Library filed under Impact on Economy from Massachusetts
Locally, Massachusetts and Rhode Island commercial and recreation fishermen continue to be concerned about the lack of habitat and fish studies before development starts in wind farm lease areas.
The changed amendment ...would direct the Department of Public Utilities to not approve any subsequent offshore wind contract “if the levelized price per megawatt hour, plus associated transmission costs, is greater than or equal to the adjusted levelized price per megawatt hour, plus transmission costs, that resulted from the previous procurement after adjusting such procurement’s price for the availability of federal tax credits, inflation and incentives.”
Falmouth will also spend the next 11 years paying off the remaining $3.6 million in bonds it floated to pay for the first turbine. The stimulus grant covered the cost of the second turbine on condition that it operates as an “energy efficient project.” So unless Falmouth can find someone else to take the turbine, get it running, and persuade regulators that this meets its contractual obligations, the town will be on the hook for another $5 million. That’s a lot of wasted money in a town with fewer than 32,000 residents.
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.
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.
Matthew Beaton, the new state energy secretary, ...says he wouldn’t make that investment today. “I don’t know if, given the uncertainty of Cape Wind at that time, and the overall question marks of offshore wind development, is a $100-plus million investment the appropriate use of those funds? Could we have used those monies in a more well-suited manner?”
"Our case alleges that NSTAR was coerced into signing a no-bid contract that violates federal law, discriminates against affordable green power producers from out of state, and burdens small businesses and municipalities with unnecessarily high electricity costs," said Audra Parker, President and CEO of the alliance.
“The states and NESCOE are deliberately working out the details of this plan in secret, consistent with the view of one of NESCOE’s staffers that the plan should be ‘formulated behind closed doors’ because the ‘court of public opinion can be fickle and recalcitrant,’ ” Courchesne wrote, quoting an email from a NESCOE staff member to Executive Director Heather Hunt.
Recent legal events prompted the alliance to take this new approach. The opposition group was emboldened by two decisions last fall by federal judges in Maryland and New Jersey. Those decisions, which are both now under appeal, essentially said regulators in those states infringed on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s authority to set wholesale electric rates by imposing contracts to help finance the construction of natural gas power plants.
It has been reported that Massachusetts’ utilities National Grid, Northeast Utilities and Unitil have negotiated power purchase agreements (PPAs) for 565 megawatts of electricity capacity from existing and proposed wind farms in New Hampshire and Maine that would provide electricity at wholesale rates of approximately 8 cents per kilowatt-hour.
In the 17 years since Maine Yankee began dismantling its reactors and shedding its 600 workers, this small, coastal town north of Portland has experienced drastic changes: property taxes have spiked by more than 10 times for the town's 3,700 residents, the number living in poverty has more than doubled as many professionals left, and town services and jobs have been cut.
The rising cost of green energy mandates in Massachusetts is starting to raise concerns, with one utility estimating the state's renewable energy initiatives currently account for 5.4 percent of a typical customer's monthly bill and are expected to take a much larger share in the next few years. ...The National Grid estimate is the first attempt to assess the cost of the state's green energy initiatives, most of which are more than five years old.
A new group trying to rally opposition to Cape Wind is being run by the owner of an ice cream shop located on a quiet back road in Kingston, N.H., several towns over from the Massachusetts border
Realtor Susan Whitehead said she has been trying to sell a property on Weeden Road for two years. That property was put on the market for reasons unrelated to the turbines, but Whitehead said buyers ask about the machines, which are visible across Little Bay, "100 percent of the time." "They ask about the noise, they ask about the flicker, and then they don't put in an offer," she said.
There is a 10-megawatt cap of net-metering credits per town as regulated by the state, but the town of Marion does not need to use all of its megawatts. Therefore, Wareham would be able to purchase power from Marion, a host customer, at a discounted price.
As I reported in Saturday's paper, New England is experiencing a remarkable spike in electricity prices brought on by high heating demand and rising natural gas prices for electric generators.
"Old King's Highway is about views and vistas as well as paint chips and shingle colors," she said. "I felt ARC had other options where to put the turbines." Austin said as the appellant she represents 92 people from Dennis and Yarmouth who formed an organization called Save Our Beaches in opposition to the proposed turbine.
The postponement came in the wake of Tuesday's meeting, at which panel members were told that figures used to calculate the financial benefits of leaving the turbines running without curtailment were based on faulty methodology. New studies found that Wind 1 generates more power than previous tests have shown, according to Tony Rogers of DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability, an expert employed to study the turbine's power generation.
Allen, who came on board in October, said the trouble started in 2006 when the department decided to invest in two windmills. At that point, the department had zero debt and took out a $7.3 million mortgage for the project. ...The two windmills went online in January 2010 and the gear box in the southern unit broke in August 2011 and is still offline.
AMSC, the Devens-based maker of electrical systems for wind turbines, said it has slashed its staff by 20 percent, or about 100 jobs, as it tries to return to profitability after a string of setbacks."