Bluewater, Delmarva Power extend windfarm agreement
U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Rep. John Carney (all D-Del.) this week welcomed an announcement that NRG/Bluewater Wind had extended the deadline in their agreement with Delmarva Power for an additional three months.
“We look forward to working closely with NRG, Gov. Markell and the Obama administration over the coming months to ensure that this project continues to move forward and that the federal government does all it can – in the form of loan guarantees and tax incentives – to bring this project to light,” they said in a joint statement.
“We believe we must hasten the day when we can harness the wind energy off our coasts to power millions of flex-fuel, plug-in hybrid vehicles like Fisker’s Karma and Nina that will be built right here in America and in our home state of Delaware.
“Developing clean, renewable energy in the form of offshore wind in Delaware is a great way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and promote clean, renewable energy.”
The issue of the agreement is just one of the hurdles the windfarm project off Rehoboth Beach has faced in recent months.
Questions about federal loan guarantees and tax incentives posed as part of the recent fiscal discussions in Washington, D.C., have led to uncertainty about when, or if, the project will move forward. In that climate, Maryland legislators in April also tabled in committee a bill that would have pursued a windfarm project off Ocean City, Md.
“We’re trying to keep momentum going, but we’re slowing down the schedule until we have more clarity on the loan guarantee and tax incentives,” Lori Neuman, director of communications for NRG Energy Inc. had told the Coastal Point on May 31.
“The reduction of DOE Loan Guarantee authority has injected considerable uncertainty into the financing for and viability of all U.S. offshore wind projects. In the face of that uncertainty, we decided to re-visit the timing of this project’s implementation-including installation of the met tower, which was planned to be constructed this year.”
The project has also faced opposition to a proposed landing point for electrical power cables in Bethany Beach, where residents of the Wellington Parkway area have expressed concerns about the health and environmental impacts of having the line run so close to their homes and beach.
Bethany Beach Town Council members have yet to vote on whether they will agree to Bluewater Wind’s proposal. They have asked the company to pay for impartial expert studies on such impacts before they will vote.
Coastal Point staff reporter Monica Scott contributed to this story.