Articles filed under Energy Policy from Massachusetts
Mr. DiMasi, off to jail this week, is the third successive Massachusetts Speaker of the House to be indicted and convicted for financial impropriety. He ought to have been charged with poorly thought out energy generation legislation. The boondoggle that is Cape Wind is a DiMasi/Patrick legacy.
The MTC, which now operates as part of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, takes renewable energy taxes from our electric bills and develops sloppy, poorly defined turbine project proposals. And we are forced to pay again to protect our homes from their incompetence. ...We have lost our democratic rights and have become second-class citizens, facing the theft of our land through regulation.
The state is late to the party when it comes to setting rules for wind energy development, too late to bother many Cape Codders told a state's joint committee on telecommunications, utilities and energy Thursday morning at Barnstable High.
The doctrine of the Dormant Commerce Clause prohibits a state from engaging in actions that discriminate against out-of-state business and prevents states from engaging in protectionism in which an advantage is given to in-state industries at the expense of out-of-state competitors, the brief says.
In the filing, they responded to Cape Wind, which has said the combined utility should have to buy half its power to get the deal approved. "The Department has no authority under (state law), or any other statutory provision to impose a requirement to enter into a long-term contract for renewable power," the utilities argued.
Nothing has caused more divisive and bitter controversy on Cape Cod in the past decade than Cape Wind's proposal to place 130 commercial-scale, 440-foot-high wind turbines in 25 square miles of federal waters in Nantucket Sound, just five miles off Cape Cod's coast.
The law would reduce opportunities for residents to participate in the permitting process and eliminate certain rights of appeal available to municipalities, said Eleanor Tillinghast, board member of Wind Wise~Massachusetts from the Berkshires. ...because appeals of the state siting board's decisions go directly to the Supreme Judicial Court, it would be more difficult to reverse a decision.
The proposal, which went before the state Legislature's Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy last week, would establish local boards to handle wind turbine proposals as a whole instead of requiring developers to seek various approvals from multiple local committees.
Only absolute necessity, only an absence of viable alternatives, could ever justify the degradation of our mountains, and I am confident that if people take the time to study the situation, they will conclude that many less destructive and more productive and dependable alternatives are available.
The Wind Siting Reform Act is similar in many ways to a bill that nearly made it to the governor's desk during the last legislative session. That bill was passed by both the state Senate and House, but did not gain final approval before time ran out on the 2010 session.
Massachusetts lawmakers are set to consider proposal Wednesday that would establish wind energy permitting boards in communities with considerable wind resources.
Most of the conversation and legal paperwork on the deal that would create a $17.5 billion electric company has revolved around rates and consumer protection. Regulators and utility executives don't care to talk in public about another key factor: Cape Wind - and one of the private offshore project's biggest fans, Governor Deval Patrick.
State officials have made some progress with expanding our renewable energy resources in the past few years, to be sure. But the growth has been much slower than most advocates expected. However, there's another environmentally-friendly option.
"The utility sector is in the early stages of a relatively significant and long-term capital spend - a huge part of that will be environmental compliance,'' said Jim Owen, spokesman for the Edison Electric Institute, a utility trade group in Washington. "Obviously, a larger, more well-capitalized company that is [doing business] in several states is just going to have a bigger voice in the conversation.''
While the proposed regulations do not impact permitting or ban the development of biomass energy in Massachusetts, they do set a high bar for qualifying to earn RECs under the state's RPS, the DOER says.
The decision cuts a 3,000-square-mile area south of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket that was being considered for offshore wind energy projects to roughly 1,300 square miles.
Barrett also questioned the fairness of letting a new industry into the area, where major sections have long been closed to protect the habitat from certain types of fishing. "You've closed me out of that area for 25 years, and now you're going to turn it into an industrial power plant?" he said.
The wind-permitting measure nearly passed in the Legislature last session, but opponents managed to run out the clock before it could win final approval. Brookline Democrat Frank Smizik, who chairs the House committee on global warming, refiled the bill for this session.
All of this adds up to one more case study in the perils of politically allocated capital. Like President Obama, Mr. Patrick has advertised the illusion that governments can nurture new companies, even whole new industries, with targeted taxpayer "investments." This is the entire premise of the "clean energy" industry, most of which wouldn't exist without subsidies because it can't compete on a market basis.
If the weather cooperates and 20 wind turbines can be delivered on time, the Hoosac Wind project could be up and operating by the end of the year or in early 2012, according to Paul Copleman, communications manager for Iberdrola Renewables, owner of the 30-megawatt wind farm in Florida and Monroe.