Documents from Massachusetts
After noise complaints started coming in following the erection of WIND 1, the first Falmouth turbine at the wastewater treatment facility, Vestas required confirmation that the Town of Falmouth "understands they are fully responsible for the site selection of the turbine and bear all responsibilities to address any mitigation needs of the neighbors." WIND 2 would not be released to the town for erection until the letter was signed. The letter explaining the situation is provided below and can be accessed by selecting the link(s) on this page.
This important letter was submitted to the Commissioner John Auerbach of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in regard to industrial scale wind turbines being built close to where people live and gather.
TransCanada Power, an energy supplier that also owns a Maine wind farm, is challenging a state law that requires utilities to buy their future renewable energy from Massachusetts-based firms. Download the filing by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
This 60-day notice of violations of the Endangered Species Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and other laws, was filed with the U.S. Department of the Interior in connection with the proposed Cape Wind offshore wind energy facility. The detailed notice and supporting appendices explain fundamental failures of the Minerals Management Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Fish and Wildlife Service to adequately assess the risks to the natural environment and to protected and endangered species.
Residents of the Town of Dartmouth, Massachusetts filed this complaint against the Town's Selectboard members due to legal failures identified in the complaint involving a special permit to construct two utility-scale wind turbines. The introduction of the complaint is provided below. The full complaint can be accessed by clicking on the link(s) at the bottom of this page.
Memo from the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities Chairman, Paul Hibbard, to the ISO New England. Chairman Hibbard expresses his concerns over the push to regionalize costs for building expensive transmission lines to service renewable projects (wind) built far from load centers. Current FERC rules are unclear on how to justify distribution of the costs across all ratepayers within the region unless it can be shown such transmission is needed to ensure the reliability and integrity of the grid.
The Minerals Management Service released the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) on the Cape Wind offshore wind energy facility proposed for Nantucket Sound. The DEIS can be accessed by downloading the file from the below link.
New England ISO (NE ISO) control area includes the six states of New England (CT, RI, MA, ME, NH, VT).
The Cape Cod Commission (CCC) has asserted that the Cape Wind energy project qualifies as a Development of Regional Impact (DRI) under Section 12(i) and 13(b) of the Cape Cod Commission Act. The CCC staff report can be accessed from this page.
On Jun 12, MA DOER granted Hydro Quebec approval for 108MW of wind to be eligible for the MA Rec market. There is an additional 212MW of wind that is already operating and may soon follow. DOER's decision is attached. A number of folks familiar with the New England REC market believe this decision, to be followed by others, will seriously depress REC values.
The implementation of consistent statewide standards to achieve the timely and cost-effective installation of small wind energy systems is a matter of statewide concern. It is the intent of the Legislature that this section apply to all local agencies, including, but not limited to, towns, cities and counties.Editor's Note: This small wind zoning statute, drafted by Paul Gay (Westport, MA) is currently in joint committee in the MA state legislature. The author describes himself as a proponent of small wind with an interest in promoting regulations that are drafted in such a way as to insure a properly functioning system while protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public.
As interest in wind energy spreads throughout the Commonwealth, it becomes clear that there is a need within the cities and towns of Massachusetts for suitable zoning by-laws that accommodate wind projects. To help address this need, the Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources and Executive Office of Environmental Affairs developed this Model Amendment to a Zoning Ordinance or By-Law to assist cities and towns in establishing reasonable standards for wind power development. The by-law is developed as a model and not intended for adoption without review by municipal counsel:
The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a quasi-public agency, presented this announcement in 2006 seeking to site two 1.65 megawatt turbines originally slated for the Town of Orleans.
In November 2001, Cape Wind Associates, filed an application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for permission to construct the nation’s first offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound. The project would consist of 130 wind turbines, each approximately 420 feet tall, arrayed over a 24 square mile area of the Sound known as Horseshoe Shoals. The wind farm would be sited five miles off the coast, in federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) waters. From there, undersea cables would transmit power through state waters to an onshore distribution grid. The project, according to Cape Wind, would have an installed nameplate capacity of approximately 468 megawatts (MW) of electricity.
Renewable energy sources have disadvantages as well as advantages, however. Although their costs have decreased in recent years, many renewables are still more costly than traditional sources. Some are also available only intermittently; for example, wind can be variable and hydroelectric is seasonal. And while many people are in favor of renewables in principle, many are also unhappy when faced with the prospect of a windmill or a trash-burning power plant in their neighborhood. These facilities face the same siting and investment difficulties that any electrical facility would, as the developers of a proposed wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod have discovered in recent years.
...the MEA Report can be used to estimate the value (avoided emissions) of Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) by providing both REC suppliers and stakeholders with information that can be used to communicate the environmental benefits of RECs and works to enhance the overall REC marketplace. Editor's Note: As noted below under Methodology [emphasis added], this report appears to substantiate the point that wind energy would not backdown "baseload" generation.
The Hawley Wind Study Committee was established by town meeting vote and was directed to issue a report to the selectmen. Interested citizens were asked to submit a letter of interest to selectmen who then selected the committee. The committee first examined potential positive financial benefits to the town. Community based wind development was explored for a piece of town-owned land with the assistance of the UMass Renewable Energy Resource Lab. The committee determined that development of the site was not feasible. Lengthily discussions on the associated various negative impacts of wind plants followed. It was determined that our current bylaws would not require any form of local review to minimize these impacts. A report outlining the above was provided to the selectmen concluding that the appropriate course of action was to establish a wind power bylaw.
The purposes of this wind-generated energy production facilities section are to: A. Protect the scenic, historic, environmental, and natural or man-made resources of the community without prohibiting alternative energy technologies to be developed. B. Provide standards and requirements for regulation, placement, construction, monitoring, design, modification and removal of wind facilities. C. Provide a procedural basis for action within a reasonable period of time for request for authorization to place, construct, operate, or modify wind facilities. D. Preserve property values. E. Locate wind facilities so that they do not have negative impacts such as, but not limited to, attractive nuisance, noise, falling objects, general safety, welfare and quality of life, wildlife and the environment in the community. F. Require owners of wind facilities to configure them so as to minimize and mitigate the adverse impact of the wind facilities.
When considering local bylaws regulating wind turbine development, towns need to consider whether and to what degree they should be encouraged. The question of how much revenue they might generate for the town will be among the first issues raised. To determine this, there are many things a town with land suitable for commercial wind development needs to consider. Particular attention needs to be paid to long-term trends as well. This paper explores some of these factors and their implications.