Thursday, April 10, 2008

More Attempts to Kill Wind Power in Delaware

Delmarva Power and Harris McDowell have showed up this week with buckets full of fresh coffin nails intended to kill the Bluewater Wind project. McDowell yesterday circulated a draft of his report purporting to show that we can't afford offshore wind. According to the News Journal, the draft criticizes the reliance on a long term power purchase agreement (PPA) and suggests that the project instead be configured to make use of a state government incentive:
Copeland added that the draft report by McDowell's committee recommended Delmarva Power purchase onshore wind power and Delaware offer Bluewater a one-time incentive to build the project without other state-imposed guarantees.
The aid, Copeland said, would be similar to New Jersey's recent offer of up to $19 million to support private offshore wind ventures. New Jersey's approach obliges developers to find their own buyers for electricity generated by Garden State turbines.
There is no word on whether Copeland plans to introduce legislation to offer state money to Bluewater. The assertion that New Jersey project won't rely on a PPA is of course a fantasy, but one that McDowell and Copeland hope will appeal to those who want to oppose the project while maintaining that they really do like wind power, really.
On Tuesday, Delmarva Power distributed the following prices sheet to members of the General Assembly:
That's it. No explanations. No disclaimers. No basis for comparing the numbers. Delmarva's one pager comes without the fine print--the kind of disclaimers you hear at the end of TV or radio ads in which words are compressed to the point of incomprehension: "These virtual wind prices do not include transmission costs, reliability calculations or any actual environmental benefits for Delaware..."
As they are, the numbers are at best useless, and can be better described as misleading. We are given nothing to help us to understand whether and how the numbers are comparable, because no basis for comparison is offered.
One example: We know onshore wind is less reliable, so an equal capacity should not result in equal output. You may recall that reliability is an issue of great concern with Delmarva when it comes opposing the Bluewater project. Apparently it's less of a concern when it comes to these bids.
For Gary Stockbridge and his colleagues at Delmarva Power it's a great solution: They wouldn't have to swallow the Bluewater project, they spend less of the company's money, and they get to claim they like wind power even though it's not clear whether the onshore wind turbines have actually been built.
It's not as though the McDowell report and Delmarva Power's onshore wind bids haven't been expected. But opponents will seize on these long planned developments as reasons to kill or at least delay the project.
We will see whether these developments are enough to hold up consideration of HCR 38 in the House, which could come today. The common thread of these ham-fisted attempts to kill offshore wind is the assertion that the project is too expensive. But, as I have pointed out, the project would cost us extra if and only if fossil fuel prices take a nosedive and stay depressed for years to come.
It has been two years since HB 6 was signed into law, and nearly eleven months after the Public Service Commission directed the company to open negotiations with Bluewater Wind, and those who would uphold Delmarva Power's status quo are doing all they can to keep Bluewater Wind from making Delaware the first state to build offshore wind.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a primer for the House to give it an excuse to turn their backs on the public once again.
Meanwhile, wasn't I just reading that Maryland is talking re-regulation?

8:18 AM, April 10, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The paper shows that Thurman Adams has been playing Delmarva's games all along. If he rules, we lose.

9:06 AM, April 10, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my view, the proponents of the Wind project have not made enough of an issue regarding the highly dubious assumption that natural gas prices won't rise over the next several years.

I would like to suggest to the people backing the conclusions based on this assumption to take a sizeable chunk of their life savings and purchase a short position on future natural gas prices. Any takers? Anybody?

Edmund Dohnert

10:27 AM, April 10, 2008  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

Regarding natural gas futures, I have made this point chance I've had.

And speaking of futures markets, you can't buy the price stability Bluewater offers in any exchange anywhere.

10:37 AM, April 10, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It should also be noted that two of the states Delmarva Power claims to be able to get wind from DON"T EVEN HAVE WIND FARMS!!!!!!!! Moreover, it doesn't do what we need: create NEW energy.

11:05 AM, April 10, 2008  

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