Library filed under Energy Policy from Massachusetts
The state's Energy Facilities Siting Board voted unanimously today to approve a bundle of permits for the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm, marking another milestone for the controversial project. ...The board voted 7-0 to approve the so-called "super permit," after three hours of deliberation at Boston's South Station Transportation Center, siting board spokesman Tim Shevlin said this afternoon.
Ian Bowles, secretary of the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, sent a letter to the commission last week reaffirming the state Office of Coastal Zone Management's approval of Cape Wind's plan to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound. The commission and the CZM have disagreed on the proposal.
A 106-page report by TRC Environmental Corp. found that regulatory hurdles for wind-power projects in Massachusetts are significant. The report's authors recommend a "one-stop shopping" approach: A developer would not be subject to extended appeals and separate certifications by state and local agencies.
The Cape Cod Commission has filed a letter with the state's Office of Coastal Zone Management objecting to the agency's approval of the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm. The April 1 letter outlines how the commission believed the plan by Cape Wind Associates LLC did not meet standards of the Cape Cod Regional Policy Plan and the local comprehensive plans for Yarmouth and Barnstable.
So now the state would electrify our mountains and turn the Berkshires into the Land of the Giant Turbines -- likely for the benefit -- if any -- of communities in Boston or Central Mass. This is a bad idea at best, with so many arguments against it that it's hard to know where to begin, other than to suggest that state Sec. of Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles be run out of state on a high-speed rail.
According to Tyler Fairbank, CEO of EOS Ventures, a renewable energy development company based in Hancock, four criteria must be acceptable before a wind project can move ahead: wind resource, electrical grid connectivity, community acceptance, and a sound financial structure. "If there is a big red flag in any of these four areas, there is a pretty low probability that anything is going to happen," Fairbank said. "You can very easily have a project that makes sense from a wind resource and electrical environment perspective, but the community is not going to accept it. That is a key evaluation that really needs to be looked at."
The suit, filed by the anti-Cape Wind group, Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound on Feb. 20 in Barnstable Superior Court, contends the agency's determination violates the law, according to a press release issued today by the Alliance. "In its decision on Cape Wind's impacts, CZM has clearly violated the law and abandoned its own mission to protect our coastal environment," Glenn Wattley, alliance president and CEO, said in a prepared statement.
A new report out by the state's Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs shows just how much renewable power could be generated on state properties - especially wind farms in forests that are already being used to harvest trees or frequented by snowmobilers. Some 946 megawatts of power - enough to power some 300,000 homes - could potentially be built on ridges and windy regions on state lands across the state, including October Mountain State Forest in Lee.
The waters around Cape Cod and the Islands are crowded with big ideas and confused seas. In addition to the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm, there are at least two other major renewable energy projects and a myriad of smaller ones proposed for the ocean off Massachusetts, most within a short sail of local shores. But even though other developers are trying to avoid some of the political hurdles Cape Wind has faced, the outlook is hazy on how quickly their projects will be able to move forward.
The protracted Cape Wind saga is attributable to its advance-absent rules that Congress directed Minerals Management Service to promulgate by 2006. Emotion has instead driven the Cape Wind review and debate. The world's largest, United States-precedent, developer-sited, offshore wind project is undergoing an ad hoc review due to MMS' failure to comply with a congressional mandate.
After much discussion Monday about the benefits and disadvantages of selling a parcel of town-owned land known as the Blair Lot, between Routes 7 and 43 (New Ashford and Hancock Roads), the Selectmen unanimously approved letting the voters have the final say at town meeting in May. ...He said the land has the potential to provide an income of $20,000 to $30,000 to the town every 15 years or so from timber harvests and could be a future site for wind turbines.
Green energy has been on the subsidy take for years, including in 2005 when Mr. Delahunt was calling for "an Apollo project for alternative energy sources, for hybrid engines, for biodiesel, for wind and solar and everything else." The reality is that all such projects are only commercially viable because of political patronage. Tufts economist Gilbert Metcalf ran the numbers and found that the effective tax rate for wind is minus-163.8%. In other words, every dollar a wind firm spends is subsidized to the tune of 64 cents from the government.
Advocates of wind power are likely jumping up and down after Gov. Deval Patrick set a goal on Tuesday of the state generating 2,000 megawatts of electricity by wind turbines by the year 2020, but they might want to curb their excitement. ...Gov. Patrick's goal of 2,000 megawatts by 2020 is laudable but simply unrealistic.
Opponents of the project, which include Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and other residents in the area, vowed to continue their fight. They maintain the 400-foot turbines would kill birds, threaten sea life, and hurt tourism and fishing. "I do not believe that this action by the Interior Department will be sustained," Kennedy said in a statement issued to the Associated Press. "By taking this action, the Interior Department has virtually assured years of continued public conflict and contentious litigation."
Gov. Deval L. Patrick on Tuesday called for a major increase in wind power in Massachusetts, a movement that could be a boon for Berkshire businesses that have already been pursuing turbines. Patrick set a goal on Tuesday of 2,000 megawatts of wind-power capacity by 2020 ...Patrick said in a written statement. "Now is the time to turn to wind power, where we should reach even higher."
Governor Deval Patrick announced today a goal of building enough wind turbines in the state by 2020 to supply energy to 800,000 homes. Currently, the state has about 6.6 megawatts of wind power capacity generated by nine wind turbines. The governor's new target to develop 2,000 megawatts of wind power capacity is about 10 percent of the state's current electricity demand.
After more than a year's worth of meetings, research, wrangling and debates, the project hit a brick wall of sorts last month as a report by AWS Truewind showed lower-than-expected wind speeds at the Legion Way site. Without strong enough winds, the project does not make financial sense. On Monday night, the Committee for Renewable Energy for Barrington, rescinded its recommendation to the town council to accept a bid for the construction of the turbine.
The developer behind the Fairhaven wind turbines is abandoning the special permit granted earlier this year but not the project, according to a letter sent to the town last week. CCI Energy will now work with the town on how to restructure the project using the recently enacted Green Communities Act in order to provide the greatest benefit to the town, according to James Sweeney, CCI's president.
In a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthome dated Thursday, the congressman [Rahall D-WV] requests that the federal Minerals Management Service delay issuing its final environmental impact statement "until the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has provided the public 60 days to review and comment on a third-party review of the radar study submitted by the Cape Wind project developers."
Exactly what that 170 megawatts figure refers to is unclear. No businessman in his right mind would invest one billion dollars to get 170 megawatts of power a year. Cape Wind's web page says the 130 turbines "will produce up to 420 megawatts" of power. But that would require that all 130 turbines produce their maximum capacity at the very same moment. It's possible, but so is Kevin Yukilis batting 1.000 throughout a season. Wind turbines are lucky to produce 25 percent of their rated capacity over a year's time.