Articles from Rhode Island
Conservation Law Foundation state director Tricia Jedele voiced concern that the approval was premature. Jedele was the only individual at Tuesday’s hearing to suggest the council withhold approval until comments from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had been addressed.
Applicant Luise Strauss's attorney submitted a letter to Middletown's Zoning Department Wednesday withdrawing the application for a Special Use Permit to construct a wind turbine at 485 Paradise Avenue. Receipt of the letter Wednesday was the first and only indication the town had received that the Strauss application would be withdrawn.
Residents pushing for the amendments to be approved have voiced support on the grounds of visual impact, flicker, noise, fear of declining property values, and appropriate use of turbines on residential lands, while some opponents have voiced concern out of support in general for alternative energy and others have echoed the concerns of the Wind Turbine Committee.
Deepwater has said time is of the essence to take advantage of federal tax credits that expire at the end of 2012. The company has paid $3.2 million to defray the cost of the SAMP. Another $2.8 million has come from the state; $700,000 came from the U.S. Department of Energy and $2 million from the federal stimulus. The plan's creators say the source of money had no impact on the results of the plan.
Mooney strongly denounced the process taken by the state, both in the selection of developer Deepwater and in creating the law that forced the Public Utilities Commission to reconsider the Power Purchase Agreement between Deepwater and National Grid. He called the state actions "illegal" and vowed to pursue a stand-alone cable saying he would "introduce legislation" at the state level.
A consultant hired by the cities and towns has tentatively selected land in and around the Tiverton Industrial Park, near Route 24 and the Fall River town line, as the best site for what's envisioned to be a 25-megawatt project that could have 8 to 10 wind turbines and cost between $50 million and $63 million to complete.
Fiery at times, Thursday's public hearing on plans to erect two wind turbines off Route 1 drew fierce opposition from residents, who questioned the project's impact on property values and the rural quality of life they moved to Charlestown to enjoy. Plans by Michael Carlino and his father-in-law Larry LeBlanc, of Whalerock Renewable Energy LLC, would put two, 1.8- megawatt turbines on the north side of Route 1.
"I lived with 50 decibels constantly," Nettleton said. "I can tell you that with 50 decibels at night, you can have your windows closed and your TV on, and you're going to be adjusting the volume on the TV ... Sound travels at night." "You're gonna hear this thing and it's going to become part of your life," he added. "It became such a part of my life, living with 50 decibels ... that I got the point where I just didn't want to come home at night."
The votes stand in contrast to a decision by the town's Planning Commission to postpone an advisory opinion until after the public hearing. Members of the land use board publicly questioned the turbines' impact on birds and bats and the visual effects of shadow flicker on Route 1 motorists, among other details.
Public confusion in recent days over the exact nature of Monday night's hearing prompted Town Council President Christopher Semonelli to open the discussion by emphasizing that the hearing was only on those proposed amendments and would not affect a current wind turbine construction project that's separately moving through the town's approval process.
Those bringing the appeal argue that the modified renewable energy law, passed by the General Assembly this summer in reaction to the Public Utilities Commission's unanimous rejection of the first wind farm contract in March, was unconstitutional.
D.E. Shaw & Co. fired 10 percent of its work force, or 150 people, to deal with a 46 percent plunge in the value of its assets, Bloomberg News and other outlets reported Tuesday. The fund's holdings fell to $21 billion as of Sept. 1, Bloomberg said. D.E. Shaw is also conducting a strategic review of its investments.
Rich told the task group that the appeals of the Public Utility Commission's recent decision to approve Deepwater's Purchase Price Agreement with National Grid have not yet derailed its timetable to have the farm built by 2012. However, he cautioned that could change since he does not know how long the appeals will last.
The unexpected ruling, which cannot be appealed, was announced by Town Administrator Bruce Keiser at an unscheduled Town Council meeting on Sept. 14. The councilors had set aside the evening for a Ft. Getty workshop, which was delayed until they finished their discussions on a response to the FAA ruling.
The state will pay MacFadyen $245 an hour for his work. Amy Kempe, the governor's spokeswoman, said the state had no choice but to hire outside counsel. The attorney general's office would normally represent the state in a case like this, but it was one of the parties that filed the appeal.
With its wind turbine supplier bankrupt, Portsmouth is looking for a new company to provide the service it had believed was covered under the equipment's original warranty.
The move comes as Deepwater steps up efforts to build an eight-turbine wind farm in state waters off Block Island that would serve as a test project before the company’s 100-turbine proposal in federal waters farther off the Rhode Island coast.
The Island Energy Plan Committee was unable to produce a quorum at its Wednesday meeting. Nevertheless, members present informally discussed the development of the plan's first draft, which they hope to have completed by November.
The state Public Utilities Commission, which approved a controversial power-purchase agreement between Deepwater Wind and National Grid last month, has until Sept. 23 to submit the full written record of the proceedings to the court. Thomas Kogut, spokesman for the state Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, said the records are being compiled.
"There would be few if any places in Middletown that would not be seen as scenic, historic or natural from a viewpoint," said Tarpgaard. "These broad terms could apply anywhere in Middletown and effectually it could become law that no wind turbines can be erected in Middletown."