Coal gasification, wind, and natural gas, OH MY!!!  And nobody’s touting IGCC, well, except for the obvious toadies…
LOTS going on in Delaware this last week, they’ve got their Integrated Resource Plan dragging behind an ill-advised but mandated RFP for electricity they don’t need! I’ll start out with the IRP/RFP articles and then the coverage of public comment meetings that were held this week. Dig this, the meetings were to be on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and the Wednesday one was cancelled because of “weather.” 1/2 inch of snow… really, 1/2 inch. What would happen if they got hit with the 24″ we got here in the two storms the week before last.

The first is about the continuing saga of redacted information. There are three proposals in response to the RFP, and all three are redacted beyond comprehension. Redaction and secrecy about information in applications isn’t anything new. Companies even hide under the cover of third party confidentiality contracts to keep necessary information from the public. It happened here in Minnesota, where we had to fight to get information made public, and even Xcel Energy, with all their power (why do you think they call them power companies?) couldn’t free up the basic cost of the plant! Maybe that info will become public, but it’s going to take more public pressure.




They’ve finally posted the Comments on the request of PSC — it’s odd, the PSC is asking “How should we do this” and THERE ARE NO RULES!! Hello! They need a rulemaking. The PSC’s Bob Howatt told an Regulatory Assistance Project interviewer that there were to be rules coming out in the spring of 2007. SEE RAP INTERVIEW HERE. So why are they doing an IRP without rules, before the rules come out. Is this a way to force a result, or shut out the public? It may be both! SOMEBODY PETITION FOR A RULEMAKING!! SOMEBODY GET A LEGISLATIVE MANDATE FOR A RULEMAKING!!! (…sigh… that’s the lawyer talking…)

NRG made some pretty absurd statements about efficiency (yes, it is filed under “NRG stupid statements” — NRG’s Steve Corneli knows better than this!!!):

NRG clearly hasn’t a clue. Check out RAP’s Efficiency Policy Toolkit for some basics that work and examples from around the country.

And about that redacted Information: This is what the site plan in the NRG proposal looks like, really, it’s this cheezy!



And this is their coal pricing. Coal price inherently stable? Hmmmm… in December 2005 the price of coal tripled… could their short-term memory loss be attributable to mercury…

The Daily Times/News Journal reported on efforts to wrench the proposal open to the public — and it looks like details may be made public week after next — IT’S ABOUT TIME. Leave a comment below their article so they know how you feel about the secrecy:

Details of power plant may see light

By Jeff Montgomery
The News Journal

Public Service Commission staffers are expected to call for the release of a substantial amount of information being withheld by companies vying to build a new power plant, a top commission official said.

The information — including how the projects would be financed, costs of electricity they would generate and the amount of pollution they would emit — has been blacked-out from documents because the companies claim releasing it would put them at a competitive disadvantage.

But several individuals and organizations have called for the release of details because the state’s formula for choosing the winning bidder is based solely on financial and pollution information.

Those calls were rebuffed until Bruce Burcat, the executive director of the Public Service Commission, said the agency was reviewing the documents with an eye toward recommending release of details at its March 20 meeting.

“There will be a number of documents and line items that have been redacted that will be recommended to be released to the public,” Burcat said.

The documents were generated by Bluewater Wind LLC, Conectiv Power and NRG Energy, companies that have filed separate, dramatically different plans for supplying Delmarva Power with energy. Lawmakers ordered the process after electricity rates increased 59 percent last year for residential customers.

Critics of the process say that the public has been wrongly shielded from crucial bid information on rates, reliability and the environmental impact.

“It needs to be opened up more. Absolutely,” said Letitia L. Diswood, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Delaware. “I think it’s a very technical, complicated issue. It’s very hard to make simple for the public, but it’s extremely important.”

The PSC already began the process of accepting public comment on the proposals without releasing crucial details. More public hearings are scheduled for next week and next month.


PSC wants more details from companies proposing power plants

And now, on to coverage of the well-attended public meetings:

Del. energy bids debated; Public weighs in on choices for power

By Kate House-Layton, Delaware State News

DOVER — Tuesday was the first of three public comment sessions the state Public Service Commission has scheduled in connection with bids three energy companies have submitted to Delmarva Power and the state for new electric generation in Delaware.

Most of the comments Tuesday at Legislative Hall in Dover supported Blue Water Wind’s offshore Atlantic wind farm generation proposal or NRG’s proposal to expand the Indian River power plant in Millsboro to include coal gasification generators.

Conectiv, a sister company to Delmarva Power, has proposed a natural gas-fired generator in New Castle County.

Conectiv’s bid last month won the most points from Delmarva Power and the state’s independent consultant reports.

Delmarva Power said it opposed all three bids. The state’s report gave no recommendation.

NRG supporters, mostly NRG employees or retirees, touted the reliability a coal-generated power plant provides.

“Wind is a pretty hip, sexy energy option,” Delaware resident and NRG employee Doug Netting.

Wind, however, is intermittent, he said.

On low wind days, electric companies would have to pluck energy off the grid using whatever is available that day. Most of the time electricity from coal-fired plants would be on tap.

Jim Sadowski, NRG’s environmental manager for the Indian River power plant, said it would take gale-force winds to create three megawatts of electricity.

Julie Rigby of Seaford said the wind farm proposal concerned her for potential dangers to birds that migrate along the coast.

Several environmentalists, however, strongly supported wind power.

The state’s independent consultant report said Blue Water Wind could provide price stability, but was more expensive.

Federal emission taxes, medical bills and public health outweigh a price on an electric bill, some said.

“The economic evaluation of price benefit is shortsighted,” said Kim Furtado, a Millsboro resident and doctor of natural medicine. “It does not access the benefits we will gain by acknowledging the health costs with generating power.”

Connie Peterson of Lewes and others pointed to the volatility of fossil fuel costs.

“They cannot guarantee stability,” she said.

Jim Black, director of Community Outreach for the Delaware Clean Air Council, said gas prices continue to fluctuate and fossil fuel costs likely will rise.

“The wind will still blow for free,” he said.

If there was any consensus, it was that something had to be done about electricity in Delaware.

Delmarva Power representatives last month said that instead of new generation, it favored conservation strategies, continuation of a new east-west transmission line and increasing its portfolio to more renewable energy sources from the existing power grid.

Residents disagreed.

“Inaction is not the answer,” said Wilmington resident Harry Gravell, who represented Delaware builders.

“It would be a big mistake to do nothing, we have to change,” Vincent Ascione of Sussex County said.

Delmarva Power spokesman Tim Brown afterward said that the utility stands by its recommendation. The company previously said it did not find that any of the bids would economically benefit its customers.

PSC panelist Jeffrey Clark and PSC executive director Bruce H. Burcat said they were impressed with the public comments and said the panel would give them strong consideration when it comes time to make a recommendation.

Two more hearings are scheduled.

Tonight’’ meeting will be at the Delaware Technical & Community College’s theater at the Owens campus in Georgetown.

Thursday’s hearing will be in the auditorium of the Carvel State Office Building at 820 French St., Wilmington.

Both meetings start at 7 p.m.

Here’s another, this one from News Journal, and be sure to add your comments here too:

Wind farm proposal gets public support
Many at hearing voice worries about environmental impact of energy plants

By AARON NATHANS, The News Journal
Posted Friday, March 9, 2007

Wind-power advocates packed a public hearing Thursday night on whether to build a new power plant to meet Delaware’s long-term energy needs.

The event, held at the Carvel State Office Building in Wilmington, attracted a full room of about 160 people. They were commenting on a state consultant’s report that said Conectiv’s proposed 180-megawatt natural gas plant was the best among three options.

But most of the speakers early in the evening focused on the environmental harm that could be caused by a new plant that burns fossil fuels such as natural gas or coal. NRG is proposing a coal gasification plant.

Most of the speakers instead said they liked a proposed wind farm that would feature 200 turbines in the Atlantic Ocean off Rehoboth Beach or Bethany Beach.

“The conventional wisdom is that the public’s environmental interest is in conflict with the public’s economic interest,” said Tom Noyes, of Wilmington. “But my review of the record leads me to believe that the conventional wisdom has been turned on its head in this case. Burning more fossil fuels doesn’t make economic or environmental sense for Delaware.”

And Ellen Lebowitz of Newark said global climate change could wreak havoc on the state’s coastline.

“Wind is here. It’s free from nature. We can harvest it now,” she said.

Several people spoke up for the NRG proposal. Robert Carl, business manager of Local 42 of the Heat & Frost Insulators & Asbestos Workers, praised the potential of “clean coal” to produce a “ripple effect” in the economy by creating good paying jobs.

“NRG’s commitment to clean fuel seems to be on the right path,” he said.

The event was sponsored by the Public Service Commission. The commission, along with three other state agencies, is expected to recommend within the next several months whether to proceed with one of the proposed power plants. The hearing was the last of three public hearings this week.

The commission is expected to hold more public hearings later in the process.

Some speakers criticized the commission and the three companies for redacting information from their bids so the public could not see it. NRG, for instance, redacted information about exactly how much pollution its proposed plant would send into the air.

Lisa Pertzoff of the League of Women Voters said the bids were lacking “key environmental and cost data.” The consultant reports had so much jargon, even the most informed members of the public could not understand them, she said. Such problems potentially undermined public confidence in the result, she said.

Delmarva Power is recommending against all the proposals, saying they would not be cost-effective. The company can meet its needs by a combination of conservation, buying on the wholesale market, and improving the region’s power infrastructure, it says.
Contact Aaron Nathans at 324-2786 or

One Response to “IGCC doesn’t cut it in Delaware”

  1. Alan Muller Says:

    Great write-up!

Leave a Reply