Markell takes part in wind power summit

    The future of offshore wind power is still up in the air. So Gov. Markell met in Washington Friday with the U.S. Interior Secretary and the leaders of other east coast states to discuss the industry’s progress.

    Delaware Gov. Jack Markell joined the governors of five other Atlantic Coast states in a meeting to discuss a regional approach to offshore wind energy development.

    The meeting was hosted by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar Friday afternoon in Washington.

    The conference was a key step in the creation of an Atlantic Wind Consortium designed to help states work together to expedite the development of offshore wind farms.

    “We’re very encouraged by the Secretary’s suggestion of a council of offshore states as well as his willingness to work with us and federal agencies to speed up the permitting process which is a really important part of this.”

    Markell participated in the summit along with the governors of Maine, Rhode Island, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.

    Delaware is the only state with a signed power purchase agreement. Delmarva Power and Bluewater Wind signed the landmark 25-year, 200 megawatt deal in 2008.

    The agreement calls for 65 to 100 windmills to be built about 13 miles off the coast of Rehoboth Beach. The plan is to get the first turbines in the water by 2013.

    While Delaware is seen as a leader in offshore wind power development, Markell says the states must work together to tap the full potential of this new energy industry.

    “This opportunity is much bigger than any one state,” he said. “There are literally no offshore wind turbines in this country today and there are 800 in Europe. This is an enormous opportunity. And because it’s bigger than one state it will require all of us to work together and for all of us to work with the federal government.”

    Salazar also emphasized the importance of teamwork and streamlining the permitting process.

    “Investors will not invest in a project if they have to wait seven to nine years to get their permits,” he said.

    Salazar hopes to have the consortium officially organized within 30 days.

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