March 26th, 2007
By Rachel Swick
Cape Gazette staff
Local watchdog group Green Delaware is calling for NRGâ€™s bid proposal for coal gasification to be disqualified from consideration as Delaware officials review plans for a new energy supply. The company is refusing to publicly reveal detailed emissions data for its proposed plant, and Green Delaware says making that information public is critical.
NRG filed a petition late in the afternoon Wednesday, March 21, in the Court of Chancery to keep emissions data and â€œtrade secretsâ€ from the eyes of the public.
Alan Muller, president of Green Delaware, along with many Sussex County residents, has been calling for full disclosure of the NRG bid proposal to build a 600-megawatt coal gasification system at Indian River Generating Station in Millsboro.
â€œLet me take this opportunity to reiterate that emissions data of the sort NRG is fighting so hard to conceal has been published elsewhere for proposed and existing [coal gasification] projects,â€ said Muller, citing a Wisconsin project that fully released all data in its bid. â€œThis information, along with pricing information, is so fundamental to the publicâ€™s consideration of the bids that refusal to release it should be considered equivalent to withdrawal of the NRG bid, and NRG should be disqualified.â€
NRG first threatened to file suit to ensure the secrecy of certain parts of its proposal during a five-hour meeting of the Public Service Commission, Tuesday, March 20, in Dover. The threat became reality the next day.
In the petition, NRG officials state that the material sought by the public includes â€œcertain proprietary and confidential information contained within NRGâ€™s comprehensive bid to build an advanced coal gasification facility at its Indian River Generating Station.â€
Caroline Angoorly, senior vice president for NRGâ€™s northeast division, said, â€œThe more than 1,100-page bid NRG submitted to the PSC is the culmination of two years of focused effort, as well as significant funding to support development of NRGâ€™s [coal gasification] project at Indian River. We have disclosed the vast majority of information contained within our bid and seek only to protect vital and proprietary details that, if released, could potentially harm NRGâ€™s ability to most effectively structure and bring its proposed generation projects to fruition.â€
NRGâ€™s bid was submitted in response to Delmarva Powerâ€™s request for proposals, which called for proposals that would generate 400 megawatts of electricity â€“ enough to power more than 300,000 homes. When the public first requested copies of the three proposals, all three companies – Conectiv, Bluewater Wind and NRG – released heavily redacted copies. Later, both Conectiv and Bluewater released more in-depth information, but NRG refused, stating the requested information contained trade secrets. Conectiv plans to build a 200-megawatt natural gas plant in Wilmington, while Bluewater Wind proposes a 600-megawatt wind farm in the Atlantic Ocean.
Muller sent a letter to the Public Service Commission Wednesday, March 21, stating that he is challenging NRGâ€™s ability to withhold the emissions data. He says the information is required under state law. â€œGreen Delaware respectfully puts staff and the commission on notice regarding this point: secret filings, absent service, must not be accepted and considered by the commission. Filings claiming confidentiality must attest to the justification for secrecy. These violations are issues that taint the RFP process.
â€œGreen Delaware feels a remedy for this situation must be sought. We propose that NRG Energy be declared disqualified from further participation in the RFP process.â€
Contact Rachel Swick at: firstname.lastname@example.org