November 21st, 2007
Photo Fair Use from NewsJournal
Former Gov. Russ Peterson addresses PSC
Thanks to Mary for forwarding this!
Yesterday was a good day at the Delaware PSC. Chair McRae was feistily gracious as always, wielding that iron gavel! I think she’s getting used to me telling them what Delaware needs, or maybe she’s learned from Chair Koppendrayer that I just won’t go away. The only item on the agenda was the Bluewater Wind project, the winner in the RFP contest between natural gas, IGCC coal gasification, and wind. The PSC wisely took a broad look at the choices and chose “one from Column A and one from Columb B,” a wind/gas combo.
Since the wind/gas combo decision, Delmarva and Bluewater have been hammering away at a PPA, and at each other — it seems the last thing Delmarva wants is a PPA with Bluewater. At this meeting, the PSC extended the timeframe and strengthened the directive to complete the PPA. We’ll all be back to the Commission on December 18, and hopefully they’ll have a deal. And if not, the PSC can always order one.
As for moi, I kept my testimony short, noting that wind is important because it doesn’t emit, and that we need to get wind established, but not only get it established, but REPLACE coal burning in Delawre. I reminded them of their jurisdiction and authority and urged them to think about it and order approval of the PPA, that this part of energy policy in Delaware is regulated, and that they have a responsibility to regulate, direct, and order, and under the statute, there SHALL be a PPA, it’s not a “shall” with conditions as it is for Excelsior Energy and its Mesaba Project. I also asked Chair McRae for a definition of “good faith,” because she’d made a statement at the outset that Delmarva Power had acted in good faith, based on her conversation with the facilitator. I asked because I’m skeptical, in labor negotiations, all “good faith” means is that they show up, not much more. She gave a pretty specific listing of the characteristics of “good faith” that she ascribed to the declaration of good faith. I’m not in a position to argue about it because negotiations are confidential, but given Delmarva’s statements, I see nothing but footdragging and sabotage on their part. On the other hand, they really stuck their foot in it when they handed out a charg showing costs of various “RENEWABLE” energy generation, which included coal, IGCC and nuclear. REALLY, COAL, IGCC, AND NUCLEAR. OH MY!!!!
Here’s the article from the News Journal:
Public interest and support is strong, following a Step It Up rally two weeks ago, and a gallery at Leg Hall yesterday, and OVER 2,000 COMMENTS ON THE RECORD! This tsunami of concern keeps the PSC in the hot seat to get this wind project done.
Pictured above in the News Journal is former Gov. Russ Peterson, who had this to say:
Madam Chair, Commissioners, and agency representatives, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to speak on behalf of Delaware’s and our planet’s energy future. I have dedicated the better half of my career to protecting our global environment and to the extent that I have been successful, I consider that my legacy. We Delawareans can take pride in the contribution we have made, such as the law to protect Delaware’s coastal areas from destructive impacts of heavy industrialization and offshore loading facilities. We fought off the naysayers then and made a commitment to protect our natural heritage for future generations, and have reaped the benefits ever since
The decisions you four agencies now make in shaping Delaware’s energy future will be part of your legacy, and Delaware’s legacy. Now is the time for Delaware to fact up to the serious threat of global warming by embarcing a form of electric generation that does not use the fossil fuels that cause it. You have the opportunity to make Delaware the first state in the nation to generate clean energy from an offshore wind park.
The wind is a free fuel — it transports itself — it doesn’t cause global warming — it does not, like the fossil fuels, emit effluents that poison us — it promises electricity at a stable price – it will not be subject to the carbon tax that will very likely and appropriately be applied to fossil fuels — and the technology for using the wind has been well established.
So why not use it? The large investment in building and installing the wind turbines and transmission lines is high, and will result in a small premium for the electricity produced. The consultant’s report estimates about $1.60 per week for an average size house, the price of one half-gallon of gasoline. When a carbon tax is eventually applied to fossil fuels, the premium for wind will be much lower.
You four state agencies earlier blessed the Bluewater Wind proposal and asked Delmarva to negotiate with them. These negotiations have been less than successful. Delmarva Power has wildly exaggerated the premium for wind. She needs to get away from her love affair with fossil fuels and provide some leadership toward reducing the super-serious threat of global warming. I encourage you all to do al you can to find common ground here.
A wave of concern about global warming and of resolve to do something about it is now growing and spreading all over the world. Just this past weekend the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change with memers from 130 nations reported the results of their latest study. It showed that emissions of greenhouse gasses worldwide was increasing faster than predicted, and making global warming more dangerous than the worst case previously envisioned. The U.N. Secretary General, in releasing the report said, “Climate change is the defining challenge of our age,” and called upon the United States to “play a more constructive role.” You and I need to take this problem more seriously.
The Nobel Peace Prize Committee showed their concern recently by awareding their Peace Prize to the U.N. panel and to Al Gore for their work in enlightening the world to the threat of climate change. Our own University of Delaware Professor John Byrne is a prominent member of that panel. We can now recognize him as a Nobel Laureate.
More and more countries, states, cities, corporations, churches, and synagogues are becoming involved. The news media have made it a prime subject. The New Your Times on Nov. 7 of this year had a twelve-page Special Section on the “Business of Green.”
Absent significant action by the Bush Administration, state governors are taking over creating regional agreements to cap greenhouse gas emissions. Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana told a group of Midwestern governors that dealing with global warming was the greatest imperative of this and future generations. “We need to find a sustainable, renewable American supply,” he said.
President Harker of University of Delaware is working to establish a new Institute of Alternative Energy to develop renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The courts are getting into the action. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just rejected fuel standards established by the Bush Administration, telling them to produce new rules taking into account the value of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Clearly a powerful force is building to do something about global warming. We Delawareans have an opportunity to do so by building an offshore wind energy park.
Let’s get on with the job.
After the former Gov., Treasurer Jack Markell, now running for Governor, made his comments, and they’re on his blog HERE.
More on December 18th, or before, but it seems to me that the PSC will figure out a way to make it happen.