Tag Archives: Ken Salazar

The Week In Green Energy: Ill Winds Blow Offshore

Last week a group of Republican and Democrat Senators introduced legislation that, if enacted, could provide the support America’s offshore wind industry needs to finally live up to its potential. The Offshore Wind Power Act, if signed into law, could provide developers Investment Tax Credits (ITC) for the first 3,000 megawatts of capacity to come online.

The legislation was introduced at a time of relative uncertainty for the U.S. offshore wind sector. Last May the Department of Energy told Cape Wind and NRG Bluewater, developers of two of the country’s most ambitious offshore wind projects, they would not review their respective loan guarantee applications. The DOE letter was a major setback for both companies. Cape Wind was hoping for government help developing a 420 megawatt project off Cape Cod, and NRG Bluewater was also seeking assistance financing it’s 200-megawatt project off Delaware and New Jersey.

Just a few months ago both companies were riding high. In Massachusetts, after decades of arduous development work, Cape Wind was close to launching construction on its pioneering $2.6 billion project. The company had overcome local Not In My Backyard discontent, secured the necessary state and federal permits, and garnered support from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Cape Wind had also convinced National Grid to buy half of its expected output at a steep premium. The Boston-based developer was working with Barclays Capital to secure that crucial DOE loan guarantee and was talking to strategic investors to raise project equity.

The DOE decision to suspend review of Cape Wind and NRG Bluewater’s applications killed the momentum for both projects. “This is not a statement about the quality of your project,” The DOE was quick to highlight, “but simply about its readiness to proceed at this time.”

With the loan guarantee program ending in September, the DOE is scrambling to provide support to a limited number of projects. Cape Wind and NRG Bluewater are simply two more projects that did not make the cut. According to Andy Wickless of Navigant Consulting’s renewable energy group this type of tough political reality will constrain the growth of offshore wind in the future.

The sponsors of the Offshore Wind Power Act are hoping the bill will inject a little more certainty into the offshore wind scene. Bill co-sponsor Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said the legislation would provide developers with “(a) consistent tax credit… and develop an incentive for energy companies to invest in this breakthrough technology.”

The bill has bi-partisan support, a rare plus in Washington’s hyper-partisan atmosphere. While the bill has been pushed to the back burner by the debt ceiling fight, observers are hopeful it could see a vote soon.

In the meantime Cape Wind is seeking to find a buyer for the electricity it has not yet sold. A company spokesman tells G.E.R. that getting a second  Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is crucial if the project is to secure financing.

The reality though is that since being shut out of DOE financing, offshore wind developers are at a standstill. If things do not change it could be years before the U.S. sees real growth in it’s offshore wind sector.

Terrence Murray, Chicago

 

 

 

 

 

Development of Delaware Offshore Wind Project Delayed By BP Spill

222 - MIDDELGRUNDEN OFFSHORE WIND FARM, NEAR COPENHAGEN, DENMARK (55The regulatory fallout from BP’s Gulf oil spill is inflicting collateral damage on a major offshore wind project in Delaware.

Hoboken, N.J.-based NRG Bluewater Wind? officials said the restructuring of the Minerals Management Service, (MMS) following the Gulf spill could delay the development of its Mid-Atlantic offshore wind project by up to two years. The facility was initially scheduled to come online in 2014 but , under a new timeline, NRG Bluewater officials said it won’t start operating until 2016.

The MMS is the Interior Department agency in charge of regulating the country’s offshore resources. Shortly after the start of the BP spill, it came under fire for its cozy relationships with the oil and gas companies it was suppose to regulate. Since then, the MMS has been undergoing a deep restructuring, including a name-change: it’s now called The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE).

In a letter to the Delaware Public Service Commission, NRG Bluewater says the turmoil at the BOEMRE has delayed the issuance of permits it needs to deploy meteorological towers (met towers). ?The towers are designed to collect wind and current patterns at the proposed site of the offshore wind farm, some 11 miles (17 kilometers) off the Delaware coast.

The delays have forced NRG Bluewater to amend its Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with state utility Delmarva Power, which had agreed to buy 200 megawatts of electricity from the Mid-Atlantic facility. Under the PPA’s new timeline, Delmarva has agreed to a two-year extension that will see it get delivery of its wind-generated electricity at the end of 2016 instead of the initial 2014 deadline.

When it is fully developed, the Mid-Atlantic project could produce up to 600 megawatts of electricity.

Peter Mandelstam, the president of NRG Bluewater, remains confident the project will go online before the 2016 deadline. The amendment to the Delmarva PPA, he said in a statement, “simply adjusts the timeline for circumstances beyond our control.”

When Interior Secretary Ken Salazar awarded Boston-based developer Cape Wind a federal permit last spring supporting the development of its 420-megawatt offshore wind project in Nantucket Sound, he vowed?a smoother permitting process for other offshore wind projects. That was before the BP spill, which led Salazar to restructure the regulator.

The approval processes for offshore wind are long and complex and disarray at BOEMRE — even in matters as minor as meteorological towers — could seriously hamper other green energy projects.

Luckily for the developer formerly known as Bluewater Wind, which?was acquired last fall by NRG Energy, financial stability is not a problem.?The deal bolstered NRG’s renewable energy portfolio and provided the Bluewater Wind access to NRG’s large balance sheet, which undoubtedly will help it secure funding.

Amendments to Bluewater Wind project PPA with Delmarva

Photo: Flickr, AnthonyNGO

Development of Delaware Offshore Wind Project Delayed By BP Spill

222 - MIDDELGRUNDEN OFFSHORE WIND FARM, NEAR COPENHAGEN, DENMARK (55?41' N, 12?40' E)The regulatory fallout from BP’s Gulf oil spill is inflicting collateral damage on a major offshore wind project in Delaware.

Hoboken, N.J.-based NRG Bluewater Wind? officials said the restructuring of the Minerals Management Service, (MMS) following the Gulf spill could delay the development of its Mid-Atlantic offshore wind project by up to two years. The facility was initially scheduled to come online in 2014 but , under a new timeline, NRG Bluewater officials said it won’t start operating until 2016.

Continue reading Development of Delaware Offshore Wind Project Delayed By BP Spill

National Grid Agrees To Buy Half of Cape Wind’s Future Output

Cape wind and National Grid have agreed on the terms of a long-term power purchase agreement, which has been submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) for approval.

Continue reading National Grid Agrees To Buy Half of Cape Wind’s Future Output

Is a Casino Deal In The Works For Cape Wind? That’s one rumor floating around

A "casino for wind power" deal might be in the works for Cape Wind.

One of the obstacles standing in the way of Cape Wind’s 420-megawatt wind farm off Cape Cod is the Mashpee Wampanoag, whose tribal leaders say the $1 billion offshore facility and its 130 turbines would desecrate tribal burial sites.

But is a deal in the works? G.E.R. has learned that federal authorities could approve the Cape Wind project but in a consilatory move would also support the Mashpee Wampanoag’s plan to develop a casino. A spokeswoman for the Tribal Council declined to comment.

Continue reading Is a Casino Deal In The Works For Cape Wind? That’s one rumor floating around

Is a Casino Deal In The Works For Cape Wind? Thats one rumor floating around

A "casino for wind power" deal might be in the works for Cape Wind.

One of the obstacles standing in the way of Cape Wind’s 420-megawatt wind farm off Cape Cod is the Mashpee Wampanoag, whose tribal leaders say the $1 billion offshore facility and its 130 turbines would desecrate tribal burial sites.

But is a deal in the works? G.E.R. has learned that federal authorities could approve the Cape Wind project but in a consilatory move would also support the Mashpee Wampanoag’s plan to develop a casino. A spokeswoman for the Tribal Council declined to comment.

Continue reading Is a Casino Deal In The Works For Cape Wind? Thats one rumor floating around

Cape Wind: Ken Salazar Has Two Unappetizing Choices

Stormy seas ahead for Ken Salazar?

It?s down to Ken Salazar now.

The Interior Department?s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation report, released Friday, claims that the impact of the $1 billion, 130-wind-turbine Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound will be ?pervasive, destructive and? permanent?. The report read as though it was written by Cape Wind?s most prominent opponent, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound.

Now Interior Secretary Salazar, who is expected to make a decision on the Massachusetts wind farm later this month, is left with two equally unappetizing choices. Continue reading Cape Wind: Ken Salazar Has Two Unappetizing Choices