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Matthew Wald in his New York Times blog, has more information about the construction of the Electric Superhighway up and down Delaware’s coast.

Onshore, we use an AC grid, or one based on alternating current. But the link in the Atlantic would have to be buried, and alternating current does not work well in long cables that are enclosed because the interaction between the current and the cable casing drives up voltage to unwanted levels. So the system has to be direct-current.

Nearly all the submarine cables use direct current, a form of transmission favored by Thomas Edison but mostly rejected in the late 1800s in favor of alternating current, the kind of electricity now used to run most appliances. But alternating-current lines are hard to bury, because an interaction between the current and the cable casing drives up voltage to unwanted levels.

The cost of putting a cable under water can be lower than burying cables on land, because workers can lay the cables from giant reels, allowing stretches of more than a mile with no splices. But underwater lines are still more expensive than lines on transmission towers. Much of the cost in each case is to transform the electricity to direct current, a form that is easier to use in buried cables.

New technology offered by two European companies, Siemens and ABB, has lowered the cost for some direct current projects, and shrunk the size of the terminals where alternating current is converted to direct current and back, a crucial consideration in urban projects.

One of those companies Siemens, has a plant here in Glasgow, Delaware. Recently, European transmission experts were in town to deliberate.

So the new proposal for an Atlantic Wind Connection is actually about a series of links terminating at substations built on platforms that would sit in the ocean like oil drilling platforms, except, of course, these are clean-energy installations harnessing wind power. They would have to be hurricane-proof and include a spot where a service vessel could moor. Wind farms would tie into the system here.

The cable itself, weighing about 30 pounds a foot, would be lowered into a shallow trench that would be blasted by a device called a jet plow that squirts ocean water into the soil. The cable goes into the trench and is gradually covered over with sediment.

The cable itself is copper, with 1.75 to 2 inches of insulation and multiple shielding layers. It may have a steel outer guard. The outer diameter would be about six inches.

But beyond three miles from shore, no matter where it goes, the cable has a major advantage over cables on land: it faces only one landlord at the outset, the Department of Interior. And the department is sympathetic to wind.

This is a wake up call for Delaware. Governor Markell, Congressman-elect John Carney, Senator-elect Chris Coons, and Senators Ted Kaufman and Tom Carper, all need to get moving on this opportunity now, if only to head off those other states who will be trying to muscle in… These next 24 hours are critical.

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Courtesy of Associated Press.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the United States can lead the world in offshore wind energy production and should have significant offshore development within four years.

Salazar told members of the American Wind Energy Association meeting in Chicago that the Obama administration has cleared up rules for developing offshore wind production.

He says dozens of applications have been hung up by governmental red tape that now should clear.

Salazar also told reporters that the Great Lakes have strong offshore wind-power potential.

Denmark is the world’s leader in offshore wind power.

The wind industry group is meeting through Thursday.

This Monday afternoon on Star Wars Day (May the fourth (be with you)), a small town hall meeting was held in the Presbyterian Church in Old New Castle, to discuss the idea that a National Park would be coming to Delaware.

History buffs everywhere rejoiced.

Delaware’s own Senator Tom Carper has championed a Delaware National Park for at least 6 years, and now with the complete devastation and eradication of the entire line of Republican philosophy, it appears that the timing for such an event to occur, is eminent.

Joining Senator Tom Carper at this meeting, was Delaware’s lone congressman, former Delaware governor, Mike Castle…

Roughly 100 people packed the lower level community room, and memorized all the details of the first page of upcoming the power point screen, while waiting for the guests to arrive… The average age of all the participants, was probably 78.

The Honorable Jack Klingmeyer, mayor of forever, mingled among those present often sharing “old” stories…

The guests arrived, with the sole temporary Republican entering from the left…. and Carper and the Democrats entering from the right… (its called the Delaware Way)…. the meeting got underway.

Tom, started with the admonition of “let us pray”…. not only alluding to having the meeting inside a church… but the fact that this was HIS church that we were in and such would be the initial greeting which one would hear announced in that place.. The audience did not really know how to react at first. (After all, Presbyterians have a subtle sense of humor.)

Tom introduced the panel that was present. Ken Salazar, the new Secretary of the Interior, Tom Strickland ( who was just confirmed last Thursday (89-2) making this his first speaking engagement in that capacity), the assistant secretary of the interior for fish, wildlife and parks, and Representative Mike Castle…

Tom Carper spoke that the idea for a national park had been a passion of his for some time, and that he felt that the new administration, (and our new Vice President) was working to make it become a reality.

Former Governor and current Representative Mike Castle then got up and spoke about the green ways he opened during his governorship which ended back in 92. The connection between green ways and a national park, was somewhat inconclusive, but he ended by saying he was for and would support the Delaware National Park, which guaranteed, at least in that room, a round of applause.

Next Ken Salazar, former Senator from Colorado, and now current Interior Minister, essentially said he was supportive of the idea. He promised that it would happen on his watch, again creating a round of applause. He was followed by Tom Strickland, who ran for Senate twice in Colorado, and when not making the kill, served as Ken Salazar’s chief of staff.. During Tom’s confirmation hearing as Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Tom Carper supposedly just asked just one question of him: are you for a Delaware National Park? Strickland, of course, said “yes”.

The head of the National Park Service, David Wenc, then gave a presentation of the proposal of the park which would include pieces of various properties around the state…( At this point, the power point page that had forever held the screen, changed much to the relief of the audience ).. The proposal covers Fort Christina and the Old Swedes Church, parts of New Castle, the John Dickenson House, and the Green in Dover… The presentation has been made three times already in this state, and was glossed over since apparently those in charge were certain the deal was going forward to fruition…

The floor was then opened for questions. Now I’m not sure if those visiting other states are prone to the same jostling egos and self serving interests that we have here, a microcosm of which we saw this afternoon, but considering that one of those in the room sits down regularly with President Obama, this author felt a little embarrassed for Delaware’s reputation.

Carper called upon the first guest, and made the mistake of saying the “well dressed one” there.. Two people stood up, and since that remark was made, each thought Carper was speaking directly to them, and neither was willing to back down. It got worse.

The first speaker was part of the team that got the Veterans Memorial put in by the bridge, and proposed that those memorial gardens, be incorporated into the National Park. The second speaker, wearing a leather cowboy hat, said he was thankful that Theodore Roosevelt had established a National Park in Puerto Rico, and that we should follow through with Wilmington Baker’s vision of topping over 95, so the city was no longer divided. (The idea may have merit in an unlimited economy with no budgetary restraints, but many were struggling to determine why this topic was draining time away from the topic that was under discussion)… After speaking, the speaker stormed out of the building, slamming the ancient wooden door behind him..

The third speaker stood up and talked about the navy and gave out P38’s to Tom Carper and Ken Salazar… ( Military speak for can opener) Next another long term New Castle Council Member stood up and handed out books to Ken and Tom Strickland, showing a pictorial history of New Castle from the 1800 to today.. (those photos may actually have some merit pushing the park forward in committee) but for the audience, there was little to hear.

Then the shopkeeper of the Three Crowns, an establishment just 5 doors down, who looked like he himself had hailed from the Colonial era, offered free ice cream to anyone who stopped by for just that afternoon…

By now, it was becoming obvious. Only the exotics were speaking today. Even a few words by Jack Klingmeyer and a former state senator whose name I did not catch, were not sufficient to salvage the afternoon away from those speaking.

Ken had specifically asked for a town meeting environment in order to gauge the interest, and this is what he was getting?

It looked like a lost cause…

Carper called out “one more question”…

Then, it happened.

I’ll try to describe it as I can remember it, but memories involving emotions are faulty as we all know.. The speaker said they had come to the meeting to fulfill a childhood memory. That memory was of opening their grade school history book and first seeing the map that showed the Colonial powers extent throughout North America. The French held the Mississippi and Ohio valleys extending up through Canada. The Spanish held Florida and the South with the Western states firmly in their possession. The English held a fragile ribbon of red along the Atlantic Coast, and the Dutch held New York. Looking at the guide, there was a blue patch that said Swedes, and on the map, was a single dot showing that establishment of a Swedish colony right were all of us were sitting. There was no other mention in the text about any Swedish colony.

Later in life, the speaker moved to, and lived in, Old New Castle. Surprisingly, the spot William Penn landed, the great fire on the Strand of 1809, the first commercial railroad, the rout of the capital of Delaware when a British frigate pulled up and the government raced out of town to Dover… an epitaph written by Ben Franklin, the George Read House, were all amazingly well preserved. But no one outside of New Castle knew anything about them…

“This state was the intellectual hot bed of the revolution. The ride of Caeser Rodney, played a critical role in the foundation of this nation. Yet one never hears about it outside of Delaware… It is not so much that Delaware played a sole major role of leading our nation forward, but had individuals chosen NOT to do what destiny required, history would have had great consequences, possibly even giving rise to a totally different entity other than the United States of America. Especially now, people need to hear how actions of individuals do make a difference.

One, it was necessary to preserve the past so future generations shall always know, and two, it was necessary by the establishment of this park, to refocus our current attention on the principals of stepping up to the plate when called upon by destiny. For without Delaware’s enthusiasm to the cause, the historical record shows us results could have gone a different way…. Without Delaware, America might just not be here…”

Wow.

Ken Salazar was obviously affected… He spoke spontaneously.

He too knew what it was like to grow up outside of history. His ancestry moved north and settled Santa Fe in 1608 ( 30 years before Delaware’s founding) From there they moved into Colorado, settled ranches and family farms, and as a child going through school, nothing was ever in his textbooks describing that magnificent story of a different civilization deriving from Spanish ancestry, who tamed the western wilderness. He too knew what being outside of history meant, and was committed to a historical preservation and educational series involving the National Park Service, to rectify those inconsistencies. He would work to see Delaware got their National Park.

We turned and strained our necks to see who had turned the tide, but no one was there. Like the New Castle ghost wandering the grounds of the Green, the apparition had mysteriously evaporated…

It is my humble opinion that the park will be done. It is smaller in scope than I would wish, but reality speaks volumes… In the future we shall effectively add on, but to just have this National Park existing in Delaware will provide support for those individuals currently fighting developers and government officials like the Mr. Pam Scotts of this state. Delaware’s history is unique; it must be saved for the world.