Dover approves purchase of solar power

DOVER, DELAWARE - Dover city council agreed to buy all the energy produced by what's being described as the first utility-scale solar power plant on the Eastern seaboard north of Florida.

Operating through a local affiliate called White Oak Solar Energy LLC, LS Power Development of East Brunswick, N.J., says it will spend $50 million to $60 million for a plant that would generate 10 megawatts of electricity.

The plant will be on a 90-acre tract of the city-owned Garrison Oak Technology Park on the city's east side.

Francis Hodsoll of Pace Global Energy Services, who advises the city on utility projects, was pressed by Councilman William P. McGlumphy to tell residents how they would benefit. The cost of electricity will be higher, Hodsoll said, but the solar plant would replace polluting sources of energy with clean ones. He said the project will make Dover the regional leader in solar energy and provide "risk mitigation" in case the city were required to use renewable energy sources in the future.

Councilman Eugene B. Ruane said the solar plant would cut emissions of carbon dioxide by 22,000 tons a year while also reducing other chemical byproducts of the city's oil- and gas-fired electric plant.

The energy purchase agreement is the first of three contracts needed to finalize the deal. Another contract would provide for the lease of the plant site and the third would be an agreement among the city, Delmarva Power and White Oak on how renewable energy credits generated by the solar plant would be divvied up.

Delmarva will not buy power from the plant — to be called Dover SUN Park — but will buy the bulk of the energy credits to help satisfy a state requirement that renewable sources account for 20 percent of the utility's power supply by 2019. The state's municipally owned utilities are expected to buy the rest.


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