Today, a resolution ordering the General Assembly to vote yea or nay on accepting the Bluewater Wind deal, got out of committee and onto the floor.

Politicians who would personally gain from supporting Delmarva, now have to balance their selfish interests against those needs of their constituents who are having trouble paying their electric bills.

Some brief words were spoken for the passage of the bill, and Gary Stockbridge was the sole person speaking to have it killed by the committee.

What is interesting it that the battle has moved from wind versus coal, gas, or other carbon sources, to wind versus wind. As Delmarva was forced against its will to investigate the positive benefits of wind, they too came to realize that wind is and will be an important part of America’s energy future. It is inevitable. It will come to pass. Long gone were the cries of just last year, over whether man-made global warming exists; except for one kook in Sussex County, global warming is now universally accepted……

The argument made by Gary was that we should be determining whether our wind power should be supplied locally by Bluewater WInd, off the coast of Rehoboth, or by Pepco’s own windfarms being purchased and built on top the ridges of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia…..Obviously they would like to keep the profit to themselves, now that they have found how lucrative it can be…….

The bids for land based wind power are still locked up in Delmarva’s coffers. But insiders who have seen some of the bids say they range from $5 to $11 dollars per megawatt. The current contract for Bluewater Wind is locked at 10.93 dollars per megawatt.

This is their cost and does not get passed on to consumers. Why? Because under the PJM rules all Pepco has to do to set the rate, is bid their high priced natural gas to push the hours allotment over the anticipated amount. All power for that hour is charged the rate of the last bid that reaches that line. What that means is that if Pepco, by controlling all aspects of energy production can, by selling a gas turbine fired electricity at 20 cents per kilowatt hour, take the 20 cents charge, passing it onto you, even though 99.9% of the power used that hour was generated at 5 cents, giving them a 300% profit…..

But, like their Y2K electric bills, is this just another sham?

Perhaps….my sources did not let me see the bids…but if they are based on REC’s being purchased to meet the renewable allotment, then there is a good chance that we are being schmoosed.

Gary mentioned that electricity is like the air we breath. Electricity added to the grid in Illinois is the same as that added to the grid off Rehoboth. It was a shame he used that metaphor, for it caused me to ponder those facts, except I saw them from a different perspective.

In a physical sense, it is. Electricity is the gift of God. It is found spiraling around every atom from Hydrogen to Ununoctium (not yet discovered,… maybe). Where your electrons came from is undeterminable. Like a paper cup stabbed with pencils, one needs to add water at the same rate of speed it leaks out. Whether that water came from an Artesian Well, Hoopes’ or Newark’s reservoir, or pumped out of the Christiana River, it all looks the same coming out of your faucet…….

But lets expand that analogy, for it makes a big difference in whether Gary’s supposition (forgive the pun) holds water or not.

Now lets assume that the Christiana River was the dirtiest and most polluted of all your sources. If you lived close by that outtake plant off Smalley’s Dam Road, there is a good chance that most of your water would come from that source, even though all the water companies in this area are interconnected…..The possibility exists that there could be some White Clay Creek Water or pine scented water from Hoopes reservoir blended in, but barring shortages, the water closest to your house, would flow through your pipes.

Now suppose you had a chance to have a well dug in your neighborhood and the water was much healthier. You could actually anticipate the crisp, clear taste, devoid of the usual hard PCB’s that made your pasta taste funny……but your utility company said no. They could build three wells in Chateau Country that would do the same thing, and do it cheaper. All the water is connected they told you at every public meeting each time you attempted to engage them.

Yes it is connected, but it is not the same. Gary was correct but wrong in his implication. Electricity IS like the air we breathe. Some of it is better in certain locations than others. Putting a renewable option here in close proximity, will make a difference in our air, water, and overall state run economics. Standing next to someone who spoiled their pants is far different than standing intimately close to someone wearing Britney Spears new fragrance…..( no it is not toxic). Likewise, you can catch a cold from someone sharing the same air as you, but you can’t catch one from someone coughing in Illinois.

If Delaware needs 300 MW and Bluewater can supply 450 MW, there WILL BE less emissions landing on top of Sussex County.

Conversely, if Delaware needs the same 300MW and we don’t have wind blowing offshore, NRG will have to go full power. The Pennsylvania and West Virginia power plants may throttle back….(see less coal is being burned somewhere), but cough, cough, hack, hack………it just doesn’t help us now, does it.

Gary’s argument this entire year has not been about costs and benefits. It is strictly about maintaining his monopoly. They are scared they are going to have to face some competition. When you control all the angles, as did Enron in California during the blackout phase, you can manipulate the outcome to your direct advantage….Of course we have to pay 60% more for the privilege of your doing so, but that…. is the market place. If Bluewater by signing this deal, can stabilize a portion of that price to 9.89 cents per kilowatt hour, then Pepco’s charging us 20 cents and justifying it, becomes a little harder……….

“Electricity is like the air,” Gary said before the Delaware House Committee of Energy. Indeed it is…..And as evidenced by the tremendous amounts of testimony provided at every public hearing, including the brief comments made yesterday afternoon,…….Delawareans prefer their local air to be clean…..even at a cost….as opposed to air whose particles once breathed, can one day………kill you.