Library filed under General from Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) Board of Directors today approved up to $1.8 million in relief funds for the Town of Falmouth to help the municipality mitigate the financial impacts associated with the reduced operations of its town-owned wind turbine project located at the Town of Falmouth Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Despite Emera’s assertions, Hudson said it’s possible that the PUC will have to start over. Any new approval, he said, could produce a different relationship between Emera and First Wind. At the other extreme, opponents of wind farms along the state’s ridge lines see the court’s finding as a blow to the industry. “This decision could be the salvation of Maine’s mountains,” said Chris O’Neil, a spokesman for Friends of Maine’s Mountains.
Opponents of the Cape Wind project were celebrating a March 14 ruling from the U.S. District Court for the D.C. Circuit that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service need to revisit Cape Wind's impacts on migrating birds and endangered right whales in Nantucket Sound.
My only direct experience with a turbine complex came while driving across the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border in the summer of 2012, where there’s a truly massive installation. A bird, caught in the downdraft of the whirling windmills, smashed into my windshield. I felt very sorry for the mortally wounded avian. The most recent vote in Peru on the Lightship Energy, LLC, project came last Nov. 4, when 59 percent of the voters who turned out supported a two-year moratorium on wind-energy proposals.
The town has authorized the town manager and Board of Selectmen to pursue and negotiate a net metering power purchase agreement with a wind turbine project in Plymouth. The town meeting article proposed a net metering power purchase agreement with Future Generation Wind, LLC, the company that has plans to establish a wind turbine project on Mann Farms in Plymouth.
The proposed Cape Wind offshore wind farm in Massachusetts’ Nantucket Sound moved another step toward realization yesterday, announcing that it has received approval for a significant chunk of financial backing needed for construction of the project, which is estimated at $2.6 billion.
The 12 long-term wind power purchase agreements (PPAs) equal an impressive 409 MW from three projects in Maine and New Hampshire; however, due to issues regarding three other wind farms, the deals still represent 156 MW less than what Massachusetts' utility companies had originally proposed last year.
After more than a decade opposing the Cape Wind project and pushing political leaders to take more care when siting such projects in the ocean, Parker couldn’t buy her way into the conference. She purchased one of the pricey tickets (the early-bird option started at $1,999), but organizers called her, told her it would be better if she stayed home, and refunded her money, Parker said.
Opponents long have sought two figures allegedly known to the company: the ambient sound level in Peru and how much Lightship's turbines would exceed it. A town bylaw allows a maximum of 60 decibels in a 15-minute period at an inhabited structure, with a limit of 40 decibels at 1,000 feet. In 2011, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center funded a $55,000 feasibility study that was supposed to produce answers to these and many other questions.
Although state Department of Public Utilities officials have said the guidelines will be voluntary, critics of wind turbines located near residential properties say they believe the recommendations eventually will become rules. Gov. Deval Patrick has set a goal of 2,000 megawatts of wind energy in Massachusetts by 2020, with most of that coming from offshore.
The health board discussed the mitigation plan in open session Nov. 18 and released it to the public on Nov. 22 after receiving an opinion on making it public from town counsel. Selectmen did not release the plan. They have held their discussions in executive session, saying the closed meetings are warranted because the mitigation plan is part of contract negotiations with the developer.
Inside a Statehouse hearing room Tuesday, Neil Andersen could only try to explain how a wind turbine affected the past four years of his life in Falmouth. He spoke of the restless nights, the humming and the headaches, the bad memories and memory loss.
Despite a Nov. 21 ruling that they be shut down on Thanksgiving, Wind I and Wind 2 were running briefly Thursday morning. The two town-owned turbines ran from 7 a.m. to 7:38 a.m. before being shut down, said Gerald Potamis, wastewater superintendent for the Falmouth Wastewater Department. Potamis is in charge of turning the turbines on and off manually when necessary.
Wind turbine opponent Lilli-Ann Green of Wellfleet welcomed the news Wednesday that Mass Audubon wants to withdraw its zoning applications. Green contends that Mass Audubon's mission to protect wildlife, including rare birds and bats, directly contradicts the idea of erecting a wind turbine, which she said is a technology that kills those creatures. The proposed turbine is taller than what is allowed for structures in Wellfleet, she said,
Mr. Koch has said that the most persuasive arguments against Cape Wind are economic, arguing that the project relies on government subsidies that could vanish tomorrow and that it would raise the cost of electricity, not lower it. ... “I am equally confident that the project’s lack of merit will result in its demise.”
Members of Windwise have asked a Superior Court judge for more time to admit evidence in their latest lawsuit aimed at combating the town's two wind turbines. They say more time is needed to review the state's noise sampling of the machines, calling it "new information only recently discovered" in a September motion.
The well-coordinated opposition has had a chilling effect on new projects, Manwell and Reid said. "The wind developers approach Massachusetts with some level of trepidation, understandably because of our history," Reid said.
The low cost of power from the projects, which are being developed by First Wind, Iberdrola Renewables and Exergy Development Group, includes federal production tax credits that the companies have said they expect to qualify for before the credits expire at the end of the year, Sullivan said.
The agreements forecast further growth for the wind industry as the willingness of utilities to make long-term commitments makes it easier for developers to obtain financing for more wind farms. That, in turn, would probably lead to new conflicts in rural areas, where large-scale industrial wind farms are typically sited.
If the state doesn't bring financial aid to the table, the town's latest attempt to balance its finances, a desire for clean energy and the comfort of the turbines' neighbors could unravel. Falmouth wants the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to forgive a $1 million renewable energy certificate, and state agencies to convert a $4.8 million construction loan into a grant.