The state controller general says he’s taking the temperature of legislative leaders before he decides whether to vote for wind power.
Russell Larson said he’ll meet with leaders of both parties in the House and Senate to get a sense of what they are thinking.
On Tuesday, the Public Service Commission determined an offshore wind farm, to be built by Bluewater Wind, is the best way to provide long-term stable prices for Delmarva Power customers. The wind farm should be backed up by a small fossil fuel plant in Sussex County, the commission voted.
But three state agencies must act before Delmarva can be directed to begin negotiations to buy the power.
“I suspect somewhere in there, there’s a compromise,” Larson said. He said he’d like to “get something done in the next couple of weeks.”
Jennifer Davis, director of the Office of Management and Budget, expects to cast her vote by the next Public Service Commission meeting, May 22, said Bert Scoglietti, the office’s director of policy and external affairs.
A year ago, coal gasification appeared to have “distinct environmental benefits,” but now looks less environmentally friendly than wind, Scoglietti said. There may be other benefits to the coal proposal, he said: It uses a “brownfield,” or environmentally contaminated site; supplies a stronger electrical base load; and allows for the retirement of two older units at Indian River.
The primary question about a wind farm with a gas backup is how to get that gas to southern Delaware, he said.
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner will not tell Davis how to vote, although Davis will be mindful of Minner’s priorities, Scoglietti said.
The third state agency, the natural resources department, is run by John Hughes, who said this week that both wind power and conservation are cleaner than coal.
Minner said despite the PSC ruling, she was still considering coal gasification instead of, or in addition to, wind.
By Aaron Nathans
The News Journal
12 May 2007
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