Library from Massachusetts
Cape Wind’s long-running quest to establish a wind farm on the Nantucket Sound hit another hitch Tuesday as a three-judge federal Appeals Court panel reversed lower court decisions that had found regulators complied with environmental and endangered species laws in permitting the project.
The two sides face a July 31 deadline. ...The goals include ensuring the reliable transmission of electricity as older plants close and meeting the state’s aggressive greenhouse gas emissions standards.
The Board of Health wants to be notified immediately by the turbine operators when there is going to be any testing or start-up of the turbine so that the board has advance noticed. A letter will be sent to KWI with this request. The board usually receives daily compliance notifications.
Under the bill, energy distribution companies would also be required to purchase a minimum of 12,450,000 megawatt-hours of clean energy from hydropower and other clean-energy resources including onshore wind, solar, anaerobic digestion and energy storage. And the bill doubles the annual rate of increase in the state's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.
Today Wind 1 sits idle in the Cape Cod breeze. Wind 2 continues to operate under court imposed restrictions, but it faces the same legal challenges that put Wind 1 out of business. The town’s cost to decommission or relocate the turbines would be exorbitant. In hindsight, Falmouth should never have placed giant wind turbines so close to homes.
The long-term contracts also burden electric ratepayers with more risk, according to the study. One of the reasons Massachusetts deregulated the electric industry was to shift the risk of building power plants from consumers to energy developers. Fixed-price, long-term contracts negotiated by utilities under the direction of the state would shift the risk needle back in the direction of electric ratepayers.
As Massachusetts lawmakers consider requiring the state to solicit long-term contracts for buying offshore wind energy and hydropower, a new study released by an independent consulting group is warning lawmakers to be aware of the potential risks of these long-term contracts.
“We lease the land to them and have a power purchase agreement,” Bott said. “They’re paying us lease payments, and we're getting some tax on the personal property.” The town’s agreement doesn’t make allowances for shutdowns, however, so KWI is on the hook for paying Kingston regardless of whether the blades are spinning, he added.
Independence Wind Operations Manager, Benjamin Cleaves, has informed Kingston town officials that the Kingston Wind Independence (KWI) turbine has been shut down indefinitely due to a possible defect in the equipment.
Winward says crews may take longer to assess a scene before going in because he'd rather see a structure burn to the ground than put firefighters at risk of electrocution. "It is enough to seriously injure or kill someone," he said.
In the meantime, natural gas provides an abundant supply of clean, reliable, competitively priced energy. It's also called on to back up those green energy sources when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow.
Ratepayers lack any kind of control or say over how the compact or the Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative use ratepayer money, Hunt said. The compact had previously provided the majority of support for the cooperative, which was formed in 2007 to pursue renewable energy projects for its members, but has now stopped doing so.
Eric Glitzenstein, an attorney representing conservationists challenging the Cape Wind project, responded to the D.C. Circuit today with a letter noting “crucial differences” between the two cases. Notably, he said, the California project isn’t on a major migratory route for birds, whereas “government counsel admitted at oral argument that many thousands of federally protected birds will inevitably be killed” by Cape Wind turbines.
The major question now is whether the state Senate can develop its own version of the bill and whether the two versions can be reconciled by House-Senate negotiators before the legislative session ends at the end of July.
“In response to retiring power plants, thousands of megawatts of new local plants are under development today to preserve reliability and continue Massachusetts’ leadership in driving lower emissions,” NEPGA President Dan Dolan said in a statement. “Locking consumers into decades-long contracts would also freeze out innovation at a time when tremendous growth and promise is evident from more efficient power generation, lower renewable energy costs and burgeoning distributed electricity supplies.”
“The proposal would carve up one-third of the Massachusetts electricity marketplace into decades-long contracts that have the potential to dramatically increase electricity costs for consumers,” NEPGA president Dan Dolan said in a statement.
“Everything I continue to hear on Cape Wind is that they have been taken out of what’s happening right now,” Golden said. “There are a lot of questions coming out of the committee [about whether] that can be competitively bid today.”
Canadian hydropower and offshore wind projects would become more prominent pieces of the state's overall energy landscape under a long-awaited bill House lawmakers unveiled Monday. Members of a legislative committee that oversees energy issues were expected to endorse the bill, in a vote taken by email, setting the stage for debate in the full House next month. Renewable energy advocates have said the bill does not go far enough.
Rep. Thomas Golden, House chairman of the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, told the News Service he is still working to determine the size and nature of proposed increases in the state’s share of renewable energy.
There was little dissent at the Wednesday night, May 4, candidates’ forum, with the exception of differing views on the protracted debacle of the municipal wind turbines.