Homegrown electricity in Delaware

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Hello everyone,

One reader brought up a good point regarding news that the coal-fired Indian River Power Plant might get a reprieve.

Owner NRG announced earlier this year its plans to retire the Sussex County plant next year.

Late last week, Grid manager PJM raised the possibility of a delayed shutdown as the plant undergoes a review to determine whether the transmission system needs upgrades before the unit powers down for good. PJM quickly noted that many other coal-fired plants in the region had been shut down without big adjustments.

“Our current plans and goals just have us buying more green energy from other places without significantly creating it,” the reader wrote in response to the news.

A recently passed mandate calls on Delaware to get 40% of its electricity from renewables by 2035, with few provisions for locally generated electricity.

 Delaware’s size limits its options.

A natural gas plant on the Indian River property is possible but would require an expensive pipeline and would do nothing to meet the renewable mandate.

A lack of available land limits a massive expansion of solar power, and there is little real estate for onshore wind.

As things currently stand, much of the state’s renewable power will have to come from Pennsylvania onshore wind farms.

Offshore wind remains a wild card.

Thanks to its aggressive 50% mandate for renewable power, Maryland is pushing for massive offshore wind farms off Ocean City that extend into coastline 16 miles off the southern end of  Delaware.

Delaware’s original Bluewater Wind project appears to be dead in the water, at least as originally proposed at a location about 10 miles off the coat at Rehoboth Beach.

The Carney administration has appointed a group to look into wind power, but to date, nothing has surfaced.

Offshore wind is facing what may be last-ditch lawsuits from various groups worried about everything from beachfront views to concerns about the effects on birds and ocean life.

The suits face strong public support for offshore wind and a Biden administration touting the construction jobs and green energy that would be created from multi-billion dollar projects.

Possibilities could include having offshore wind electric lines moved to the grid at the Indian River plant, perhaps with battery storage at the site. In return, a percentage of the offshore wind power could be credited toward’s Delaware’s 40% mandate.

A few wind turbines might also fit into the site.

Whatever happens, the reader’s argument that Delaware needs to have more power produced within the state merits further discussion. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.

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