Library from Rhode Island
Martin Associates cautioned that the industry remains in its infancy and the future of Deepwater's proposed farms - one tied up in court - are uncertain. "The wind power market is uncertain, and investment in wind energy support and facilities should be placed on the private sector, not the state," the consultants wrote.
In a filing with the R.I. Public Utilities Commission, the utility said that depending on the forecasting model used, electricity from the Deepwater Wind farm would cost $409 million or $415 million more than power from traditional sources such as natural gas plants.
Because wind power drains money from our economy, it doesn't, and won't in the future, create jobs. It will actually cost jobs. The money, much of which will go overseas, will no longer be available to spend on food, clothing, shelter and medical care in Rhode Island. Where does the money go?
The Rhode Island Supreme Court has ruled that two large manufacturers have legal standing to challenge a key approval for a wind farm proposed in waters off Block Island, but the court majority decided that a regional environmental group does not have standing and cannot continue in the case.
Friday's decision, allowing the companies to continue the lawsuit, could be bad news for Providence-based Deepwater, which wants to build five to eight turbines about three miles off of Block Island. Company officials initially wanted the farm to be operational by the end of 2012. .
According to Town Manager Michael Embury, the permit was revoked after the town solicitor's office found that a required lot swap at the subdivision had not occurred and, therefore, the subdivision requirements were not completed.
The town has revoked the building permit for a 427-foot wind turbine slated to be constructed at the North Kingstown Green housing development on Ten Rod Road.
An attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation and another representing Toray Plastics and Polytop Corp. urged the five justices to allow their petitions against a contract for the sale of power from the wind farm to proceed to a full hearing. ..."Every time renewable-energy projects are advanced through illegal methods, it creates a backlash against renewable energy," Elmer said.
The land-based study also aims to take a comprehensive look at resources and weigh comments from stakeholders. It comes after proposals for wind turbines in Charlestown, North Kingstown and other towns have stirred objections, bringing hundreds of residents to meetings with concerns about the effects of the large structures on their communities.
Middletown Councilor Bruce Long proposed the measure as a way to give the town some cover while planners look to strengthen the town's existing wind turbine ordinance, now more than a year old, to address such issues as identifying sites for industrial grade turbines outside residential areas, safe setback distances and other design considerations.
The order comes after new state Attorney General Peter Kilmartin recently pulled out of the appeal, which his predecessor, Patrick Lynch, had initiated with CLF and the other two appellants. Kilmartin, a longtime member of the General Assembly, supports the wind farm, proposed for within three miles of Block Island, and agrees it will be an economic plus for the state.
The project would have to be underway by March 31, 2012, which the Town Council decided was not possible given the many decisions and approvals such an effort would entail. The state would not allow the town to use any of the funds for a feasibility study.
After the division looked into the matter, on Feb. 2, the staff issued a memorandum saying that the 1.5-megawatt turbine installed in 2009 should never have been allowed to qualify as a “net-metering” facility that could sell its electricity into the regional power grid at a retail rate. They recommended that Portsmouth be paid at a lower, wholesale rate. Portsmouth has been paid as much as 11.4 cents per kilowatt-hour for power from the turbine.
If the Rhode Island Supreme Court moves forward with a case involving Deepwater Wind, Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg will take part despite her husband's past work as a lobbyist for the offshore wind developer. On Feb. 11, the court denied a motion that asked Justice Goldberg to be removed from the case. The order notes that Justice Goldberg did not participate in the decision.
In an order issued Monday, the court directed the Conservation Law Foundation, Toray Plastics (America) and Polytop Corp. to file briefs defending their legal standing no later than March 10. The three are appealing a decision by the R.I. Public Utilities Commission to approve a contract between National Grid and wind farm developer Deepwater Wind.
The town Planning Commission Thursday night declined to rule on a revised application for a controversial wind turbine at Stamp Farm until it knows who the manufacturer will be.
Deepwater Wind's initial project will raise state and local governments' electric bills by a combined $1.5 million in its first year, according to documents reviewed by the Target 12 Investigators. Municipal electric bills will increase by a total of $1 million while state government's bill will rise by $476,630, according to an estimate commissioned by National Grid from Energy Security Analysis Inc. The cost would rise by 3.5 percent every year for the next two decades.
The Conservation Law Foundation and the industrial groups Toray Plastics and Polytop Corp. restate many of the arguments they made in their initial filings to the court. These are the last submissions before the Supreme Court schedules oral arguments, expected to take place in the spring. Also on Friday new state Attorney General Peter Kilmartin followed through on his pledge to end his office's role in the appeal.
Municipalities trying to determine appropriate sites for turbines must deal with issues related to noise, light flicker and setbacks from nearby properties, among others. The General Assembly asked the Division of Planning to draw up siting guidelines in 2007, a year after Portsmouth Abbey installed the first wind turbine in the state. Since then, four other large turbines have been put up - another in Portsmouth, one in Middletown and two in Warwick.
Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin has dropped the petition filed by his predecessor that asked the state Supreme Court to overturn a key approval for a wind farm planned in waters off Block Island. The move, which has been expected for months, does not end the case. Three other parties also appealed the decision in August.