Library filed under Energy Policy from Massachusetts
Massachusetts is joining a race against other U.S. states for wind power development funding to build infrastructure necessary to keep innovation here, and reverse a track record of letting wind technologies drift out to the Midwest. In addition to playing catch-up, Massachusetts officials face roadblocks including coastal Cape residents who vocally oppose windmills messing up the Atlantic horizon, lack of industry presence, and a lack of infrastructure to support development. There’s also some gale force competition blowing in from Texas and Iowa where sweeping prairies and open spaces provide ideal conditions for wind power generation.
Among the issues the candidates disagreed on was the future of wind power in the Berkshires. Republican Matt Kinnaman noted that wind turbines have been “decried and resisted” across the state for good reason. He said the “monstrous contraptions” divide communities, and cost more to build than they recoup in power generation. The better solution would be to keep all energy costs low, he said, and that to that end, he would oppose any effort to raise the gasoline tax. Independent Dion Robbins-Zust said unequivocally that he supports wind power, and challenged Democrat Benjamin B. Downing to make a definitive statement. Downing chose to quote H.L. Mencken, that there is always a simple answer and that it is usually wrong. While saying he supports the controversial Cape Wind project off Cape Cod, he believes the proposals for the Berkshires “haven’t lived up to the promise,” which underscores the need for dialogue and community input in planning such development.
This is a transcript for Tuesday’s debate between Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy and Republican challenger Kenneth Chase, moderated by NECN’s Chet Curtis. The debate marked the first time Kennedy had debated a campaign rival since 1994, when he sparred with Mitt Romney, the current governor of Massachusetts.
Under the agreement, ISO New England will project regional power needs three years in advance and hold annual auctions to buy power resources, including new and existing power plants. Incentives would encourage private operators to respond to power system emergencies, and operators that don't make extra capacity available would face penalties.
Patrick's nomination ensured the proposed Cape Wind project will become a major issue in the campaign leading up to the general election on Nov. 7. Patrick was the first gubernatorial candidate to support the wind farm, while the Republican nominee, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, strongly opposes it.
As the population grows, so do demands on goods, services and food production. And underlying all of these is a growing need for energy. Can our current energy infrastructure handle the load? Mark Price, the New England regional Energy Star outreach manager for Conservation Services Group, doesn't think so. "In 25 to 50 years we aren't going to be able to sustain centralized energy generation and distribution," he said. In the future, there will need to be more locally generated energy, he said, such as from wind farms or photovoltaic farms.
He's looking to the Berkshires to show he is for renewable energy and wind power, and we don't have the political clout to put him in an awkward position," said Eleanor Tillinghast, of the group Green Berkshires, which opposes wind turbines.
The first in a series of articles on issues facing the next governor. With electricity prices close to the highest in the nation, Massachusetts is no friend to the energy consumer. It lies at the end of the energy pipeline, getting its oil by ship and natural gas from far away fields. But the next governor will have a chance to make a significant improvement in supply by bringing more power, cleanly and efficiently, to the state. Energy demand in Massachusetts is rising close to 2 percent each year and a growing queue of energy projects are proposed on land and offshore.
BOSTON --Trying to stave off power shortages and high electricity costs, Gov. Mitt Romney on Friday unveiled a plan to both reduce demand and increase supply in Massachusetts. Within the next month, Romney will require more efficient energy use in state buildings, increased use of biofuels in the state automobile fleet and the creation of a lottery in which prizes will be awarded to consumers who buy energy-efficient equipment.
``The problem we're having with all these wind farms is . . . they're proposing to put them in all the worst places," said Thomas W. French , assistant director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. ``If they could do what the Russell Biomass plant did, which is to find a preexisting, historical industrial district, we'd be applauding them." As part of the ongoing state permitting process for the plant, French's division worked with its developers to reroute proposed power lines to reduce their impact on wildlife.
Among those ideas, he believes, are new solutions in alternative energies for future generations. That should not, however, include projects like the controversial Cape Wind offshore turbine project. "It's not a wind farm - it is a power plant, right in the middle of Nantucket Sound, and we should pass it on to future generations the way it is now," he said. "But there is a right way to do things, and not this way, which is really nothing more than a giveaway to a private developer for absolutely nothing. It is important to me that Nantucket Sound has been designated an ocean sanctuary by Massachusetts and that should be honored and respected - and it should be off-limits."
WORCESTER— Absent interest in lower-priced fuels, New Englanders should brace for continued high electricity prices, the byproduct of a regional system heavily dependent on oil, natural gas and coal, the head of the region’s power grid said yesterday.
CHATHAM --- Is wind power an important element in weaning the country away from its reliance on fossil fuels, or a boondoggle that will do nothing more than line the pockets of investors and power companies? And where does the proposed Cape Wind project fit into all of this?
Energy efficiency is by no means a permanent solution, but it should be a permanent part of the solution. Sensible energy use, combined with new power resources, is the only workable answer for New England.
The candidates for this fall’s Massachusetts gubernatorial election explained some of their solutions to the state’s environmental problems during the Gubernatorial Environment Forum at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium Wednesday night.
It’s time for the Times to catch up with the truths about “wind energy.” In fact, “wind farms,” including the Cape project, make little sense from a national and public interest point of view. Editor's Note: Submitted to the Washington Times on July 7, 2006. The Washington Times editorial follows Glenn Schleede's response.
But his speech, billed as a major public policy address on energy, did not mention the Nantucket Sound wind farm or a new proposal for up to 120 wind turbines in Buzzards Bay.
What the new transmission cables don’t do, however, is add to the overall power generating capacity in New England. Overall, New England has a peak generating capacity of about 32,000 megawatts of electricity, and the region’s increasing demand is creating the need for about one more power plant a year, according to ISO New England.
With proper oversight and operation, nuclear plants have been as safe as any other, and are infinitely cleaner and less polluting.
Lee also warned that renewable energy sources, though desirable, were not a "silver bullet" solution. "It does leave an environmental footprint," Lee said, noting that wind energy and solar energy take up large areas of land, making it difficult to find a place to put them, especially in densely populated parts of the world.