State regulators need more information ““ and possibly a new round of bids ““ before they rule on Delmarva Power’s need for a new in-state power supply, according to a Public Service Commission consultant report released late today.
The findings threatened to delay or disrupt a multi-billion dollar competition that has ignited an intense public debate over state energy and environmental policy. Public comment meetings on the issue are scheduled for next week in all three counties.
Legislation approved last year called for a decision on the power plants bids by early May. Lawmakers ordered the selection process in a utility deregulation reform measure that also required Delmarva to submit a new 10-year plan for supplying customer needs.
The consultant report released today found a series of gaps and weaknesses in Delmarva’s proposed long-range plan. It also suggested a request for bids from out-of-state suppliers or development of a second-round of “renewable” energy project bids if state officials back an offshore wind-farm already under consideration.
“Absent such a market test, we are not comfortable in making a recommendation that the state agencies direct Delmarva to negotiate a power purchase agreement with any of the bidders,” the consultant wrote.
In the running now:
“¢ A Bluewater Wind LLC proposal for a 200-turbine, 600 megawatt offshore wind farm.
“¢ Conectiv Energy offer to build a 177 megawatt natural gas turbine in east Wilmington to meat peak state demands.
“¢ NRG Energy Inc.’s plan for a 600 megawatt next generation coal plant that would burn a natural gas-like fuel made from processed coal.
“I think this calls into question whether or not we should come to a final conclusion on May 8, or whether we should build a bit more time into the process,” said Philip Cherry, a Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control policy manager and member of the selection committee.
“I don’t get a sense from reading the report that we absolutely have to have more options on the table. I do get the sense that we need more information,” Cherry said.
By Jeff Montgomery
The News Journal
4 April 2007
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding