Library filed under Technology from Rhode Island
A proposed offshore wind farm took a major step forward Wednesday with the approval of a key contract between National Grid and developer Deepwater Wind. But R.I. Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch vowed to appeal the decision, calling it a "sweetheart deal."
State and regional regulators acknowledge the hurdles - especially in northern New Hampshire - but don't have ready solutions. A bill before the New Hampshire Senate would have the state be ready to act if no regional solution is forthcoming. ISO New England, which manages power for the region, is considering changing rules so more of the costs of transmission upgrades could be shared regionally. But as things stand now, backers of projects generally must pay for upgrades needed to connect them to the system. "None of this is a real speedy process," acknowledges Michael Harrington, senior regional policy adviser for the state Public Utilities Commission.
The top executive of a Warren-based wind-turbine blade maker said the decision to build a new manufacturing facility in Iowa, rather than in Rhode Island, was based on that state's proximity to the market in which the blades will be used. The blades made by TPI Composites are typically 35 meters to 40 meters long, and can weigh 10,000 to 20,000 pounds each, said Steven C. Lockard, chief executive officer of the company. Transportation costs for these blades, which are typically shipped by truck, can run into the "tens of thousands" of dollars, he said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "In this case, there really wasn't an option for this particular factory to be located in Rhode Island," he said.
WARREN - John Rosenthal has his eyes on the heavy current pulling hard underneath the Warren River Bridge. The president of Meredith Management — the company planning to develop the 14-acre former American Tourister property into hundreds of condominiums — wants to harness the river's tidal energy and use it to supply electricity to the proposed residential complex. The state's Office of Energy Resources is already on board with Mr. Rosenthal's idea. In late August, the agency awarded a $20,000 grant to Meredith Management to fund a feasibility study. On Thursday, Sept. 14, the same day Mr. Rosenthal formally submitted the plan for the redeveloped Tourister property, the company president said work had begun on the tidal energy study, and that he was optimistic about its potential. "We hope it will be fiscally feasible," he said. "This is better than wind energy ... water is denser than air, and it is invisible to the public."
``The problem we're having with all these wind farms is . . . they're proposing to put them in all the worst places," said Thomas W. French , assistant director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. ``If they could do what the Russell Biomass plant did, which is to find a preexisting, historical industrial district, we'd be applauding them." As part of the ongoing state permitting process for the plant, French's division worked with its developers to reroute proposed power lines to reduce their impact on wildlife.
The head of New England's biggest natural gas utility promised yesterday that homes and businesses across the region will face no shortage of gas for heating this winter.