Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wind Power Talks Continue

To be honest, I thought this thing was likely to have been wrapped up by now. But as the News Journal reported yesterday, the negotiations between Bluewater Wind and Delmarva Power are continuing through the weekend.
The pace of talks is slowed by the fact that both Bluewater and Delmarva have to review the terms with the finance geeks of their respective parent companies, which is what's going on this weekend. Bluewater has to run the numbers by the folks at Babcock & Brown, while Delmarva Power has to do the same with Pepco Holdings.
Meanwhile, Delmarva Power isn't letting up on its PR campaign; the company ran another large ad in the News Journal today. One wonders whether it's sinking in yet among Delmarva and Pepco executives that lawmakers and the public have hardly been swayed by the hundreds of thousand of dollars the company has spent on advertising and PR flacks over the last eighteen months
What's motivating the parties? Bluewater wants a clean go-ahead, without the present threat of the lawsuit filed by Delmarva Power nearly a year ago. Dropping the lawsuit would enable Bluewater to secure the first mover advantage in a market that is expected to grow rapidly. States from Virginia to Maine are all looking at building offshore wind. This first mover advantage is important enough that Bluewater is willing to at least discuss starting with a smaller project, which would mean shouldering much greater financial risk.
Tony DeLuca may have moved the deadline back a week, but has finally said in public what he has been saying privately for a while:
Senate Majority Leader Anthony J. DeLuca, D-Newark East, said he is hopeful a compromise can be reached by next week, when time will essentially run out for negotiations he has been coordinating.
"At this stage, I'm pretty optimistic that we're going to be able to bring this to a successful conclusion," DeLuca said in an interview late Friday afternoon. "If things don't work out, our caucus will meet early next week to make a decision on our course of action."
That decision is whether to bring HCR 38 for a vote. Of course Delmarva Power can count votes as well as any of us, which is probably why the company is talking at all.
I've learned that the parties, which have been reviewing the latest terms, will be getting back to DeLuca tomorrow. If there is no deal, and no chance of a deal shortly, then the Senate Democratic Caucus will be faced with that decision. If you want offshore wind power to become a reality in Delaware, then get back to the phone and call your senator tomorrow. Delmarva Power has been fighting the Bluewater Wind project for long enough. If Delmarva Power can't come to terms, then the time has come to bring the matter to a vote.

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