Christopher P. Soper, LEED AP, associate with Cohen Seglias, contributed to this post.
This summer, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed into law four renewable energy bills designed to expand Delaware’s wind and solar power industries. The new legislation creates incentives aimed toward attracting companies in these industries to Delaware.
The bills also offer incentives that will benefit solar designers, manufacturers and installers. There can be little doubt that demand for solar electric systems will increase since both homes and businesses will be able to sell back 110% of their aggregate electrical consumption to the grid, and because of the newly created ability to place ground-mounted solar energy systems on property zoned for residential use.
In addition, the bills promote alternate sources of renewable energy, such as offshore wind infrastructure or a large wind park off the coast of Delaware. According to Collin O’Mara, who serves as both a member of Governor Markell’s Cabinet and as Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control:
More than 95 percent of Delaware’s electricity comes from fossil fuels with 70 percent from coal-burning power plants. These green energy bills will help the state transition at a faster rate to renewable energy. We can dramatically reduce our reliance on fossil fuels in the next 15 years and move closer to the healthy environment and green economy we want in Delaware. The bills also provide an opportunity for all Delaware citizens to participate in buying clean power, using clean power and being a part of the clean technology transition.
Work opportunities for metal fabricating contractors, electrical contractors and marine trade contractors are anticipated. Job creation, less dependence on fossil fuels and rate stability are just some of the goals envisioned by the legislation which could serve as a template for clean energy bills for years to come.
The state has wasted no time in making good on its efforts to increase its reliance on renewable energy sources. On September 7, 2010, the Delaware Public Service Commission (PSC) approved 2 Delmarva Power contracts for renewable energy. The PSC approved the 20-year, $42.6 million purchase of power from a solar electricity farm planned in Dover, as well as moving back the dates for deliveries of electricity from the NRG Bluewater Wind offshore wind project to no later than the end of 2016, 2 years later than the original contract. Also in the works, the Dover SUN Park is expected to start operations next summer. The City of Dover will be buying all of the power from SUN Park, which is expected to generate enough electricity to serve 1,300 homes.
Initiatives similar to these bills recently passed in New Jersey and are currently before the Pennsylvania legislature.
For more information or to obtain a copy of the bills, please e-mail Christopher P. Soper, or call (215) 564-1700.