Energy Policy and Zoning/Planning
In a move which acknowledges almost a year of bureaucratic missteps, Aquinnah selectmen have announced their plan to scrap an energy district of critical planning concern, created to help push through a pioneering bylaw on wind turbines.
But those involved have voiced a determination not to give up on an initiative ...Earlier this week selectman Camille Rose scheduled a hearing to rescind the energy district with the Martha's Vineyard Commission for Sept. 16. If approved, it will end the energy district and lift the building moratorium.
Jeff Metzger, president of Just Wind, wants to see a set of rules put in place for wind farm development in Stutsman County.
"We're looking at 400 turbines in two projects in Stutsman County," he said. "We're not the only people looking at coming to North Dakota. We need your support to put a zoning ordinance in place for wind farm projects." ...Zoning regulations would define things like setbacks from residences, roads and property lines. The regulations would define where wind turbines could be constructed.
Interviews with architects, engineers and energy experts on Wednesday suggest that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's proposal to place wind turbines atop the city's skyscrapers and bridges, as well as off the coastline of Queens and Brooklyn, would be complicated and expensive and barely begin to meet the growth in demand for electricity that is expected in the coming years. ...Even if Mr. Bloomberg could find investors willing to build turbines capable of generating 1,000 megawatts of electricity, experts said, operators of the city's grid would be able to count on only 100 megawatts, or less than 1 percent of peak demand.
Up to 35 electricity-generating wind turbines are to be built along seven miles of the Laurel Hill ridge in Jackson and McIntyre townships in northern Lycoming County, under the plans of Vermont-based Laurel Hill Wind Energy.
On Tuesday, the commission reviewed the plan in detail.
"The work session was held to delve into the plan and make sure all our questions are answered," said Kurt Hausammann Jr., commission executive director. "A plan of this scale warranted a separate meeting."
"While wind power is a popular and growing source of electricity generation in the United States ... it continues to face regulatory obstacles and local opposition," stated the Vermont Energy Partnership report. "And while there is clear potential for an expansion of wind in the State of Vermont, even fully developed, wind can only meet a fraction of the state's electricity needs. To ensure that Vermont has a dependable supply of clean and low-cost electricity, base load providers such as Vermont Yankee and HydroQuébec must continue to serve our state into the future," stated the report.
Chatham-Kent council reaffirmed on Monday that it is open for business when it comes to renewable energy.
The decision followed a presentation of a wind turbine action plan by economic development services.
Kim Cooper, agricultural co-ordinator with the department, said there were concerns with mixed messages, especially since council recently voted to increase turbine minimum setback distances.
A Maryland company and another in New Jersey hope to build wind farms at opposite ends of Maryland.
A National-led Cabinet would decide which crucial projects to fast-track under its plans to shake up the Resource Management Act (RMA), party environment spokesman Nick Smith says.
National says fixing the act would be one of its priorities if it wins this year's general election. It wants to introduce a two-phase system in which priority consents would have to be processed within nine months.
The proposal, announced by party leader John Key and Smith at the weekend, has generated cautious interest.
A state panel evaluating proposals for an offshore wind turbine pilot project will have until Oct. 2 instead of Aug. 20 to make a recommendation to the state Board of Public Utilities.
The panel needs more time to evaluate five companies' proposals, some of which are "large, extensive," Doyal H. Siddell, a BPU spokesman, said Thursday.
But the six-week delay did not sit well with two observers.
Reversing its own earlier decision, the Utah Public Service Commission (the "Commission") has concluded that a wind power project must obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity ("CPCN") for a 90-mile transmission line proposed in connection with a wind farm to be built in southwest Utah.
Frostburg resident John Bambacus wrote Delegate Wendell Beitzel in February, asking him to sponsor the repeal of a law passed in 2007 that exempts industrial wind farms from public scrutiny.
He asked again this week in light of Gov. Martin O'Malley's apparent willingness to consider being a part of an industrial wind energy facility off the shores of Ocean City. This time, the former state senator received the answer he wanted. ...Right now, "land-based wind turbines are on a fast-track (approval process). They get no environmental, health or safety review" from the Maryland Public Service Commission, the Department of the Environment or other agencies, much less the general public.
At least two companies are interested in offshore wind development in New York's Great Lakes waters - BQ Energy, which developed Lackawanna's Steel Winds, and AWS Truewind.
"I don't think it's inevitable, but I think it's very likely," said Bruce Bailey, AWS Truewind's president.
There are significant obstacles and unknowns. ...Installing wind turbines in water can be at least twice as expensive because of the cost of mobilizing marine crews, the specialized nature of the installation equipment and the turbines and the need to move the power onshore, experts say.
And that doesn't factor in what would be necessary to deal with the ice that often covers the eastern end of Lake Erie in winter.
When it unveiled its Sunrise Powerlink project three years ago, San Diego County's electric utility warned that rolling blackouts like those that swept California during the 2000-01 electricity crisis could return to the region in 2010 without the new power line.
Now, because of state delays in evaluating the $1.5 billion project, that high-voltage transmission line ---- even if it is eventually approved ---- won't be available to help meet the county's peak summer demand for electricity in either 2010 or 2011, utility officials say. ...Bill Powers, an activist and engineer from San Diego who has been fighting Sunrise, maintains there is another option: Ship the power west via an existing line in Baja California and north on wires that connect Tijuana with San Diego.
"You've got a lot of options here that don't necessarily involve building any new transmission," Powers said.
In a setback for San Diego Gas & Electric Co.'s controversial transmission line, state regulators Friday ordered that a draft report examining the Sunrise Powerlink's environmental impacts be expanded to include new information about a Mexico wind power project.
The four-page ruling by California Public Utilities Commissioner Dian Grueneich and Administrative Law Judge Steven Weissman also directs the agency that runs the state power grid to recalculate the economic benefits of Sunrise and project alternatives.
The ruling marked the second time in a year that the finish line for the $1.5 billion project has been pushed back.
The Marble River 229-megawatt wind project in upstate New York was approved by the state utility regulator on Wednesday, said its owners, AES-Acciona Energy NY and Horizon Wind.
By the time it goes into operation by the end of 2009, it will be the second-largest wind farm in the state. The 320-MW Maple Ridge project in Lewis County is the biggest in the state.
The wind farm near Clinton and Ellenburg in Clinton County will have 109 wind turbines, each 2.1-MW in capacity, with some blades towering 407 feet (124 meters).
State regulators are soliciting public comments on new rules that will speed up the approval process for siting large wind farms throughout much of Maine.
The new rules, which are based on legislation approved earlier this year by both the Legislature and Gov. John Baldacci, streamline the regulatory process by identifying areas as appropriate for wind-energy projects.
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Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has under contract all of the renewable power it needs to meet state mandates by 2010, if the promised power systems can be built in time.
It's a big if.
Expiring tax credits, the lag in building utility-scale renewable energy and increased competition for renewable power sources are potential roadblocks for the Northern California utility and the state's two other major utilities. ...Another issue for PG&E and the other utilities is that costs are rising 20 percent per year for renewable power.
The Scottish Government has set a target to produce 31 per cent of electricity demand from renewable sources by 2011, and 50 per cent by 2020.
Any proposal to construct, extend or operate an onshore wind farm in Scotland with a generation capacity in excess of 50 Megawatts (MW) requires the consent of Scottish Ministers under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989.
The Scottish Government's Energy Consents Unit is currently processing 37 renewable project applications - 28 wind farms, eight hydro projects and one wave project.
Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson said Tuesday wind production in Kansas can expand to create an export market for notoriously stiff breezes cruising across the state.
"We know there is just a certain amount of wind we can integrate into our electrical system in Kansas," Parkinson said. "How do we keep the momentum going? We're probably talking about export."
Wind generation capacity is spiking in Kansas through construction of large commercial farms. The state's installed capacity was 365 megawatts at the end of 2007. That total is expected to reach 1,015 megawatts at the end of 2008.