Library filed under Energy Policy from Rhode Island
Attorney General Patrick Lynch said Monday that he has filed a brief in state Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of a law that ultimately gave Deepwater Wind an exclusive contract to build a wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island.
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.
The two Republicans running to take the place of their term-limited, fellow GOP member are opposed to the recent agreement between National Grid and Deepwater, while the Democratic and the independent candidates are in favor - though the latter with reservations.
Opposition rose at the end of the legislative session when Carcieri and legislative leaders drafted the bill that sent a new power-purchase agreement back to the PUC with so many restrictions, some said the commissioners would have no choice but to approve it.
Political observers say if the wind farm moves forward, Carcieri's name would surely be tied to it. On the other hand, a rejection would deliver a blow to a governor preparing to exit office. "To get this thing through would be part of his legacy," Moakley said. "I think he sees it that way and ... I think he genuinely believes in that project."
In briefs filed with the PUC, the Conservation Law Foundation argued the law directing the PUC to study the contract again is unconstitutional because it favors one company and forces an agency to reconsider a matter already decided. The CLF wants the PUC to stop hearing the case while it addresses the legal questions.
In a sharply worded statement Wednesday, Gov. Donald L. Carcieri blasted Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch and the Conservation Law Foundation for asking the R.I. Public Utilities Commission to stop hearing a case about a proposed offshore wind farm.
Governor Donald Carcieri signed new wind farm legislation into law Tuesday, keeping the proposed Block Island wind farm in play for another round before the Public Utilities Commission. The law calls upon the PUC to consider a renegotiated power contract between Deepwater Wind and National Grid.
It took the state Public Utilities Commission five-and-a-half months to decide that the price of wind power in a proposed agreement between National Grid and Deepwater Wind was too high. Under a new law that took effect Tuesday, the commission will have just 45 days to rule on a revised contract being negotiated by the largest electric utility in Rhode Island and the state's preferred offshore wind developer.
But the way a bill was written for Deepwater Wind in the General Assembly lacked the kind of transparency and concern for oversight that the public expects. (The bill did get better, with the role of the Public Utilities Commission apparently being properly restored, among other improvements.) The idea that it should start with an expensive eight-turbine "demonstration project" never made that much sense to us.
Gov. Donald L. Carcieri said he plans to sign legislation passed by the General Assembly on Thursday that could speed the development of a proposed offshore wind farm. The House and Senate passed each others' versions of the legislation on Thursday ...The bill directs the R.I. Public Utilities Commission to revisit the contract between wind farm developer Deepwater Wind and National Grid.
Under the guise of supporting renewable-energy projects, a pair of bills designed to remove the Public Utilities Commission from its traditional role of regulating the acquisition and distribution of electricity to citizens have been racing through the Rhode Island General Assembly. One has already passed and was signed by the governor within four weeks of its introduction.
On Monday, Sen. Susan Sosnowski and Rep. Arthur Handy, D-Cranston, unveiled a new bill that they said had been negotiated by policy advisors from both chambers and the governor's office. It requires PUC approval, but on a timetable some said was too fast to do an adequate review. There was a mixed response from Block Islanders. Union leaders supported the measure, while union members demonstrated outside.
Faced with growing opposition to its plans to permit an offshore wind farm without the approval of the state Public Utilities Commission, leaders in the Senate, the House and the governor's office responded Monday with new legislation that restores PUC review, albeit on an expedited basis.
A process to zone the waters off the coast of Rhode Island is drawing fire from some environmental groups that complain the state is rushing the work to meet arbitrary deadlines. ...Jedele and John Torgan, director of advocacy at Save The Bay, said the state appeared in a race to finish the document before the fall ...Jedele said the deadline appeared to advance business interests of Deepwater Wind.
The Rhode Island Tea Party and a host of other groups added their names on Tuesday to the growing list of opponents to controversial state legislation that would favor an offshore wind developer. The latest array of objectors announced their position during an afternoon news conference in the State House rotunda.
Legal advocacy groups like the Conservation Law Fund and Operation Clean Government spoke against the bill as did two former Attorney Generals, while Governor Donald L. Carcieri testified in support of the project. "I recognize that certain parties are portraying this legislation as an attempt to circumvent a regulatory process at the PUC," Carcieri said.
A state Senate committee has again postponed voting on legislation that would benefit an offshore wind developer as the panel awaits amendments to the controversial bill. The Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture was set to vote Thursday on legislation that would allow Deepwater Wind LLC to enter into an agreement for the sale of electricity from its proposed eight-turbine wind farm near Block Island without first getting approval from the state Public Utilities Commission. It is the second delay for a decision on the bill after the cancellation of a vote Tuesday. No new date has been scheduled.
A Senate committee has called off a hearing originally scheduled for Thursday when it was expected the panel would vote on a bill that could kickstart development of a proposed offshore wind farm. "The bill just isn't ready," Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski, D-South Kingstown, told Providence Business News.
Supporters and opponents of a new Senate bill (S2819) that would resurrect the Block Island wind farm turned out Wednesday night to voice their opinions at a hearing in Providence of the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture. Block Island residents and members of the Town Council were among those testifying.