Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wind Power and State Government

Should state government buy into the Bluewater Wind project? And how could the campaign for governmor be affecting efforts to close the deal to bring wind power to Delaware?
The pending wind power deal negotiated in Tony DeLuca's office would reduce the amount of electricity Delmarva Power would buy from Bluewater Wind, while hoping to bring other buyers into the deal. Why not include state government as one of the buyers?
House Amendment 1 to House Concurrent Resolution 38 mentions that the state government should buy electricity from Bluewater Wind, without mandating that it do so. On Monday, Jack Markell announced that he would have the state negotiate to buy power from Bluewater. Today, the News Journal reports that the state Office of Management & Budget is dong just that.
Is this just posturing, or would it make sense for the state?
I think it makes sense for state government for the same reasons it would make sense for Delmarva Power customers like me. All electricity buyers are feeling the effects of rising fossil fuel prices. In tough budget times, it would make sense for the state to lock in some price stability.
But of course the state can't buy into the Bluewater Deal unless Delmarva Power is on board. It's been five days since word got out about the deal negotiated in Tony DeLuca's office. We still haven't heard whether Delmarva Power will sign the deal. What we have heard is more radio advertising from the company.
Why is the company still balking? Here's a possibility: Delmarva Power could be trying to run out the clock on the General Assembly to see if expected Republican candidate Bill Lee becomes governor.
Lee has been largely absent from public view since agreeing to run, except for
the obligatory visits to events like the Italian Festival, and has had little substantive to say about the issues facing state government.
But I have been told that he opposes the Bluewater Wind project, as does lieutenant governor candidate Charlie Copeland. So is Delmarva Power hoping for Bill Lee to kill the deal if he gets elected? HCR 38 has enjoyed bipartisan support since it was introduced in January. Four Republican senators are on the measure as sponsors, and one or two are leaning in favor of Bluewater project, which has led some to speculate whether Copeland is trying to turn his colleagues in the interest of party discipline.
But what could a new governor do if the four agencies finally direct Delmarva Power to sign the power purchase agreement? I don't know, but Delmarva Power has shown itself willing to take as much time and spend as much money as necessary to kill the project.
I'll be discussing wind power and politics on
WDEL with Allan Loudell today at 12:15. In the meanwhile, if you'd like to read something smart about wind power in Delaware, just turn to anything kavips has written over the last week.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only way Bill Lee gets in the governor's office is if the Senate Democrats don't get the wind deal done by June 30th. Such a failure would be a disaster for Carney's campaign, which has claimed they can get stuff done because of his ties to the Senate dems (one has to wonder, if that's the case, why has the Miner adminstration been such a complete failure?) Demarva's oppsoition is based on one thing and one thing only: they don't get to profit from 20% of the state's energy generation that BWW will provide.

11:52 AM, June 11, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The state can always come in after the contract is signed and negotiate its own deal with the wind farm. Don't pound your chest about a deadline and then ignore it. Carney and DeLuca are bound together in success or failure. Anon2

1:50 PM, June 11, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...




Uh...Oh... Hi, Maria.

8:58 PM, June 11, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maria told me the other day that Lee is receptive to her 'schooling' on the issue. I'd guess she is only on his team if he plays her way.

10:10 PM, June 11, 2008  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

I may have to have a chat with Maria.

9:15 AM, June 12, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be surprised if Bill Lee diverts from Copeland's views on the wind farm. But Maria Evans will tell it to him like it is. A good test will be if Copeland turns between now and July 1. After that, any conversion would be just pandering to the voters by both of them. Mike Protack and Jack Markell were in favor of the wind farm from the beginning.

9:46 AM, June 12, 2008  

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