Tuesday, December 13, 2011


The News Journal has a new piece out today about NRG Energy's plans to drop the Bluewater wind power-purchase contract with Delmarva Power at the end of the year.  It turns out that the project simply cannot move forward without massive help from the Federal government (not a surprise to many of us who have been upset about this contract from the beginning).  As the news Journal reports:
The contract is widely seen as Bluewater's most valuable asset, and observers said it would be difficult to build the project without one.

NRG has struggled to secure financing for the massive project and failed to secure federal loan guarantee
Since the first plans hit the table, critics have questioned whether or not the massive wind farm off the Delaware coast would ever even get off the ground, much less live up to its lofty expectations.  Back in 2010, Resolute Determination contributor Steve Larrimore highlighted the bits of truth that began to trickle out that the Bluewater Wind project wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
“Deepwater consultant David Nickerson further explained that the Delaware price was arrived at partly through some regulatory sleight of hand. The lower price, he said, was reached by offsetting costs with potential revenue coming from renewable energy credits that accompany renewable projects. The value attached to those credits was allowed to be inflated in Delaware, Nickerson suggested, providing the illusion of “an extra revenue stream,” which artificially brought down the apparent cost of the project.” (I did the highlighting)
Whoops, guess he didn't think back in 2010, that we Delaware folk would get information from a Rhode Island newspaper...and he's supposed to be the genius behind a new energy source?  The predictions didn't start or end there, the Caesar Rodney Institute has been hard on Bluewater Wind from day one and have been a leader in pointing out the flaws in their model.  Back in Feb. of this year on the CRI blog, the Bluewater Wind model was highlighted by David Stevenson.  Even then there were questions about whether the massive subsidies needed to sustain the new "green energy technology" would even get approved by the federal government.  In fact, it might surprise rate payers to know that Delmarva Power was forced to sign an agreement to pay premium prices for energy (That would cost consumers between $90 and $220 million per year) that wouldn't even get started until 2016 (and now probably never).  What will really infuriate people is that NRG Bluewater Wind cost the taxpayers $800 million and will produce absolutely no power for that price.

But this isn't just about a bad business model of failed green energy plans, it's about cronyism of the highest order.  There is no market for green energy with prices that are more than 8 times as much as conventional sources.  Not only were Delaware General Assembly members like Senator Anthony DeLuca and Representative John Kowalko in the tank for this debacle in waiting, but even Congressman John Carney (Then Lt. Governor) was caught up in what will now become a scandalous account of government cronyism.
Carney, amid his 2008 campaign for governor, said in a release then that the offshore wind developer pledged to him to “make Delaware its regional hub for offshore wind development and maintenance.”
How's that hub working out for us now Congressman?  I mean politicians will say just about ANYTHING to win a race.  Experts cited in the News Journal piece today admit that without government forcing power companies to buy power at much higher rates from offshore wind, there's no way that the ocean based windmills could work!
Offshore wind power is among the more expensive forms of renewable energy.

"If your project doesn't have a PPA, a lot of the value is gone. And I'm sure they know that," Grace said of the power purchase agreement.
So there we have it folks, Delmarva, the PSC, the General Assembly, the Markell/Minner Administrations and Bluewater Wind all knew that the value of the energy source was gone if Delmarva didn't pay more (and charge you more).  Wrapping up the column, Aaron Nathans points out that Bluewater Wind is all but gone and so is our $800 million:
The six employees of Bluewater, including Mandelstam, would see their positions eliminated in January unless a buyer comes forward, Mandelstam said. NRG would retain the Bluewater brand.
NRG plans to suspend its offshore wind operations in New Jersey as well, Gaier said.
Despite the move, Mandelstam spoke highly of NRG on Monday, praising its commitment to solar energy.

It's likely that Congress will extend the wind tax credits, but "you can't take that to the bank," which Mandelstam said gave NRG pause.

The market for offshore wind has matured in Europe, but in the United States, "it's just one of those situations where policy really does affect the way business people allocate their money," Mandelstam said.
So folks, I have to ask you, given what has happened here with Bluewater Wind's collapse and the revelations that Fisker is finding it too costly and difficult to build their electric cars here in America, Do you trust them with Bloom? Further, do think that these folks really deserve to continue to represent you?  Finally, do you think that the PSC, which is "supposed" to be doing things "in your best interest" really ought to be making decisions in the background?  Why don't you call them?

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