Sunday, June 08, 2008

Will Delmarva Power Agree to the Deal?

Is Delmarva Power serious about coming to terms with Bluewater Wind? The two companies have been discussing a deal that would reduce the amount of power Delmarva would buy, and bring in other buyers including the Delaware Municipal Electrical Corporation.
Will Delmarva say yes to the deal, or simply try to run out the clock on the General Assembly? While the company has been meeting with Bluewater in Senator Tony DeLuca's office, the PR campaign continues unabated.
The Delaware Business Ledger published an interview with Delmarva Power president Gary Stockbridge on Friday, the same day the story of negotiations broke in the News Journal. I'm so tired of playing Delmarva Power Truth Squad (see parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) that I won't go through the interview point by point, except to mention this novel argument from Stockbridge:
Many people believe that if Bluewater is built, Indian River (coal-fired plant in Sussex County) will be closed.
I don't know the basis for this assertion, but you haven't heard it from me or any of the top wind power advocates in Delaware. Another day, another straw man argument from Mr. Stockbridge. Instead, what I'm wondering is why Delmarva Power is still out there fighting the deal when an agreement is sitting on Tony DeLuca's desk awaiting Mr. Stockbridge's signature.
This deal doesn't have a long shelf life. Delmarva Power hopes to stall approval of the Bluewater project by dribbling out factoids about land based wind, but I'm hearing that senators want this thing decided one way or another this week. If Delmarva Power is not willing to sign off on a deal in the next two or three days, then Tony DeLuca is likely to tell his caucus, and the full Senate, that he tried, but couldn't broker an agreement, and it's time to let HCR 38 come to a vote.
Gary Stockbridge may have become so used to dragging this out that he thinks he can hang on for three more weeks, while hoping that the company will finally come up with an argument that sways public opinion in its direction. I don't think that's going to happen.
Delmarva Power has been trying to convince people that offshore wind power is too expensive for a year and a half. It's been trying to sell the idea of cheaper onshore wind since January, without providing any meaningful detail about the bids it solicited.
Delmarva Power would like the General Assembly to not decide and keep the issue up in the air until next year. But the company just about exhausted its arguments against offshore wind in Delaware, and exhausted the patience of legislators. I don't know whether Delmarva Power is willing to sign the deal it negotiated in Tony DeLuca's office. But I'm hearing that the window of opportunity for the company is closing fast.


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