The federal government recently denied the state of Delaware’s application for a $22 million grant for a wind turbine manufacturing facility in the Port of Wilmington (The Port). The Port, along with NRG Bluewater Wind (NRG), sought the grant from the second round of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s stimulus-funded transportation investment program.
The Port and NRG still hope to expand the port to include a facility where wind developers could import and assemble wind turbine parts and then haul them out to sea for installation. In the ocean, the wind is stronger and more stable, making it easier to harness power.The overall cost of the planned expansion is $66 million. If awarded the grant, NRG would have matched the federal government’s contribution of $22 million, and Delaware taxpayers would have been responsible for the remainder.
Both the state of Delaware and NRG expressed disappointment over not getting the grant, but remained optimistic about the project moving forward. Alan Levin, Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office said that, “Obviously, we’re disappointed, but I don’t think it changes our desire or our goal to be the major facility for the production and manufacture of [wind turbine] units. . . [i]t just means we’ve got to go look at other sources, other ways to make this happen.”
Similarly, NRG spokesman Dave Gaier explained that, “Obviously we’d like to have seen the Port of Wilmington get the. . . grant. However, that doesn’t change NRG Bluewater Wind’s project plan nor diminish our enthusiasm to move forward with the Mid-Atlantic Wind Park. We’ll sit down with Delaware state officials at an appropriate time to discuss options with respect to the port.”
Presently, Congress is considering funding a third round of grants under the stimulus-funded transportation investment program
We will keep you apprised of any developments regarding the state’s meeting with NRG or funding for the project.