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Urgent: Support Wind Power in Delaware

IMAGE: Offshore wind farm

UPDATE 5/8/2007: Delaware Audubon Applauds PSC Decision to Support Wind

UPDATE 5/4/2007:

If you've been following the Delmarva RFP process over the last couple of days, you know that Bluewater Wind (BWW) has made some incredible progress. They entered into a longterm contract with DEMEC (DElaware Municipal Energy Corp), a consortium of municipalities that operates a natural gas plant in Smyrna to handle peak loads to keep prices down and as a broker for these municipalites for bulk power purchases. The contract is an expression of confidence in the BWW offshore wind energy project.

Also, the PSC's Independent Consultant recommended consideration of a combination of the offshore wind energy with a natural gas plant backup. The PSC staff made a similar recommendation. There has been overwhelming support for wind energy from the state's environmental community and an incredible amount of grass roots support from the general public.

So, just when it appears that we are about to witness an unusual event in Dover - something happening in the public interest - the utility lobby cranks things up and puts pressure on weak-kneed legislators - Dick Cathcart and Tony DeLuca (although I am sure there are many others) - to telegraph a message to their "legislative representative" on the four party decision making team, Controller General Russ Larson, that he should take the position that Delmarva doesn't need the power and the state should not select any of the bidders, even though there is plenty of "independent" analysis that there is a need for new generation.

Apparently, things aren't going the way the General Assembly (and their big campaign contributors) want them to. So they intervene in the very process they created to alter the outcome.

WE NEED TO SEND A MESSAGE TO OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS IN DOVER THAT WE ARE TIRED OF THEIR SELF-SERVING ANTICS. THE INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT AND PSC STAFF HAVE MADE AN INFORMED AND INTELLIGENT RECOMMENDATION THAT SHOULD BE APPROVED.

CONTACT YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES TODAY AND TELL THEM TO ACT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST, NOT IN THEIR OWN SELF INTEREST OR IN THE INTEREST OF THE UTILITIES. LET'S PUT AN END TO BUSINESS AS USUAL IN DOVER.

Delmarva Power says they'll go to court before allowing wind!

The News Journal is quoting Gary Stockbridge, President of Delmarva Power, as saying that "We will take any action at our disposal to prevent having to negotiate with any of the bidders, including Bluewater Wind."

Delmarva Power made their anti-wind position clear less than a day after the staff of the Public Service Commission recommended that a "hybrid" approach, using offshore wind and natural gas, would best stabilize rates for Delaware, and is urgently needed to fight against climate change.

Don't let Delmarva Power dictate what is right for Delaware. Please call your elected officials now and tell them you don't want Delmarva Power to determine Delaware's energy future. Ask them to follow the PSC staff's recommendation and have Bluewater Wind attempt to negotiate with Delmarva Power. Bluewater Wind is confident that they can reach an outcome that will protect ratepayers and the environment.

-- Nicholas A. DiPasquale


Click here for links to additional news and resources.


In less than a week, a decision will be made by the State of Delaware that will determine our energy future for years to come. The choices are: 1) polluting fossil-fuel power plants, 2) status quo / "do nothing" or 3) a pollution and carbon-free offshore wind energy alternative that will address the catastophic impacts of global climate change.

Let the Governor and the leadership of the General Assembly know that you want a pollution-free energy future.

PLEASE WRITE OR CALL TODAY!

In response to record energy price hikes, the General Assembly passed HB 6 directing Delmarva Power to seek stable-priced, environmentally beneficial electricity generation located within Delaware.

Now, the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the state agencies should direct Delmarva Power to negotiate with Bluewater Wind.

There is no risk or public expense in taking this next step as the PSC will still need to approve any contract with Bluewater Wind. Taking the next step will make the most of the opportunity created by the General Assembly & tax dollars already spent evaluating the proposals.

Bluewater Windís proposal achieves the General Assemblyís objectives:

  • Cost Effective—the proposal creates energy savings for Delaware ratepayers relative to predicted high fossil fuel costs and regulatory compliance.
  • Stable Priced—wind power avoids fossil fuel price spikes, geopolitical supply disruptions, and will be exempted from future costly regulatory compliance.
  • Cleaner Environment—because this zero emission energy source means healthier air, less global warming pollution and reduced water use.
  • It brings advanced and proven technology to Delaware.
  • An additional benefit is the 80-plus on-going jobs and 500 or more construction jobs that will be created. All jobs would be local and union whenever possible.
  • Bluewater Windís proposal poses no risk to Delaware ratepayers. Payments are made only for electricity actually generated; and it would be privately financed, with no direct state or federal subsidies.

Bluewater Windís proposal is practical and feasible. The quality of electricity will be the same as that delivered by any fossil fuel power station. The selected wind park site is feasible due to widespread support for offshore wind in Delaware and Bluewater Windís sensitivity to the local environment and current coastal uses. "Problems" oppponents cite with the Bluewater Wind proposal have not been substantiated and are the result of misinformation.

History of These Power Proposals

The Delaware legislature mandated that Delmarva Power solicit energy bids before the end of 2006, and included a preference for nonpolluting sources of electricity.

In response to a request for proposals, the state is considering three options:

  • NRG Energy is proposing a coal plant, using Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) technology. This technology may be able to capture up to 60 or 65% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced. The remainder would be discharged into the atmosphere. CO2 is one of the most significant greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming. Other pollutants from the coal plant would be reduced, but not eliminated, by the new technology.
  • Conectiv Energy is bidding to build a plant powered by natural gas. The plant would not provide any CO2 capture, and would be subject to expected increases in natural gas prices.
  • Bluewater Wind is bidding to build an offshore wind farm off the Delaware coast. The wind farm would provide a substantial percentage of Delaware's energy, and is a completely clean, renewable source of energy that does not contribute to pollution or global warming.

A decision on the bids was expected by the end of February, but the comment period is being extended. No deadline has been announced, so it is urgent to make your comments supporting wind power to the appropriate governing agencies immediately!

Delaware Audubon's Position

Delaware Audubon strongly supports approval of the offshore wind power proposal. Click here to read our official statement in support of the wind power option [ PDF file PDF].

Here's how you can make your opinion heard. Write letters now to:

Your state legislators -- Contact your local senator (click here) and your representative (click here).

Read the April 30 letter from Delaware Audubon to Gov. Minner in support of offshore wind power.

Take Action Now!

Governor Ruth Ann Minner -- Write to the governor at

Tatnall Building
Second Floor
William Penn Street
Dover, DE, 19901
The governor's phone number is 302-739-4101

The Public Service Commission -- The Public Service Commission and three other state agencies (DNREC, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of the Controller General) will participate in the final decision making on the three proposals. Please be aware that all letters sent the PSC become part of the permanent record and may be posted publicly on the PSC website. You can contact the PSC at:

Delaware Public Service Commission
Attn:  Bruce Burcat, Executive Director
Cannon Building, Suite 100
861 Silver Lake Blvd.
Dover, DE  19904
FAX 302-739-4849

Local Newspapers — Policy makers read the papers, and respond to public interest in an issue, so it always helps to write concise letters to the editor, especially of the Wilmington News Journal and Delaware State News in Dover.


News! The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a Comprehensive Assessment of Global Climate Change on Friday, February 2. Scientists from more than 130 countries now agree with 90 percent certainty that global warming is the result of human activities. This report makes consideration of alternative, renewable energy even more urgent in Delaware and around the world. See the Delaware Audubon statement on wind powerPDF file for more information.


Background Information

Global warming is one of the most pressing environmental issues of the day, and one completely missing from Governor Minner's 2007 State of the State address. If nothing is done to stop current trends, some scenarios suggest the ocean level will rise at least 20 feet over the next few decades. That would have devastating environmental and economic impacts — flooding up to a third of the First State.

Delaware now has the opportunity to be the first state to have a major offshore wind energy farm, providing clean energy that significantly reduces our contributions toward global warming. Delaware can be a leader for the nation.

Delaware Audubon strongly supports the development of wind energy and other renewable energy sources for the future.

The original proposal from Bluewater Wind listed three potential sites for a wind farm, two in the ocean and one in the Delaware Bay. At a January 21 public forum sponsored by Delaware Audubon, Bluewater President Peter Mandelstam announced that the company is dropping its recommendation for a bay site after reviewing studies, and is now focusing on the two ocean sites — each about six nautical miles off the Delaware coast.

He presented a short film about the success of similar offshore wind farms in Denmark, where offshore wind farms have been successfully providing electricity since 1991.

The Danish experts interviewed in the film echoed studies done in the U.S. that indicate the wind farms are not a significant hazard to birds, and often enhance fishing and tourism. Migratory birds fly in a zone about three nautical miles from the shore, according to National Audubon studies, and the windmills would start about 6 nautical miles off shore. Other evidence shows that birds quickly learn to fly around the wind farms.

On typical summer days, the windmills would not be visible from the Delaware beaches.

A study published by the University of Delaware on January 16 shows that Delawareans are strongly in favor of offshore wind power as a source of energy for the state.

Delaware State Treasurer Jack Markell says there are economic benefits as well as environmental advantages to the wind power proposal, and he urged forum attendees not to overlook the economic issues. (Click here to read an editorial by Jack Markell.) He called a move toward developing renewable energy "a win-win situation" — a win for the economy and for the environment.

In addition to its environmental benefits, wind power provides cost stability that fossil fuel planats cannot offer. Although there are high initial fixed costs for construction, the long-term operations and maintenance costs are low and predictable. Wind energy also avoids unknown future costs of complying with CO2 limits and pollution regulations.

Mr. Mandelstam also pointed out that offshore wind farms don't require long transmission lines, and provide energy where it's needed most — in the highly populated areas along the coast. Winds offshore are also consistently high enough to provide a relatively constant energy source, according to studies conducted by the University of Delaware's College of Marine and Earth Studies.

Wind power is a domestic source of energy, not subject to international politics, pricing or shortages; and the supply is — of course — inexhaustible.

Former Delaware Governor Russell W. Peterson urged Delawareans to become active supporters of wind power in the same way they effectively united to help create the Delaware Coastal Zone Act. He called on all Delawareans to urge their public officials to support this opportunity to develop offshore wind energy.

More information from DAS ONLINE: Links to Related Sites:

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This page was last updated on May 8, 2007.