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Distributed Energy Resources

Dover, Delaware, Electric Director Details Renewable Energy Plans, Ongoing Projects

The public power community of Dover, Delaware “is committed to shifting as much of the energy consumed to be generated from the cleanest sources possible” and to support this, “we are constantly looking for opportunities to tap into renewable sources of production,” Paul Waddell, Electric Director for Dover said in a recent Q&A with Public Power Current.

The City of Dover Electric Department recently issued a request for proposals for solar power purchase agreements.

Waddell noted that the city has a 10 MW solar array in the service area that has been in operation since 2010. 

The outcome of a Dover integrated resource plan “showed that expanding our portfolio to include up to 225 MW of solar by 2028 would be the most effective solution. Given the recent federal and state mandates to evolve to a carbon neutral operation, Dover will work to achieve the goals that have been set and balance affordability and reliability to the customer,” he said.

Ongoing Projects

Waddell also provided details on various projects underway in Dover.

The city is currently demolishing the McKee Run Generation Station. The facility, first built in 1961 has provided the city with electricity utilizing two 17 MW generators until 1972 when Unit 3 came online. This new unit produced 103 MW and the three units of the plant could supply power for the service area and still export some energy. 

As time went on, the station was relegated to the role of a peaking unit, and its run time diminished.

Units 1 & 2 were retired in 2017 while Unit 3 stayed online a little longer. In 2018, McKee was not selected into the PJM capacity market and plans started for its retirement. It officially ceased operations in June of 2021 and the city started exploring demolition options. 

After an extensive RFP process, the city chose Total Wrecking and Environmental out of Buffalo, N.Y. to perform the work. In January 2024, Total Wrecking mobilized to the site and started the abatement and demolition process. 

As of late April 2024, the project is on schedule with an estimated completion in March 2025. 

“We are also building a substation at the Garrison Oak Business and Technical Park.  Once completed the substation will supply power to the lots at the park and give us the ability to serve more load in the surrounding area as it develops. The benefit of increased switching capability and redundancy will increase our ability to limit outage times and keep our customers in power,” he said.

“Lastly, we are in the process of replacing all city owned lights with more efficient LED lights.  The project was phased in with the first phase being security lights, then roadways and ending with the decorative post tops.” 

 RP3 Platinum Level Designation

The City of Dover Electric Department has earned a Platinum level designation from APPA for the Association’s RP3 program.

Waddell was asked to detail the steps that the utility has taken to earn this designation.

“I see the RP3 program as a way to evolve and shift the utility to be more efficient.  Every application cycle, the RP3 submission introduces something we take away and implement into our daily operations,” he said.

“This not only allows us to stay current but also forces us to document it and prove to ourselves and the evaluators that we are learning and implementing best practices.  Being one of nine municipalities in Delaware, we have joined forces with the other eight to brainstorm and share practices that worked and didn’t work,” Waddell noted.

“Another way to stay current is by sending our team to the various conferences and symposiums to hear other utilities’ success and failures.  I have found the Engineering & Operations Conference to be a great tool to make you see things outside your daily operations and what may be coming on the horizon.”   

Waddell Details Role and Responsibilities as Electric Director

“My role as the Electric Director is to oversee and direct the operations of the Electric Department,” Waddell noted.

The position is responsible for supervising staff, establishing long-range plans, developing policy and procedures, managing departmental activities and events, preparing budgets, and evaluating, documenting, and reporting on events and activities to senior management and elected or appointed officials.

The position formulates long-range goals for the organization, develops policy and position papers and negotiates with the chief administrative officer and/or elected officials.

The Electric Director also monitors and researches trends, new methodology and technology, laws, rules, and City policy to develop and enhance public service processes and activities and plan for future expansion to meet growth needs.

The Electric Director also directs departmental activities, including engineering projects, distribution, revenue production, inspections and evaluations, contingency planning, safety, and other activities, processes, or programs.

Dover Joins DEMEC as Associate Member

The Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation recently announced the addition of Dover as an associate member.

With the inclusion of Dover, DEMEC will represent all nine community-owned electric utilities in the state of Delaware.

This partnership brings access to valued-added services and programs at economies of scale pricing to the City of Dover, DEMEC said.