Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Crunch Time on Wind Power

It’s crunch time. When the General Assembly reconvenes next week, the Senate will have 13 legislative days left to either act or fail to act on wind power. We need everyone who cares about Delaware’s energy future to contact their senators and urge that House Concurrent Resolution 38 be brought to the floor for an up-or-down vote.
I thought it would be helpful to recap the argument for offshore wind power in Delaware and counter some of the arguments we’re hearing from Delmarva Power.
Delmarva Power asserts that its bids for onshore out of state wind power would be cheaper than the proposed offshore wind farm here in Delaware. There are several reasons to question Delmarva Power’s claims.
First, Delmarva Power is exaggerating the cost of the Bluewater Wind project. Delmarva asserts that Bluewater's offshore wind power project will cost customers an additional $240 a year. But the Public Service Commission says the wind farm would cost an extra $6.46 a month—and that’s if fossil fuel prices go down instead of up.
Second, Delmarva Power is trying to scare us with numbers that have nothing to do with the wind power agreement now on the table and presenting sketchy numbers for onshore, out-of-state wind.
Third, Delmarva Power claims onshore wind from out of state would be cheaper—but hasn’t released any details of the bids it has received or submitted them to the Public Service Commission. Among the crucial details we haven’t seen are the transmission costs and the reliability of the wind power. We don’t know whether the onshore wind capacity has been built or even permitted yet. Delmarva Power’s numbers for onshore wind have one thing in common with its scary projection that offshore wind will cost customers an extra $240 a year; neither have been reviewed or confirmed by the Public Service Commission.
Fourth, onshore wind is weaker and less reliable than offshore wind. Stronger, steadier winds make the offshore wind farm a better value. A cheaper price is not so meaningful if the power is transmitted less frequently or reliably. These are the kinds of factors that regulatory review would review in determining the true cost of power from different sources.
House Bill 6 mandates the creation of a new power source here in Delaware—a requirement that Delmarva is fighting. (Delaware ranks 49 out of 50 states for the amount of electricity it imports.) The purchase of onshore wind power from out of state does nothing to provide energy security for Delaware or reduce demand for dirty power generation.
Bluewater Wind offers a good deal for Delaware. Offshore wind power will provide 25 years of clean energy at a fixed cost. No other option available to Delaware can provide the same degree of price stability and environmental benefits. If fossil fuel prices continue to climb (and who thinks they won’t?) the Bluewater Wind project will provide a measure of price stability to our electric bills for years to come.
Contact information for senators
is posted here. If you don’t know who your senator is, click here.
Please call your senator to demand that they choose wind power based on the facts—not Delmarva Power’s scare tactics.

Update: You can also sign a petition asking for action at Citizens for a Better Sussex.


Blogger Unknown said...

Tom, the only way I see to prevail for off shore wind is to get the Senate to invoke Rule 16, which as you know requires the vote of a simple majority (11) to bring HCR 38 to the floor for a vote. I say this, because Senator Adams told me personally in his office that he has delegated the issue to Senator McDowell, so you know what outcome that is guaranteed to produce. Therefore, our focus needs to be on the Senators to line up 11 votes to invoke Rule 16.

Perry Hood

1:48 PM, May 27, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From articles that have appeared in the NJ, it would appear that the PJM transmission lines into Del. are running at or near capacity. Until additional line capacity is permitted and constructed, Delmarva can't guarantee that their contracted power from on-shore sources can be delivered to Delaware customers. Blue Water will use local transmission lines and avoid the power limitations on the inter-state transmission lines during high demand hours.

2:02 PM, May 27, 2008  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

Perry, I have not given up on the caucus sending HCR 38 to the floor. Adams may have said he's following McDowell on this, but the caucus shortened the leash on him when he was prevented from using the report as the vehicle to kill the Bluewater deal. From what I am hearing, the caucus is very much in play on this.

Tomahawk, you are exactly right about the transmission lines and congestion in the PJM territory. This is a good example of the kind of detail that would require PSC review, and has not been forthcoming from Delmarva.

2:13 PM, May 27, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Tom.

FYI - If anyone is unsure of which district they live in, the information can be found here:


Just enter your house number and the street name (exclude 'street', 'road', 'avenue', etc.)

7:00 AM, May 29, 2008  

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