Library from Massachusetts
With the 2016 state budget through the Legislature and Gov. Charlie Baker filing a hydropower-focused bill last week, Beacon Hill seems poised to talk about energy legislation, but wind energy proposals that could boost business at New Bedford’s Marine Commerce Terminal still might not be heard until after Labor Day, a Taunton senator said Monday.
Judge Robert Rufo declined to issue a cease-and-desist order requested by neighbors in the wake of a Court of Appeals ruling that said the town should have received a special-use permit from its Zoning Board of Appeals before erecting Wind 1, one of its two turbines.
"Under the legislation, the Investor Owned Utilities (IOU) receive 2.75 percent remuneration for payments under the contracts, however this amount is expected to be less than the amount of legal expense incurred to obtain approval of the solicitation process, approval of the contracts and compliance with ongoing reporting and rate setting requirements." While that sounds like Unitil may be losing money, Unitil is not quite sure yet to expect.
It’s looking more likely that the Board of Health will have a vote in July or August on placing further restrictions on operations of the Independence wind turbine. ...Board of Health Chairman Bill Watson said the order could be amended by lowering the threshold that needs to be met for the turbine to be shut down or by extending the hours when it must be shut down.
Monitoring was done at three locations on Gilson Road and at one each on Moreland Road and the Driftway with the turbine running and shut off. The maximum increase recorded in one of the four tests was nine decibels. The turbine would have been in violation at 10 decibels or above.
The Air Force first shut down the 389-foot-tall turbine, manufactured by Fuhrlander, in May of 2014 after there was an indication the gearbox was failing, Forbes said. Metal flakes were found in some oil, she said. ...It took time to get the funds approved for a new gearbox and a contract to hire a company to do the work. The project cost is $600,000, Forbes said.
It’s looking more likely that the Board of Health will have a vote in July or August to decide whether to place further restrictions on operation of the the Independence wind turbine. The board may vote to amend an abatement order approved last fall restricting the hours of operation under certain wind conditions when the turbine is deemed to be out of compliance with state noise regulations.
The town is locked in several legal battles over the turbines, including a pair of lawsuits it has brought against its own Zoning Board of Appeals. The board has twice ruled that the turbines are a nuisance and directed the town to take whatever steps are necessary to remedy the situation. The town has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on special counsel for turbine-related matters.
The opening story in this NPR report discusses some of the history and future of the Falmouth MA wind turbine. Click the link on this page to listen to the show.
Town Attorney Frank K. Duffy Jr. said he did not know yet if the turbines will be shut down or if the town will apply for a special permit to keep them running. “It’s up to the selectmen what we’re going to do,” he said.
The state's Supreme Judicial Court has denied a petition by the town of Falmouth to review a zoning case concerning the town's controversial wind turbines.
Cape Wind has asked state regulators for more time to revive its stalled project after the state’s two major utilities backed out of buying power from the proposed offshore wind farm.
After being plagued by major, some say fatal, setbacks over the past several months, Cape Wind is still struggling to hold the ground the offshore-wind energy developer had previously gained.
Crucial to the trial court's finding was the mistaken concern that the suit would frustrate state efforts to implement policies enunciated in the Green Communities Act and Global Warming Solutions Act, according to the ruling. Writing for a three-person panel, Judge Williams Kayatta said precedent indicates that "a plaintiff may frustrate the efforts of a state policy when those efforts violate or imminently threaten to violate the plaintiff's constitutional rights." (Emphasis in original.)
A suit brought by Cape Wind foes who claim the role of Gov. Deval Patrick's administration in a power purchase agreement between a utility and the offshore wind energy developer was unconstitutional will return to U.S. District Court after being dismissed a year ago.
More homes than previously reported are affected by sound outside of acceptable limits from the Independence wind turbine. A final report from consultants hired to conduct a sound study shows additional exceedances of state Department of Environmental Protection noise regulations and policy beyond those identified in the initial acoustical monitoring study report.
Clouds have gathered and a little of that pre-storm feeling of electricity is in the air, but whether the offshore wind industry in Massachusetts will grow into a hurricane of turbine-spinning development or simply blow over, with barely a breeze, remained uncertain at a Wednesday meeting of wind power players in Falmouth.
Beaton told the Herald the decision to greenlight the terminal project in the first place was a mistake, given the uncertain future at the time for Cape Wind, which planned to plant 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound. “We shouldn’t have developed that, and I wouldn’t have,” Beaton said.
Dong Energy, however, is willing to test the U.S. waters for now and is encouraged by a piece of legislation currently in the Massachusetts state legislature that supports conditions for future offshore wind projects. Leupold also likes the east coast environmental conditions because he says they are similar to some of their ongoing projects in northwestern Europe.
Matthew Beaton, the new state energy secretary, ...says he wouldn’t make that investment today. “I don’t know if, given the uncertainty of Cape Wind at that time, and the overall question marks of offshore wind development, is a $100-plus million investment the appropriate use of those funds? Could we have used those monies in a more well-suited manner?”