Articles from Massachusetts
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?”
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) agreed to give Falmouth $500,000 toward turbine maintenance and to absolve the town from a commitment to deliver over 3,000 in renewable energy certificates (RECs) stipulated in a 2009 agreement. The town was obligated to begin payment on a $1 million advance from the CEC in the form of RECs starting this week.
Neighbors of Falmouth's controversial wind turbines say the appeal of a zoning lawsuit should not reach the state's highest court because it does not involve issues that could affect the entire Commonwealth.
"Many municipal activities generate noise, traffic and other objectionable features which make them less attractive (to) neighbors," Duffy wrote in the brief, filed Wednesday. "For this reason it is logical and reasonable for a municipality to craft its zoning bylaw and permit municipal infrastructure in designated districts by right."
A wind power experiment has come to an end at Walmart. The Arkansas-based operator of discount retail stores removed turbines from the parking lot of its Worcester supercenter in the last week and will now evaluate what it learned there and at two other U.S. sites, a spokeswoman for the company said.
Selectmen have decided not to sign on to a letter drafted by wind turbine developer Fairhaven Wind LLC touting the benefits of the two industrial wind turbines on town owned land. At their meeting March 16, they said the language was a little too glowing and more like a press release.
What began as a well-conceived effort to be sustainable and fiscally responsible has become one of the most contentious and divisive issues in the town’s history. After the turbines were constructed, the town worked to gather public input. Had that commitment to inclusion been present before decisions were made to purchase and erect the turbines, some of the town’s darkest days may have been avoided. ...In January 2010, I called the construction of Wind I “the best of Falmouth” for 2009, noting that it was, “…one of the most significant achievements in the last decade locally.” I readily admit today that I was wrong. Why can’t the town?
Standing at the podium inside Admirals’ Hall, David Moriarty told the senators that, in Falmouth, “everything was perfect until the wind turbines came to town.” The land-based turbines, he said, have fractured the town and harmed the health of some residents, “torturing our friends and neighbors.”
Is it really fair to compare the torture of detainees to that of turbine neighbors? Consider that the detainees were forced to endure sleeplessness for a few days at a time on many occasions, but never more than a week. Wind turbine victims must endure this same deprivation for arbitrary periods of time whenever the wind is blowing, sometimes intermittently for decades. Often, their only hope of escape or reprieve from this torment is to flee their homes which no one will buy—despite the fact that they are not suspected of any crimes whatsoever. At least detainees were not forced to lie awake and watch their families suffer the same deprivation.
Another sign of the continuing downward spiral of the Cape Wind project popped up on social media this morning when Mark Rodgers announced via his Facebook page that he was resigning from his role as the company’s spokesman.
The saga of Cape Wind has gone from simply wrong-headed — not to mention expensive beyond belief — to downright pathetic. ...So now Gordon is once again putting his hopes in the public sector, in particular a bill filed by Rep. Patricia Haddad (D-Somerset) that would require utilities to purchase stated amounts of offshore wind power and hydropower.