Offshore Wind Power Is Best Investment for Delaware

Offshore windmills and a boat during sunset

I am glad to welcome this much needed development in Delaware environment policy.

From the News Journal:

Delaware this week took its first major step toward encouraging the development of an offshore wind farm in nearly a decade.

Gov. John Carney on Monday signed an executive order to create a “working group” that will examine the potential costs and benefits of generating electricity from such a project.

Hopefully Governor Carney’s Executive Order creating an Offshore Wind Working Group will result in establishing a serious plan and direction that can move Delaware back to the forefront as a notable pioneer in renewable energy generation and offshore wind power development.

A decade ago, I was at the center of efforts to bring Offshore Wind Generation to Delaware’s coast. In fact, as a legislator, I was privileged to help authorize the “Bluewater Wind” project and helped craft and pass a Power Purchase Agreement that would guarantee a 25-year price stability. Those efforts brought together environmental, economic, and labor interests to move forward on an unprecedented goal that would have meant a healthier and stronger Delaware. Unfortunately, a total lack of cooperation by the Federal government manifested by an almost deliberate slowness to issuing permits and a reluctance to authorize subsidies and loan guarantees helped stifle the investor commitments and the agreement expired.

As the News Journal explains:

Delaware once led the nation in advancing carbon-free offshore wind.

In 2008, Delmarva Power became the first utility in the country to sign a deal to buy offshore wind power. That electricity would have been produced by NRG Bluewater Wind, a company that planned to build dozens of turbines that would have generated about 200 megawatts or enough to power 54,000 homes.

NRG Bluewater Wind even won the first lease issued by the Interior Department for an offshore wind farm about 13 miles off the coast.

But the project fell apart in 2011 after certain federal loan guarantees and financing failed to materialize.

Since that time, I have spent the last decade as an elected Representative pursuing the necessary, game-changing initiative of offshore wind power generation. I have participated in numerous summits and discussions, both as a panelist and an audience member. In February, I was invited by the British Embassy to travel to the United Kingdom for an extensive week-long visit on the subject of offshore wind power generation. We visited various government and private agencies that are at the cusp of making the United Kingdom the biggest wind generator in Europe. More recently, in August, I attended the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL), the Nation Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) in Boston, and the Council of State Governments (CSG) in Connecticut to participate in numerous meetings regarding renewable electric generation highlighting offshore wind power capabilities on the East Coast. In my capacity as an active member of the Energy committees of these organization, I was impressed by the renewed dedication to renewable energy generation in which “offshore wind” is a serious component being considered and pursued.

I have contacted Governor Carney and asked to be included and involved in this “Wind Working Group” due to my track record and knowledge of this particular subject in offshore wind power. My decade-long involvement as a legislator and citizen who is aware of the benefits, challenges, and limitless potential of this renewable energy generating resource will hopefully be a useful tool for this group.

I hope all of you will forward this advisory to your outlets and contact Governor Carney with your messages of support and encouragement.

John Kowalko
State Representative
25th District

State of Delaware

Governor Carney Signs Executive Order Establishing Offshore Wind Working Group

Monday, August 28th, 2017
Group will study potential environmental and economic development benefits of offshore wind development

DOVER Governor John Carney on Monday signed an executive order establishing the Offshore Wind Working Group to study potential environmental and economic development benefits of offshore wind development to serve Delaware.

“We must look for ways to participate in the development of alternative energy sources,” said Governor Carney. “It’s the right decision for our environment, but the development of new sources of energy is also good for our economy, and for the creation of good-paying jobs. This new working group will help us explore the Governor Carney signs Executive Order 13potential economic and environmental benefits of offshore wind development for Delaware.”

U.S. Senator Tom Carper, the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and co-sponsor of the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act, attended Monday’s executive order signing.

Carney signs Executive Order with Kowalko

“I’m proud that Delaware is focusing on offshore wind, which has the potential to power every home, school and business in the First State with clean, renewable energy,” said Senator Carper. “Investing in new offshore wind projects spurs economic growth and has the potential to create good-paying jobs. I’m proud to be part of the effort to grow the offshore wind industry because making smart investments to move us closer to energy independence is a win-win-win for our economy, our security, our health and our planet.”

The working group will begin meeting next month and will review economic opportunities and environmental benefits of offshore wind development, and the costs and benefits of developing offshore wind. Working group members also will review laws and regulations governing the development of renewable energy, and recommend changes. Additionally, they will identify barriers and opportunities involved in developing offshore wind to benefit Delawareans.

Governor Carney gives remarks at Executive Order 13 signing. By December 15, the working group will submit a report to the Governor that makes recommendations on short- and long-term strategies for developing wind power to serve Delaware, and plans to develop job opportunities in the offshore wind industry. The group also will draft any necessary legislation, including possible amendments to Delaware’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Act.

Last week the nine northeast states that comprise the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), including Delaware, announced that they would continue the successful emissions reduction program through 2030. The states also announced improvements to the program that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the region from the electricity sector by an additional 30 percent between 2021 and 2030.

The additional reductions will help Delaware meet the goals of the U.S. Climate Alliance, which Delaware joined in June. The Alliance, a coalition of states, will uphold the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Earlier this month, Governor Carney also sent a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke opposing the Trump Administration’s plans to move forward to allow oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic.

“We as a nation share the responsibility to ensure that energy decisions do not exacerbate the problems associated with climate change that are already being witnessed,” said Governor Carney, in the letter to Secretary Zinke. “The State of Delaware stands firm in its commitment to alternative energy development, and has prioritized working with neighboring states to develop a comprehensive strategy that will maximize the environmental and economic development benefits of adopting renewable energy.”


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