Library from Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities approved multibillion dollar offshore wind contracts with Vineyard Wind on Friday and, over the objections of Attorney General Maura Healey, authorized the state’s three utilities to collect an additional $168 million from ratepayers just for carrying the contracts on their books.
Vineyard Wind says it will adopt research measures recommended by a local university to monitor the effects on fisheries of the 84-turbine offshore wind farm.
Officials said the first priority is to secure approval from the Department of Public Utilities for the RFP, then ask for company responses by August, and award the contract or contracts in November – allowing just enough time to take advantage of the 12 percent federal investment tax credit that expires at the end of 2019.
In a March 15 letter, Michael Pentony, the head of the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, warned that the report on Vineyard Wind completed by the U.S Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in December included conclusions that were not well supported by data and needed additional analysis of several key angles of impact.
The company believes the robust transmission infrastructure will help Massachusetts realize its offshore wind goals while protecting the public from unnecessary costs and reducing environmental impacts. Conant stated that by using HVDC technology, Anbaric can connect 1,200MW of wind via a single cable bundle, while to move the same amount of energy with AC would require three or four separate cables, each in its own corridor.
This letter by US NOAA Fisheries Northeast Regional Administrator Mike Pentony raises serious concerns regarding the impacts of the 800 MW Vineyard Wind offshore wind facility proposed off the coast of Massachusetts. Concerns center on impacts to New England’s fisheries, marine life, and ocean habitats. The letter was sent to Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and provides comment on the project's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). A portion of the letter is provided below. The full letter can be downloaded from the document links on this page.
The March 12 Vineyard Wind public forum at Barnstable Town Hall gave residents a chance to question company officials.
To me, these three proposed wind farms are a money grab, business venture with taxpayers on the hook. There is nothing Vineyard about Vineyard Wind. I wonder how many of the company executives own electric cars, stopped flying, or practice what they preach. A few people are going to make a lot of money, and a lot of us are going to pay for it.
As Massachusetts gets ready to issue its second request for offshore wind proposals, the state is weighing whether to speed up its procurement process to allow developers to reap federal tax benefits. Energy developers and environmental groups are encouraging the state to launch the solicitation as soon as next month.
The only part of Vineyard Wind’s proposed offshore wind farm in Nantucket waters is an undersea cable running from the turbines 14 miles southwest of the island through the Muskeget Channel to Covell’s Beach in Centerville. But fisherman Dan Pronk is worried that the impact the 84 turbines would have on the underwater ecosystem and the fishing industry is tremendous. “There’s nothing good about it,” he said.
When Vineyard Wind won the state’s first round of bidding for offshore energy contracts last year, the developer pleasantly surprised just about everyone with its super-low price.
A public hearing for Vineyard Wind’s proposed undersea cables that would run through Edgartown waters was cut off abruptly after several heated exchanges at a Martha’s Vineyard Commission meeting Thursday night.
Although there are benefits to the way the system's underlying resources are evolving, the emphasized energy sources are more dependent on external conditions, van Welie said, as natural gas must be delivered just in time for use, and solar and wind power are dependent on weather.
After sustaining damage from a fire last fall, the town’s second wind turbine is set to sit idle for the foreseeable future. Or it may be taken down by the operator, town manager Tony Marino told the select board this week. But the board also got unwelcome news when Marino told them the project was never bonded.
While there were many supporters in the room for Vineyard Wind and renewable energy in general, more than a few had pointed questions at a public hearing Wednesday on a draft environmental report on the project’s construction and operations plan.
The top U.S. energy regulator is chastising his colleagues in a very public Twitter dispute that shines a light on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s inner workings.
“The Wall Street Journal published a scathing editorial on the experience of Falmouth, Massachusetts, which spent $10 million on wind turbines, and it’s been a disaster,” Rep. McClintock said at the hearing. “That small town went deeply into debt to finance them. The townspeople couldn’t bear the noise, the constant flickering of light as 400-foot windmills turned and property values plunged 20 percent. I wonder how that squares with the bright picture that you’ve painted.”
“The small town went deeply into debt to finance them,” McClintock said during the hearing Wednesday. “The townspeople couldn’t bear the noise, the constant flickering light as 400-foot windmills turned. Property values plunged 20 percent. And I wonder how that squares with the bright picture that you painted.” Baker responded that one failed experience shouldn’t undermine “things we need to do with respect to mitigation, adaptation, and resiliency” to deal with climate change, emphasizing that solutions should be “practical and cost effective.”
Falmouth will also spend the next 11 years paying off the remaining $3.6 million in bonds it floated to pay for the first turbine. The stimulus grant covered the cost of the second turbine on condition that it operates as an “energy efficient project.” So unless Falmouth can find someone else to take the turbine, get it running, and persuade regulators that this meets its contractual obligations, the town will be on the hook for another $5 million. That’s a lot of wasted money in a town with fewer than 32,000 residents.
Facing fierce neighborhood opposition and multiple lawsuits, selectmen last week voted to remove the turbines, which had cost the town about $10 million to build, saddling residents with years of debt. “All that’s left now is that we have an albatross to live with,” said Sam Peterson, the one dissenting vote on the five-person board.