Category Archives: Electricity

DNREC “listening session” on the EPA “Clean Power Plan”–Nov 5, 2014, in Dover, DE

The official notice is below.

Green Delaware Comments:

The “Clean Power Plan,” formally two proposals released in June by the EPA for public comment, is extremely complicated and hard to fully understand.  So much so that regulatory agencies, advocacy orgs, and others who have studied it at great length are not entirely sure what it all means. States have a great deal of flexibility in complying with the proposed requirements, whatever they turn out to be. Continue reading

Wednesday, August 27, 2014, is a bad air day in Delaware

All sorts of bad air on Wednesday, Aug 26th:

Delaware Department of Ag violating law to protect chicken scam?

 New York City garbage going to Chester, PA, via Elsmere, DE?

More power lines to be hung up over the Delaware River?

Utility ripoffs in general and in particular….

The DNREC has announced an “air quality action day,” saying that ozone is forecast to be in the Code Orange range and particles are forecast to be in the Code Yellow range.

The official forecasting system does not consider the combined effect of multiple pollutants, but Green Delaware does, and we say this is a Code Red (unhealthy for everybody) day. Continue reading

Tuesday: Breathe with care in Delaware …..(etc)

Bad Air

Tuesday August 5, 2014 is an official Code Orange “air quality action day” in Delaware.  The DNREC says: “A Code Orange air quality forecast for ozone is a level of pollution that can be unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as young children, the elderly, and those with heart and/or respiratory conditions. Such persons should limit outdoor activities, especially those that require a high level of exertion.”

Continue reading

Good News: “The Data Center” (power plant) apparently dead

Gas attack: U of Delaware kills $1 billion data center/power plant.”

“The Data Center” was a scam so blatant, so absurd, that it should never have gotten any traction at all.

That it did is a sad commentary on the intellectual and ethical emptiness of Delaware’s “Chamber of Commerce” business community, and, of course, the administration of Gov. Jack Markell.  The so called “Delaware Economic Development Office,”especially, demonstrates a consistent and predictable idiocy backed up by secrecy and dishonesty.

Per usual in Delaware, the scam was assembled by various parties, including the Markell administration, the University of Delaware, and the City of Newark, before the public was given notice.  Then, it was rolled out as a done deal.  Thankfully, it apparently has been undone.  (Note that the objection is mostly to the power plant, not to a data center as such.)

Aside from the obvious lie of saying a 278 megawatt gas-burning power plant was “auxiliary” to a data center, consider the un wisdom, or the symbolism, of a large new fossil-fuel power plant in a state so vulnerable to the effects of climate change that much of it will soon enough be under water.

Delaware has the lowest mean elevation of any state at 60 ft above sea level.   (Florida and Louisiana are next at 100 ft.)  The mean elevation of Kent County is only 36 feet.  Current measured sea level rise is around 3.4 mm per year and speeding up–it varies from place to place–and almost every new official prediction of sea level rise is higher than the last one.  See Waters rising … Delaware going away?”

It is long past time to be shutting down the the existing combustion power plants that drive climate change and sea level rise, far less a time to be building new ones.  (The total generating capacity in Delaware is on the order of 3300 megawatts.)

In the face of this, Markell has allowed investment in wind, solar, and energy efficiency to mostly come to a stop–suiting the interests of Delmarva Power–while embracing various schemes for burning more natural gas.

(All considered, it appears that the climate change impact of natural gas is at least as high as coal, because of the unburned methane emissions.)

Residents of the City of Newark, and faculty and students of the University of Delaware, came to life to oppose a scam in which the City and the administration of the U of D were deeply involved.  In recent decades it has been rare to see signs of political life in Newark, but self-interest does have an energizing effect.  See Newark Residents Against the Power Plant.

The Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club (especially Amy Roe) and the Delaware Audubon Society contributed.

But the real hero of this fight, in my opinion, is Rep. John Kowalko of Newark.  Kowalko relentlessly sought accurate information from various parties so he could represent the true interests of his constituents.  It doesn’t take a lot of courage for professors or environmentalists to oppose a power plant, but Kowalko, a longtime union person, took a lot of heat from any-job-at-any-cost Delaware union officials.

Kowalko, as he usually does, behaved with gumption, integrity, and right-on values.   Consider the oath of office that Delaware’s Constitution prescribes for public officials:

“I, (name) , do proudly swear (or affirm) to carry out the responsibilities of the office of

(name of office) to the best of my ability, freely acknowledging that the powers of this office flow from the people I am privileged to represent. I further swear (or affirm) always to place the public interests above any special or personal interests, and to respect the right of future generations to share the rich historic and natural heritage of Delaware. In doing so I will always uphold and defend the Constitutions of my Country and my State, so help me God.”  [emphasis added by Muller]

How many legislators take their oath seriously?  John Kowalko is one who clearly does.  (I don’t know what role has been played by Senators representing the area.)

Compare the “Data Center” fight with the fight of people around Millsboro against a giant Korean chicken-killing plant, another Markell project just as absurd and undesirable.  See “ Just how disgusting can the Markell administration get? Is there any bottom?”  That area is represented by Gerald W. Hocker and John C. Atkins, two of the most special-interest-serving legislators in Delaware.  (Atkins has been in the news recently –but not for helping his constituents!–, and Green Delaware has featured him before.)

Friday and Saturday are forecast to be Code Yellow bad air days in Delaware for ozone.  Saturday is also Code Yellow for particles.  Some discussion of the meaning of this is here.

Update: Delaware Public Service Commisison admits Kowalko as intervenor

Here is an email from Rep. John Kowalko:

In a victory for the ratepayers (in my estimation) the Public Service Commission unanimously voted against the Delaware Public Advocate’s objection to my intervention status request in the matter of PSC Docket No. 13-384. It’s not the first time the DPA has objected to an intervention petition on the weak grounds that they are tasked, solely, with representing the ratepayers (by law). I pointed out to the commission that this was absolutely not the case and more advocates on behalf of the economically challenged ratepayer class, especially at the cost (free) would complement any efforts they might make not undermine them as Mr. Bonar alleged. Dave Bonar said in testimony today that interveners such as myself could take the podium at the public hearing for comment or submit written comments on these dockets. That is a ridiculous argument to make considering the complexity of the issues and the finite access to the nuances of these rate requests that would not be available to the non-intervener and/or public. I made that point and happily the PSC commissioners agreed with me.  […]Regards,
John Kowalko

Urgent Action Alert: Preserve public access to the “Public Service Commission”

Most people know that Delmarva Power and other utilities are reaching deeper and deeper into our pockets with less and less justification.  Heat and electricity are becoming less and less affordable, though wholesale costs are low.  Of course, the main goal of the management of Delmarva Power is to maximize profits for stockholders.

Standing against this are Representatives John Kowalko and Ed Osienski. Continue reading

Black Hat Jack is at it again….this time it’s keeping the “public” out of the “Public Service Commission”

Delaware’s so-called “Public Advocate,” Dave Bonar, is seeking to keep Reps. John Kowalko and Edward Osienski from “intervening” in an important Delmarva Power ripoff “docket” now happening in the Delaware Public Service Commission (PSC).

Green Delaware’s comments to the PSC on this are here.

So what’s really going on?  Utility regulatory matters aren’t always easy to understand and a little background may help. Continue reading

“The Data Center,” part #1

[The emailed version of this had typos.  Corrections and a few minor editorial changes made here.]

All sorts of schemes and scams pop up everywhere.  Some fly, some don’t.  Some make sense, some don’t.

Over the years, a long list of schemes and projects have engaged the attention of Green Delaware and other advocacy orgs.  Indeed, one of our key functions is to analyze proposals and share our opinions. Continue reading