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Bids from companies offering to supply electricity to Connecticut without producing harmful carbon air pollution – including the Millstone nuclear plant and an ocean windfarm – are now under review by state energy officials.
Of all generation projects with approved contracts, a dozen -- all of them solar -- would be located in Connecticut. The largest is the 49-megawatt Quinebaug Solar Project straddling the Brooklyn-Canterbury border, developed by NextEra Energy Resources.
Connecticut has a love-hate relationship with wind power. Okay, so far it’s mostly hate.
In 2015, neighbors living within 3,800 feet of an industrial wind project on Vermont's Georgia Mountain filed a motion for relief. They reported sleep disturbance and other health impacts caused by the operations of the 440-foot-tall turbines. Vermont's Department of Public Service found the neighbors' complaints to be credible and serious, and concluded that turbine operations could be "indicative of a significant impairment of the quality of life for some nearby residents."
The projects have a nameplate capacity of 461.2 megawatts, but they will produce less power than that because the facilities typically operate at less than 35 percent of capacity. Approximately 306.4 megawatts come from solar projects and 154.8 megawatts from wind.
Ambitious plans to build wind farms in northern and western Maine representing billions of dollars of investment were dealt a blow on Tuesday, after a coalition of utilities and state agencies in southern New England failed to select any Maine-based wind or transmission projects to meet the region’s clean-energy goals.
Connecticut utility regulators have given tentative approval to the $3 billion acquisition of New Haven-based UIL Holdings Corp. by Spanish energy giant Iberdrola. The state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority issued its 45-page ruling Tuesday with numerous conditions that Iberdola must meet as a requirement for approval. A final decision on the merger by PURA is scheduled for Dec. 9.
"We have five instances of international fraud and corruption," House said at the hearing, according to a transcript. "This authority would be derelict in its duties if it did not look into your past and assume it was possible that your future might resemble what you've done in the past." Before the hearing, Iberdrola answered questions from PURA about the fraud and corruption cases.
BNE won't say how much they spent on Colebrook South, but the financing includes a $14.9 million construction loan from Webster, a $2 million loan from the Connecticut Green Bank and $5.6 million from a California bank tied to federal tax credits. Wind power doesn't pay for itself yet on the open market; rather, taxpayers and ratepayers make up the difference in bidding for contracts, in an effort to expand the technology.
The governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island teamed up Wednesday to begin looking for ways to increase the region's reliance on renewable energy sources while also expanding natural gas capacity.
U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton ruled Wednesday that Allco Finance both lacked standing in the case and failed to establish that Connecticut energy officials "fixed" wholesale power prices in approving the contracts. Thomas Melone, chief executive of Allco Finance, said Wednesday that he will appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.
Wind is not the most cost efficient source of energy everywhere, just in certain places, explained Jose Zayas, program manager for the Wind and Water Power Program in the federal Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. In essence, wind power makes great sense across the Plains and in west Texas where wind speeds are strong and opposition to megaprojects is light.
The legislature's Regulation Review Committee approved rules that require setbacks, address concerns over noise and shadows created by spinning turbine blades, stipulate how siting officials may measure the height of wind turbines and provide other technical details. For example, a wind power developer must submit a visual impact report that analyzes how each of the proposed wind turbines sites is visible along with any alternative locations.
Connecticut's three-year moratorium on construction of new wind turbines could be lifted by the end of April, if legislators approve regulations on the structures.
As Connecticut moves on several fronts to diversify its supply of energy, proposals for wind power have stalled as state lawmakers struggle to reach agreement on rules for turbine locations, shadows created by spinning blades and other details.
But it hasn't been an entirely clean tenure for Esty. The department has made enemies, at various times, of heating oil dealers, clean energy advocates, and renewable power developers. In October, state utility regulators publicly questioned the benefits of a Maine wind farm Esty chose for a state contract.
For the fourth time in a little less than a year, a legislative committee has declined to approve regulations for wind turbines in Connecticut, leaving in place a moratorium on wind power projects that has been in effect for more than two years. It reaffirms Connecticut as the only state in the region, and possibly in the nation, that specifically does not permit wind projects.
On the electricity from Maine, regulators said, “Because of transmission limitations, it appears that the electricity generated by this project will remain exclusively or largely in Maine and not be delivered to Connecticut or elsewhere outside of Maine.”
Bill Whitlock, executive vice president of the east region for EDP Renewables North America, said that the company has leased all 58,467 acres of land required to build the Number Nine Wind Farm, named for a small pond just west of Bridgewater, Maine. He said the company has plans to acquire land rights for the 50 miles needed to connect the project to the electric grid.
Energy officials acknowledged that the 400-some miles between Connecticut and the project in northern Maine poses a transmission concern. Last week, ISO-New England identified parts of northern New England, including Maine, as a region with significant bottled-in energy. ...Including clean energy subsidies, both projects priced in at under 8 cents per kilowatt hour. The average bid came in at 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour, and the highest was 20 cents.