of "the committee finds" or "the committee recommends." Which isn't to say the report isn't chock full of one-sided analysis and biased conclusions. Even with the changes, two committee members, Karen Peterson and Catherine Cloutier, voted against the report.
But Harris McDowell can no longer use the report to block the deal. This leaves one measure that would put the decision before the Senate: HCR 38, which passed the House last week by a vote of 25 to 11.
The death of wind power is not a foregone conclusion after all. Stay tuned.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

instead instructing policymakers to give great weight to the recommendations.

I could live without the "great" but I'll take it.

11:51 PM, April 17, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Favor:

Bunting, Ennis, Bonini, Cloutier, Peterson, Simpson, Sokola, Sorenson


Adams, Copeland, DeLuca, McDowell


Amick, Blevins, Connor, Cook, Henry, Marshall, McBride, Still, Venables

12:07 AM, April 18, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When UD's Kempton came out with research showing that a fully developed offshore wind park in the Atlantic could power everything from Massachusetts to DC to NC, it was a clarion call to the fossil fuel and nuclear power industries. Old Dominion/DEC, DPL and Constellation are all trying to kill off Bluewater. It's small project could be the start of a big dent in their profits. It would break their monopolistic control over Delaware. Would we need the expensive MAPP line West to East in Delaware if safe, clean offshore wind and in-state natural gas power our homes? If we don't need MAPP, would that threaten coal and nuke power charged by the Delaware Electric Co-op? If we don't need MAPP, would it put a crimp in a NJ power company's plan to build a shiny new nuke plant in Salem? Ah, the threads of duplicity weave a disturbing pattern. This decision is too big to rest on old friendships and party favors. The Minner Administration and the Senate must stand up for Delaware's future first. Approve the offshore wind farm because it's a good deal for customers and the state's future.

5:56 PM, April 18, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I spent some time with Amick talking about the wind farm yesterday. He was saying that as a former realtor, he has written many a 30 year contract and didn't think that it was a problem. He would like to see something in the deal where Delaware could get first dibs to buy the farm when the contract expires.
I told him that Willet's original vision included a huge fiscal benefit for Delaware at maximun capacity. We have to look into holding onto the benefits for ourselves and sell this renewable up and down the mid-Atlantic.

6:13 PM, April 18, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A couple of points:

One. the MAPP line would be useful in channeling power AWAY from Delaware if and when the wind farm approached capacity.

That was one of the major problems with wind in Europe: they couldn't get rid of the power fast enough. Just run the lines from Delaware and stop at DC if you want. We need the capacity to get lots of power to DC, if we eventually go with wind farms up and down our coasts. Cheaper to build now, than much later.

The "deal" is a contracted 300 MW sold to Delmarva. Nothing prevents Bluewater from later building more wind turbines and selling more (600MW) to the grid. In fact, if the MAPP is completed, we should support them doing so, since that would lower everyone's cost on the grid, including ours when we had to buy from them.

4:26 AM, April 19, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bass ackwards, kavips. The regional power players want energy going west to east using existing and proposed power plants. They want to ship more nuclear power from Calvert Cliffs to Delaware, and from Salem to the grid. MAPP proponents could give a rat's ass about helping Bluewater. Do you see any mention from Pepco (that's building MAPP) to promote east to west offshore wind?

10:35 AM, April 19, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Dude, you don't get it.

That argument is not over what MAPP proponents care about. It is about what this nation needs to become economically viable. As a rule those to whom you reference, tend to be nearsighted individuals.

Pause for a minute and ask yourself: Once Bluewater Wind is in full operation, will they "tear down those lines?"

They won't, because so much energy will be flooding into DC each time the wind blows.

But if those lines are never built, and Bluewater Wind does go into operation, it will lack the capacity to move its power quick enough beyond the bottleneck our geography dictates, and somewhere else on the grid, a coal furnace gets fired up to fulfill the demand.

Our point comes from not that we don't understand what their (those guys) intentions are .......It's that we adequately understand just what we need to move forward into the future.

This time both their's and our interests align.

12:55 AM, April 21, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kavips, who sells power to DC? Pepco. Who owns the subsidiaries that create the power that goes to DC and MD? Pepco! Will Pepco voluntarily decouple those operations, so BWW can cozy into the DC market through MAPP? I don't think so.

You are right. Their interests and ours need to align. But Pepco's first obligation is to its shareholders. They can't do what is in the best interests of their customers when it conflicts with profits. That's why utility regulation is supposed to be the job of the Public...Service....Commission. Now, it's up to the Minner Administration and State Senate to align the interests you support. Get serious in-state competition into the mix by approving the Bluewater contract. The Legislature must not renege on its promises to the people in HB6.

8:22 AM, April 21, 2008  

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