Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies from Massachusetts
Massachusetts power plant owners will have to pay a penalty for every pound of emissions that contribute to global warming under an agreement signed by Governor Deval Patrick yesterday that is expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for an ambitious energy conservation and renewable energy program. Patrick agreed to rejoin the seven-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which aims to gradually reduce the production of greenhouse gases in the Northeast. Reversing his predecessor Mitt Romney, who pulled out of the pact over concerns that the emissions fee would drive up the already-high price of electricity, Patrick predicted that electricity costs would ultimately drop because the penalties would generate up to $125 million a year to spend on conservation.
The proposed $3.8 million wind turbine project to be erected on Town Farm Road has temporarily run out of air. The project hit a funding snag when word came that the turbine was not selected under the Federal Clean Renewable Energy Bonds program. The bond is the product of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, signed by President George W. Bush in August, allocating $800 million to clean energy projects for municipalities countrywide. The bond, a 20-year zero interest federal loan, would have covered the entire cost of the turbine, which would provide an estimated 3 percent of the town’s energy or enough electricity to support 400 households.
WESTPORT — Town Meeting voters in May will be asked to allocate more than $100,000 to purchase and construct twin wind turbines behind Town Hall and the police station. The 100-foot towers each would take up the equivalent of about one parking space behind the municipal buildings on Main Road. The turbines are expected to cost $54,000 each, but according to a report from the town’s Alternative Energy Committee would pay for themselves in four years or less. The cost of the turbines could be partially reimbursable with a grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the committee learned. Grants of more than $42,000 per wind turbine are available.
A proposal to build a wind turbine on Town Farm Road was a springboard issue this year, catalyzing any number of other environmental movements in town. But as 2006 ends, the future of the project is in doubt. Last spring’s Town Meeting approval of the proposal was contingent on the town securing federal, zero-interest loans, and that grant application was not approved.
The town could become the first municipality in Massachusetts to provide electrical power to a town hall by way of a wind turbine. A 100-foot tower would take up about one parking space behind Town Hall and pay for itself within four years, according to a presentation before Westport’s Alternative Energy Committee made by Lighthouse Electrical Contracting Inc. of Pembroke. The $54,000 cost of a wind turbine is potentially partially reimbursable with a grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the committee learned. The collaborative is the state’s development agency for renewable energy and the innovation economy, which the organization asserts is responsible for a quarter of the jobs in the state.
Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi will propose today the overhauling of key pieces of the state’s energy policy to reduce electricity demand and push communities to develop more energy-efficient and green projects, such as wind turbines.
Gov.-elect Deval Patrick said Wednesday he wants to put greater emphasis on the state’s future energy needs and will create a new cabinet level energy secretary after he takes office in January. Patrick’s comments come as House Speaker Sal DiMasi, D-Boston, unveiled his own energy plans for the new legislative year. DiMasi’s plan includes setting a five-year energy reduction goal, creating a “green communities program” to encourage energy efficiency and giving $1,500 credits for taxpayers who buy hybrid or alternative fuel cars.
One step forward and one step back is the latest dance for wind power advocates in Arlington. Proponents of bringing a wind turbine to Brackett Elementary School received support from officials in July to pursue a state-sponsored grant that would bring in $40,000 for a wind feasibility study, with another $5,000 in costs split between town and school budgets. But two weeks ago, members of Sustainable Arlington learned they had been turned down for the Large Onsite Renewable Initiative program run through the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.
Efforts to put a wind turbine on the campus of Holy Name Central Catholic Junior Senior High School earned a major boost last week with the award of $575,000 from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. The grant will cover a big chunk of the project’s $1.6 million cost, and Stephen A. Perla, superintendent of the Diocese of Worcester Catholic Schools, says he is optimistic about raising the remaining $1 million.
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.
FALL RIVER - A recently completed study indicates the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant on Bay Street may be an optimal site for a wind turbine that could drastically reduce the electrical bill associated with the site. Officials with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative reported their initial findings to the City Council Tuesday night, and are recommending that city leaders take advantage of a grant that will pay for a more extensive feasibility study.
Framingham resident Kenneth Lombardo’s $14,000 Sharp solar power system would have paid for itself in about seven years. But with a grant from the Westborough-based Renewable Energy Trust and an expected federal income tax credit, Lombardo said the system, which as an electrician he installed himself in March, has already paid for itself. The solar power system is designed to last at least 20 years.
BOSTON – A study released today by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University finds that a proposed wind energy plant for Nantucket Sound would confer above-average profits on its developer thanks to hundreds of millions of dollars in public subsidies. Editor's Note: The complete study is available via the link below.
As a result of the tax subsidies and high energy costs, the study said, Cape Wind Associates could expect to receive a 25 percent return on equity, or $139 million, over the decades-long life of the project.
If Cambridge takes advantage of a grant program that rewards municipalities for using green energy, it could more than double the amount of renewable energy it's able to purchase.
FLORIDA — Voters authorized the town to negotiate a payment in lieu of taxes with PPM Energy, which has permits to build 20 wind turbines on Bakke Mountain and Crum Hill here and in Monroe.
Westborough, Massachusetts [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Evolution Markets LLC completed an auction of renewable energy certificates (RECs) for the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC), a public economic-development agency that manages the state's Renewable Energy Trust, for an average price of $53.10 [per MWh].
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.
The yearly financial benefit to the town would be at least $100,000 between a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT), electricity cost savings at the iron and manganese plant and a mechanism that ensures the PILOT and cost savings equal to no less than $100,000.
FLORIDA — A tax agreement between PPM Energy and the towns of Florida and Monroe could prevent costly disputes about the land used for Hoosac Wind LLC, a proposal for 20 wind turbines on Bakke Mountain and Crum Hill.