Energy Policy and Massachusetts
What is the point of renewables? Avoiding net emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief gas behind alleged global warming.
Other agendas, however, must have been in play when the requirements were set. First, nuclear-generated electricity, which emits no greenhouse gases at all, can't be counted toward the renewable quota, currently 5 percent of sales.
Mr. Baker also demonstrated a reasoned devotion to data and math when it comes to the Patrick Administration's swoon over wind energy. He said he couldn't make sense of it. Neither can we, not of wind energy plants in the state and federal waters surrounding the Vineyard -but nowhere else at all in state waters - and not dotting the Vineyard landscape either.
The country has evidently arrived at a point in its legal culture where no negative consequences seem to exist for making false or misleading claims to sell wind energy and take your property rights. Should the people who value intellectual honesty be fleeced by such mendacity, even from their government?
Wind-driven power will be significantly more expensive than energy produced by any other source, but the state endorses it, subsidizes it, and would protect its higher costs by attempting to block energy suppliers from buying less expensive power -even power from renewables - created out of state.
Whatever one believes about the ultimate importance of wind power as an element of this country's energy mix, the fact remains that the men and women who propose these projects are business people, and as such are at base motivated by profit to themselves and their shareholders. They are not working in the public interest.
Towers reaching 50-story heights, red lights flashing and blades like a 747's wingspan, placed wherever the Secretary of Energy thinks they should go. Home rule bypassed. Planning boards sidelined. Neighbors without right of appeal. Low-frequency noise sickening residents in homes no one wants.
Does this sound like the latest Stephen King horror movie? Hardly.
Every resident of Massachusetts should question the judgment of the Mineral Management Service ocean wind turbine decision before any more projects approved by MMS go forward! Did the MMS since 2009 put too much emphasis on wind and other renewable energy sources?
What hasn't received national attention is the stunning taxpayer subsidized profits the developer is expecting to reap from the project. A study by the Massachusetts based Beacon Hill Institute found that the proposed $1 billion dollars in subsidies from the project would contribute to a nearly 25% return on equity by investors - more than twice the average historical for return for all corporations. Add taxpayers to that list of groups opposed to the project.
ACHP states, "The historic properties affected by the Project are significant, extensive, and closely interrelated. The Project will adversely affect 34 historic properties including 16 historic districts and 12 individually 2 significant historic properties on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket Island, and six properties of religious and cultural significance to tribes, including Nantucket Sound itself.
Wind Energy Ordinance has opened up for 22 of these to be built inside the city limits. This means that not just one neighborhood will be affected, but neighborhoods from Quail Run to homes near Low Street could be impacted.
Apparently, the city is poised to repeat the same mistake it did with the landfill. And with the adoption of the conditions of the GCA, it will be nearly powerless to protect the citizens from the negative effects of these huge towers.
Cape Wind's staking a claim on Nantucket Sound seems to belong to the oil wildcatters' era ("There Will Be Wind?"), not the modern age of cooperative development that calls forth a nation's resources not just from its corporations but also its government and research institutions.
This is not to say Cape Wind failed to do its homework. It identified and exploited a loophole in the Sound's protection from industrialization, and its scientists made their case that they could produce energy at that site without significant environmental damage.
Today, we are confronted by the crisis of climate change. Descriptions are so fearful, confusing, and occasionally contradictory that it's hard to know what to think. We each try to do what we can to reduce our personal impact on the earth, and ponder how to preserve the planet from a catastrophic fate that could be imminent and irreversible.
For many people, renewable energy has become the panacea: producing power from wind, trees, grasses, and the sun.
While the Cape Wind-Nantucket Sound drama between US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the Wampanoag Indians drew the wind-energy spotlight last week, a quieter play opened on Beacon Hill, where the Senate Ways and Means committee reported out its version of the Patrick administration's Wind Siting Reform Act. ...Rather than a comprehensive set of siting standards for onshore wind farms, the bill assaults the integrity of the Commonwealth's environmental regulations and conservation legacy.
As Cape Wind gets closer and closer to receiving permit approval and securing a power contract, I think Massachusetts residents deserve an open and honest accounting about the true impact this project ...At a time when American taxpayers just bailed out Wall Street and now one in 10 people are without a job, we must make sure that our policy decisions to make this energy transition minimize the financial burden we place on those who can least afford it.
Few people can argue with the need to develop alternative and renewable forms of energy. However, the Eagle is wrong in favoring passage of the Wind Siting Reform Act. There are simply too many instances of towns regretting decisions to fast-track plans to be in the forefront of the green energy movement, and this act would further hasten giving the OK for such projects without townspeople knowing all the facts.
Well, it took nearly seven years, but the federal government is finally poised to implement a comprehensive ocean management plan.
When the developers of Cape Wind staked a claim in the middle of Nantucket Sound, it became painfully obvious that the nation lacked an effective marine regulatory process that included local and regional stakeholders.
Hard to imagine that the state agency we entrust with managing our shoreline is clueless about the fact that there are lots of recreational boaters off Salisbury Beach.
But that appears to be the case with the state's Coastal Zone Management agency, which is taking another look at its plans to potentially allow wind farms immediately off Salisbury's coast after receiving "new data" that indicates there's boating and lobstering going on out there.
For many of those who have organized the effort to gain maximum local control over wind energy projects in nearby state waters, the superficial argument is that Islanders should decide what affects them. In fact, the underlying motivation is the determination to block developments that will change what we see and hear when we look out from the shore. It is a not-in-our-backyard argument.
And, that's exactly the right argument for Islanders to make. The calculations that must form the foundation for a decision on such things as wind energy developments on or near the shores of Dukes County are tricky and crucial.
Mr. Bowles is under fire from Vineyarders who object to the possibility that the state's ocean management plan, whose creation Mr. Bowles supervised, will write Vineyard regulators, the Martha's Vineyard Commission in particular, out of the picture when nearshore energy projects seek development permits. But, in a wide-ranging discussion of energy issues Tuesday, the imperturbable Mr. Bowles offered an unvarnished and concrete sense of his and the state's view of what lies ahead, in the form of renewable energy project siting south of Cape Cod.
Officials from the state Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs are likely to catch an earful from Martha's Vineyard residents tonight over the proposed Massachusetts Oceans Management Plan.
The public hearing begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School cafeteria.
The draft plan severely limits the island's regulatory control over the development of renewable energy projects within three miles of shore. ...Madden said the chief architect of the oceans plan is Ian Bowles.
"Ian Bowles is very pro-wind and he wants to see these things get done, and done quickly," Madden told the Gazette.