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Panel unveils wind report; Contract terms analysis being released today

Delaware’s Public Service Commission today is set to release its analysis of proposed contract terms between three energy companies for the country’s first offshore wind-powered electrical generators.

Bluewater Wind, now owned by Babcock & Brown, Delmarva Power and a third company submitted proposed contract terms last month to the PSC, the state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Office of Management and Budget and the Controller General’s Office.

Delmarva Power also included proposed terms for NRG and Conectiv to act as a backup electricity source via natural gas-powered electrical generation.

Bluewater Wind hopes in a few years to build a wind park several miles off the coast of Rehoboth Beach.

Public Service Commission staff also hired an outside consultant to help with its analysis of the contract terms.

“We are working on the staff report and have no news to report,” said PSC executive director Bruce H. Burcat on Friday. “We do not plan to comment at this time. However, we are still on schedule to release the staff report (this) afternoon.”

Once the PSC staff releases its report, there will be a public meeting in November with all four agencies to discuss the findings.

Another meeting will take place before the state agencies on Nov. 20 and if all goes well the state could ask to have a contract between Delmarva, BluewaterWind and the backup agency ready by Dec. 15.

Delmarva Power and BluewaterWind are interested in the report’s contents.

“The PSC staff has committed a great deal of effort to this analysis, as have all the parties to this process, and we’re interested in seeing their evaluation,” said Delmarva Power spokesman Bill Yingling.

“We’re eagerly awaiting it,” said Bluewater spokesman Jim Lanard on Friday. “We’ll see it when the public gets a chance to see it.

“Bluewater still believes that over the 25-year life of the project, a wind-hybrid project will save Delaware (electric) rate payers money because the market model for gas or other base load providers will cost more because of the carbon taxes related to climate change, global warming and sea level rise,” Mr. Lanard said.

Phil Cherry, energy program administrator for DNREC said he too was eager to see the report.

“I’m waiting to see the report just like everybody else,” he said. “I’m dying to know.”

He was confident in the PSC staff’s abilities.

“They’ve got the expertise there to do the analysis and they have the same consultant they had before to help them,” Mr. Cherry said.

Representatives from the Office of Management and Budget and the Controller General’s Office did not return telephone calls.

By Kate House-Laytoncan
Delaware State News


29 October 2007