Library from Massachusetts
Falmouth Massachusetts – The town that once was host to Governor Deval Patrick’s flagship wind energy project on Cape Cod and the Islands pronounced the Falmouth turbines dead.
A dizzying description of industrial players, leases, government agencies, and technical sounding energy phrases leaves even the determined reader at a loss to keep up. It is clear that the pace of decisions by the federal and state governments are bringing us very close to a no-return point over questions of design, scope and layout for the biggest ocean turbines ever to be installed (roughly 600′ tall or double the height of the Statue of Liberty). ...Whether you’re involved in the ocean economy or not, the current review process on off-shore wind will determine a lot about the future of the coastal New England communities we cherish. While ocean wind power is coming, there remain safety issues yet to be resolved.
The analysis indicates a working wind farm last winter would have reduced the region’s carbon dioxide emissions and wholesale electricity prices, but not enough to eliminate the impact of the region’s pipeline constraints. The analysis also shows that a wind farm’s energy production is highly variable, going up and down fairly dramatically over the course of a day.
Less than three weeks before Rhode Island coastal regulators are set to vote on a key approval for its $2-billion offshore wind farm, Vineyard Wind has yet to come forward with a compensation package for the state’s commercial fishermen who say that the layout of the company’s 84 turbines will block access to valuable Atlantic Ocean fishing grounds.
The recent record-breaking auction of development rights for offshore wind-energy installations off the coast of southern New England proves that developers are confident that obstacles to their construction and operation will likely be few. But after just two years of operation of the nation’s first offshore wind facility — the much-heralded Block Island Wind Farm — there is still a great deal unknown about their long-term environmental impact.
Although the wind farm would be built in federal waters and supply power to Massachusetts, Rhode Island has the latitude to effectively veto it. By law, development in federal waters cannot interfere with a state’s coastal activities, such as fishing, and must comply with state regulations.
Brady said the Block Island Wind Farm, owned by Deepwater, is only five turbines, tiny by comparison to Vineyard. Yet charter fishermen, who traditionally operate south of the wind farm from January through April, reported a dismal fishing season: the once bountiful cod had disappeared. Ørsted Energy, the parent company of Deepwater, like the owners of the Vineyard, have a practice of paying off fishermen whose livelihoods are damaged by the wind farms.
Rhode Island coastal regulators granted Vineyard Wind a stay in permitting proceedings on Tuesday, giving the New Bedford company another two months to reach agreement with fishermen who say they would lose access to valuable fishing grounds in the waters where 84 wind turbines would be installed.
The number of spinning giant turbines standing high above Gloucester's Blackburn Industrial Park is now, temporarily at least, down to one.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court rejected a motion to intervene in the court order to shut down Falmouth’s two wind turbines as a nuisance, upholding Barnstable Superior Court Judge Cornelius J. Moriarty II’s decision. “We see no reason to disturb the judge’s ruling,” Associate Justices Peter J. Rubin, Gabrielle R. Wolohojian, and Amy L. Blake wrote in their decision, noting the history of the litigation.
Katie Almeida, fishery policy analyst for The Town Dock, a squid dealer and processor in Rhode Island, said that for two years, her company has been asking for at least five years of pre-construction fishery monitoring, and the conversation has not gone any further. “And now we’re down to what, a year?” she said. “How can we get any meaningful science and study done that’s going to actually hold up to any kind of scrutiny for baseline studies?”
The disassembly marks at least the third time in the last four years that the Applied turbine — the tallest of the three within the industrial park — has been shut down for an extended period of time.
Barnstable Superior Court Judge Cornelius Moriarty had deemed the turbines at the town's wastewater treatment facility a nuisance and ordered that they be permanently shut down in June 2017. The selectmen voted not to appeal the decision. ...The Green Center then appealed Moriarty’s ruling to the Massachusetts Appeals Court but again failed to gain any traction, with a panel of three judges upholding Moriarty’s decision.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld a lower court's decision to deny intervention involving action between the town of Falmouth and the Falmouth zoning board of appeals in which judgment had already entered. The judgment declared that two wind turbines operated by the town were a nuisance and ordered that their operation cease and desist. The proposed interveners claimed that they were entitled to intervention as of right because they had compelling interests that were no longer being adequately represented by the town. The lower court ruled, and the appellate court affirmed that the motion be denied since the interveners could not likely establish standing, and that the motion was untimely. A portion of the 10-page order is provided below. The full order can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Gov. Charlie Baker wrote to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke on Thursday to ask him to consider eliminating the highest-priority fishing areas from future leases for offshore wind, particularly in the New York Bight, a heavily fished area south of Long Island.
“In the final analysis, Vineyard Wind was not willing to commit to Yarmouth to do the things that our community was asking for,” Holcomb said. The town’s questions went unanswered by Vineyard Wind, Yarmouth Town Administrator Daniel Knapik said. ...“Right now, we are really not moving ahead with anything,” Holcomb said of the town’s interactions with Vineyard Wind.
With no progress toward securing payments due the town of Kingston, the owners of the Independence wind turbine have been given a 30-day deadline to pay up or risk suspension of site plan approval.
This important letter to the Town of Falmouth (Massachusetts) explains how the relocation of the Wind 2 turbine would result in continued noise violations. The author, Robert Rand, an acoustician experienced in turbine noise, warned that the turbine would need to be situated at least 2923 feet from the nearest neighbor in order to remain in compliance with governing noise regulations. The letter is posted below and accessible by clicking the document icon on this page. The supporting evidence is included with the document.
The town is contractually obligated to buy power from owners of the privately owned Wind 2 turbine. But that electricity, at $116/MWh, is twice the cost of the ELD’s averaged portolio ...“Therefore, if anything, the rates will experience some very limited relief from this event.”