Library filed under Impact on People from Rhode Island
Block Islanders on Tuesday spoke out for the first time at a state hearing on a proposal to build a small offshore wind farm that would provide them with cleaner and potentially cheaper electricity. Many of the 50 people who attended the meeting voiced support for the proposal ...But others questioned whether the plan would really lead to cost savings in the long term. And they raised concerns that installing an array of machines rising hundreds of feet above sea level would dramatically alter the pristine ocean views prized by residents and visitors alike.
Now that the Town Council has made a wind power turbine on the transfer station property possible, is it advisable? A number of serious concerns were raised during the rezoning struggle that need to be answered. As First Warden Kim Gaffett kept saying, it was premature to introduce an extended critique of windmills into the rezoning proceedings, but the time to take up the issues has arrived.
A majority of Narragansett residents support wind turbines in their community, according to a survey released last week by the R.I. Department of Environmental Management and town of Narragansett. ...Seventy-one percent supported wind turbines if they could not hear them from their house. However, support dropped to 38 percent if they could be heard from their house.
Block Island voters and homeowners support wind power, including both on- and offshore wind farm installations, according to the results of a Roger Williams University survey. ...63.3 percent of the voters and 56.4 percent of the homeowners said they would support a wind installation - land-based or offshore - that was visible from their homes, with the proviso that the wind farm be far away enough to be "impossible to hear."
I helped research the structural failure and noise aspects of wind turbine generators for the Health & Safety (H&S) subcommittee of the CREB (Committee for Renewable Energy for Barrington). CREB says it bases its recommendations only on objective data. If so, why did it selectively ignore research produced by its own H&S subcommittee?
A contingent of opposition soaked up the first 90 minutes of a public workshop on the proposed wind turbine project in Barrington on Tuesday night. One by one, residents, some of whom were members of the group Citizens Wind Watch, approached the microphone at the front of the Barrington High School auditorium and reeled through questions and concerns about the project while some offered reasons the town council should not support building a wind turbine on Legion Way. ... Despite all the comments, the majority of council members said the workshop did little to sway their thoughts on the proposed project.
Citizens Wind Watch of Barrington's analysis of the proposed wind turbine in Barrington. Part 1, Duration: 7 minutes 46 seconds Part 2, Duration: 9 minutes 2 seconds
Citizens Wind Watch of Barrington's analysis of the proposed wind turbine in Barrington, Rhode Island. Part 1, Duration: 7 minutes 46 seconds Part 2, Duration: 9 minutes 2 seconds
The School Committee last night decided to put off a vote on whether to remove the high school from contention as a location for a proposed turbine. ...School Committee members agreed to take up the turbine matter at its Oct. 16 meeting. That group is expected to recommend an alternative site at the end of Legion Way, which would essentially make the school committee's rejection of the high school site unnecessary. ...And because the device would be as close as 190 feet from a school building, the committee has been under pressure to withdraw its approval of the high school site.
Unanswered questions and legitimate objections - that's why Barrington Town Council member Jamie Schwartz believes the proposed wind turbine project would not get his vote of approval ... at least not right now. Last week Mr. Schwartz went public with his position regarding the wind turbine. He said if he had to vote on the project tomorrow, he would vote no. "The disagreements over the economic model, the wind adequacy, the environmental impact, vendor qualifications, property values, construction impacts, aesthetics, etc., suggest that community buy-in is insufficient to approve the project," Mr. Schwartz wrote in a letter last week.
Late last month Lincoln Avenue resident Kathleen Shafer filed a complaint against the town's zoning board of review over a decision it made involving the proposed wind turbine. The complaint's roots can be traced to the town's initial site selection for the project - Barrington High School. (Legion Way is also being considered as a potential site.) Ms. Shafer lives at 210 Lincoln Ave., and her property abuts the school campus. She began questioning some aspects of the project and eventually requested a zoning certificate with respect to the zoning status of the high school, specifically as it relates to a wind turbine. The building official said the high school was exempt from the town's zoning ordinances.
Forty pages of health and safety information surrounding the proposed wind turbine project in town may never have been created had it not been for some anxious residents. Ron Pitt, chairman for the health and safety subcommittee that researched and wrote the report, said interested and concerned residents, including members of the group Citizens Wind Watch, should be credited for pushing forward the process of learning more about wind turbines and the issues that surround them. ...Mr. Russo said the recent health and safety report spelled a certain end to the likelihood the turbine would be constructed at the high school.
Critics of a plan to build a wind turbine at the high school are adding zoning concerns to their list of objections to the project, which town officials say they want to relocated to a piece of town-owned land on Brickyard Pond at the end of Legion Way. But the Town Council president counters that those concerns are groundless because the town is not bound by its own zoning bylaw. ...The town has until the end of the year to close a deal on the turbine if it wants to take advantage of a $2.1-million interest-free loan being offered by the IRS.
...Rhode Island Gov. Don Carcieri's pledge nearly two years ago to bring wind power to a state where there is just one operating wind turbine. His goal was to get 15% of the state's electrical power from wind by 2011 - which would require about 100 turbines. Several major challenges now stand in the way of the small state's big plans. Among them: No one has decided where to put a wind farm, it's not clear how the project will be paid for, and public opposition - a major wild card - is unknown, according to Carcieri's top energy adviser, Andrew Dzykewicz. ...No other state has built an offshore wind farm, forcing Rhode Island's government to invent the process nearly from scratch. One of the state's main environmental regulatory bodies, the Coastal Resources Management Council, has not even decided what it requires from prospective wind power developers.