Saturday, September 13, 2008

The New York Times Magazine on Wind Power in Delaware

While the county has watched with fascination as the Cape Wind project struggled with a powerful and politically connected set of opponents, Delaware stepped to the front of the line in the race to build the first offshore wind power project in the U.S. Those of us who fought to make wind power a reality in Delaware have wondered when the story would catch the attention of the national media.
The New York Times Magazine tomorrow will publish an extensive article on the Delaware experience. The piece, written by Mark Svenvold, describes how Peter Mandelstam of Bluewater Wind was first drawn to Delaware by an analysis of wind power potential off the coast:
"The moment I read that paper,” the wind entrepreneur Peter Mandelstam recalled, “I knew in my gut where my next wind project would be."
The analysis was prepared by Amardeep Dhanju, Phil Whitaker and Sandra Burton, grad students at the University of Delaware working under Willett Kempton.
It so happened that the day Dhanju’s semester-long research project was discussed, Kempton had invited several wind entrepreneurs to class. Mandelstam was the only invitee to show up in person. It was then that Mandelstam had his eureka moment.
The early story of how professors Kempton and Jeremy Firestone first drew Bluewater Wind to Delaware is still not widely known, and well worth reading. The two years of struggle to bring wind power to Delaware all came about because Mandelstam accepted Kempton's invitation to discuss wind power with his class.
Jeremy wrote me this morning that the article rings true, except that it misses the story of "how citizens led the decision makers and elected officials and the open process that led to the outcome." Professors Kempton and Firestone will be on Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane on WHYY, 91 FM, Monday morning at 11:00 to flesh out the story.
My name comes up briefly in the discussion of wind power economics, along with that of a certain candidate for governor who supported wind power early in the process. The juxtaposition with NRG's proposal to build a new coal power plant and the subsequent struggle with Delmarva Power are correctly described as shaping the debate.
But the story of how Delaware's activists drove the debate still has not been fully told. Last week, Barbara Hill of Clean Power Now in Massachusetts was tapped to sit on a panel at the gathering of the American Wind Energy Association right here in Wilmington. No activist from Delaware was selected to take part in the proceedings, even though we have succeeded where Massachusetts is still struggling. Much of the story of the role citizens played in bringing offshore wind power to Delaware remains to be told.

3 Comments:

Anonymous kavips said...

The Delaware's activist role has been recorded here for all to see. Plan on taking a week, but it historically documents the lead taken by citizens in achieving this energy milestone.

4:50 AM, September 14, 2008  
Blogger TommyWonk said...

Thank you kavips for your advocacy and for compiling a pretty thorough online record. Please keep it online for a while; I expect to refer to it now and then.

1:05 PM, September 14, 2008  
Anonymous kavips said...

That's why it is there... I sincerely hope that other communities can learn how to navigate the roadblocks imposed by their legislatures, by studying ours.....

11:16 PM, September 14, 2008  

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