A wind farm proposed for Delaware’s Atlantic Coast would power the region only halfway toward a 400-megawatt goal, documents show.
Papers filed with the Public Service Commission put Bluewater Wind’s average generation at 194 megawatts, enough output to meet the daily power needs of 216,000 homes. The farm’s peak output could reach 600 megawatts under good conditions.
The report further complicated a complex power-generating competition among three companies vying for an electric-supply contract with Delmarva Power. In ordering the process last year, lawmakers set a goal of 400 megawatts.
Bluewater critics argue that the proposal is hampered by the wind farm’s cost (more than $1.5 billion to build) and reliance on ideal weather conditions. The company wants to install 200 turbines, each nearly 400 feet tall, in federal water several miles off Rehoboth Beach or Bethany Beach.
“We’re not going to deliver 400 megawatts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week” said Rob Propes, Delaware project director for Bluewater. “But there will be times when we could.”
But Bluewater’s supporters insist that low long-term operating costs and pollution-free operation could allow it to compete with NRG Energy’s plan for a 600-megawatt plant burning gas made from coal near Millsboro.
None of the bidders – the third is Conectiv’s proposal for a natural gas-fired turbine at its Hay Road power complex in east Wilmington – have released details about project costs or potential rate effects. Evaluations are scheduled for release by Friday.
Debate in recent weeks has focused on claims about the reliability and environmental impact of the Bluewater and NRG projects.
“I think the public needs to get better educated on this right now. It’s become a ‘Green’ versus ‘whatever’ issue,” said Sen. George H. Bunting Jr., D-Bethany Beach, whose district includes the Bluewater and the NRG sites.
By Jeff Montgomery
The News Journal
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20 February 2007
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