Regulators recently dealt a serious blow to a proposed offshore wind farm in Delaware, criticizing the plan as too financially risky to consumers.
The project could add as much as $55 to ratepayers’ monthly bills, the News Journal of Wilmington reported.
The Delaware Public Service Commission criticized the developer’s plans to pass along to ratepayers increases in the cost of commodities like steel. Conversely, if commodity costs go down, the price of wind power would not, the commission said.
“This is pretty much a nail in the coffin,” said state Sen. Harris McDowell III, D-Wilmington, an opponent of the project.
The Delaware report also made a prominent mention of a failed plan to build a wind farm off the coast of Long Island. This summer, the power authority there stopped the project because costs quadrupled.
But what’s significant about the news from Delaware is that the Public Service Commission used a team of independent consultants to determine the project’s costs and their effect on consumers.
That’s not the case with the Cape Wind project. So far, the developer has refused to provide financial data that would help the public consider the definition of economic viability. As a result, how can the public fully consider the project if it does not have the appropriate economic information on which to judge it? The point at which the project becomes economically viable is critical to the public’s consideration of the project as this private venture seeks to use public lands.
U.S. Rep. William Delahunt said the Minerals Management Service, which is reviewing the Cape Wind project, should require more financial details about the project.
“Having full disclosure of construction and consumer power costs for each of the alternatives is at the heart of any public discussion,” he said. “The people have a right to know this information since the project involves exclusive use of public waters and hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies.”
Why is it so difficult to get the real facts on the costs of Cape Wind and its financial impacts on consumers? How can the government evaluate the costs and benefits of a project if the developer fails to disclose the costs?
“After six years of ‘exhaustive’ review of Cape Wind, we are still getting stonewalled,” said Mark Forest, Delahunt’s chief of staff.
In reviewing Cape Wind, the Minerals Management Service must form a team of independent consultants to review all costs associated with the project and their effect on consumers.
25 November 2007
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