Delaware’s congressman says the first state to sign the Constitution should be the first to draw power from an offshore wind farm.
Republican Congressman Mike Castle spoke at Delaware Technical and Community College in Georgetown on Tuesday about the virtues of alternative energy sources, like solar panels, nuclear power and a current proposal for a wind farm to be built off Delaware’s resort coast and the issue of global warming.
Castle had said earlier this year that he was unsure about a proposed offshore wind farm for Delaware. On Tuesday, Castle said that he now thinks he is more sold on the idea.
In May, the Delaware Public Service Commission – along with three other state agencies – ordered Delmarva Power into negotiations with Bluewater Wind LLC to generate additional power in Delaware.
Bluewater Wind proposed an offshore wind farm to be built several miles off Delaware’s beaches.
Similar technology is being used by several European countries, but there are currently no offshore wind farms in the United States, as proposals for building them off Cape Cod and Long Island have both stalled.
In the months since being ordered into negotiations, Delmarva Power has raised many concerns over the wind farm project, such as its construction costs and potentially higher electric bills for consumers.
Although Delmarva Power has been ordered to negotiate with Bluewater Wind, Castle said, it has taken the position that it is not going to do it and that it cannot afford the wind farm.
Castle had said that other alternative energy sources should be looked into and he thought nuclear power was becoming a real possibility again.
He said Tuesday that Delmarva Power needs to look at costs over time and compare them with those for other resources used in energy production.
“And I feel it should not just be thrown out,” Castle said of the offshore wind farm proposal.
He said he was not suggesting now that Bluewater Wind’s proposal is definitely the way to go or if Delmarva Power is free to talk to other producers. Castle said he is concerned Delmarva Power is just saying “no” to the idea.
In February, Castle said he was not completely confident wind would provide enough power on a consistent basis.
“I do not dismiss it,” he said then of the wind farm. “But on the other hand, I’m not ready to say, let’s build it tomorrow.”
Castle praised Lewes-area car dealership C.P. Diver on Tuesday for having solar panels installed to help generate electricity.
Castle said nuclear power is an option again, though there are still waste transportation and storage issues that need to be resolved.
He said he believes in global warming being a potential problem, with the melting ice caps and greater storms.
There are going to have to be changes, he said, and some of those changes will to need to come from Capitol Hill.
By Daniel Divilio
28 November 2007
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