The company that wants to built an offshore wind farm stretching down the Delaware resort coast is crying foul over its proposal’s evaluation.
Bluewater Wind LLC – whose bid was ranked second out of three – is requesting that its bid be re-evaluated based on their scores in one category. A re-evaluation could make the eventual construction of its proposed wind turbines more likely.
The Delaware Public Service Commission, along with representatives from three other state agencies, heard the bid evaluations on Feb. 27.
Representatives from the state’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the Office of Management and Budget and the Controller General’s office are all jointly working with the PSC to review possible strategies for Delmarva Power to add to the state’s energy supply.
Two bid evaluations, which were released on Feb. 21, scored the three proposals based on five main categories – with 100 points being the highest possible score.
One evaluation was completed by Delmarva Power, and the other by a group of independent consultants for the state agencies.
Delmarva Power representatives are requesting that the bids be thrown out. They have stated that the contracts are longer than they want and the proposed outputs are higher than what is needed.
Both evaluations had the same rank ordering and only slight differences in the bid’s scores.
Conectiv Energy Supply Inc., which proposes to add to Delaware’s energy supply with a natural gas facility, came in first.
Conectiv is owned by Pepco Holdings Inc. – the same company that owns Delmarva Power.
NRG Energy Inc. came in last with a proposal to build a coal-fired integrated gasification combined cycle facility at its Indian River power station.
According to Bluewater Wind spokesperson Jim Lanard, the company should have received more points for case price scoring.
Based on the independent consultants’ bid evaluation, Bluewater Wind came in about 12 points under Conectiv. Delmarva Power’s evaluation put the wind farm 16.3 points under Conectiv.
When it came to price, Conectiv scored the best with 33 points, because its price was the lowest.
Both evaluations used a sliding scale to award points for the other two bids. According to Lanard, it is the scale that he and his associates take issue with.
To receive any points within the price category, Bluewater Wind had to come within $10 to $15 of Conectiv’s lowest price – which it did for both.
Delmarva Power scored Bluewater Wind’s price a 4.8 and the independent consultants awarded them 8.3 points.
In a motion filed with the PSC, Bluewater Wind’s attorneys claim that the point differentials are not justified.
Bluewater Wind proposes a reworked scoring system for price. Under their proposed system, they would receive 19.1 points from Delmarva Power and around 17 points from the independent consultants.
The additional points would also put Bluewater Wind a much closer second place in the bids.
With the independent consultants, the wind farm would only be about three points behind Conectiv.
Delmarva Power’s evaluation, using the altered point system for price, would put Bluewater Wind only two points behind Conectiv in the overall scores.
Mark Finfrock of Delmarva Power presented his company’s evaluation of the three bids.
Finfrock reiterated that his company did not feel that any of the bids matched what his company is looking for, but recognizes that there is a process that has to be followed before any can be thrown out.
One point that he made regarding the Bluewater Wind and NRG proposals was the risk involved in using what Delmarva Power deemed newer technologies.
Finfrock said that there were concerns regarding how an offshore windfarm would hold up in a hurricane.
Head-shaking could be seen, and groans could be heard, from the Bluewater team when Finfrock mentioned hurricanes.
Bluewater representatives have stated that their wind turbines can withstand up to class four hurricanes. Class five hurricanes are the absolute strongest.
According to PSC chair Arnetta McRae, the meeting while open to the public, was not meant to be a public forum, a fact which led one man to act out in symbolic protest.
McRae informed the audience that public comments would not be solicited or accepted during the meeting.
She did go over a list of meeting dates and other deadlines, announcing which ones would be for public comments
A man, who arrived after McRae’s statement, asked to be recognized by the chair and allowed to speak.
McRae told him that she had already announced the dates for public input on the bids.
To protest McRae’s initial refusal, the man wrapped his necktie around his mouth as a gag and stood in place for a little over ten minutes.
A town meeting, at which public opinion will be solicited regarding the three bids, will be held on Mar. 7 in Georgetown at the Delaware Technical and Community College’s Jack F. Owens campus theater.
By Daniel Divilio
1 March 2007
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