Library filed under Offshore Wind from Rhode Island
One of the five General Electric 6MW Haliade turbines installed at Deepwater Wind’s Block Island offshore project is reportedly down for repairs, potentially delaying the wind farm’s full commissioning.
Before we become too hopeful about the prospects of using offshore wind power as a fuel source of the future, let’s not forget that government data shows that offshore wind power cannot survive in a competitive environment without huge taxpayer subsidies.
Mary Jane Balser, who owns Block Island Grocery, typically the island’s biggest electricity consumer, is even more blunt. For years she tried to win grants to connect the island to the mainland electricity grid in an effort to escape the unreliability of diesel generators. “Financially,” she said this month, the wind farm “just makes no sense.” Rhode Islanders will pay more for power to subsidize a project benefiting Deepwater’s private investors, Balser said. “It’s not benefiting Block Island. It’s not benefiting Rhode Island. The notoriety of being the first in the nation? Can I take that home and eat it?”
The towering machines stand a few miles from shore, in a precise line across the seafloor, as rigid in the ocean breeze as sailors reporting for duty.
America’s very first offshore wind turbine was erected last week off the coast of Rhode Island.
In recent weeks, drilling the 4- to 8-foot deep trench in the seafloor has been slowed by poor weather and a stubborn substratum of granite off Scarborough Beach. The process requires dive teams and offshore boats. The trench digging frustrates fishermen because, unlike the immovable wind farm, the mobile trench boats require a 200-yard floating buffer.
Deepwater Wind is also free riding on Rhode Island’s ratepayers, who will end up paying vastly more than market rate for their wind power. Grybowski’s real accomplishment here is not the building of the wind farm, but rather that he got Rhode Islanders to pay so much for its output.
Ratepayers are expected to pay an above-market price of $440 million for Deepwater’s energy over the next two decades, according to a 2015 filing with the state Public Utilities Commission. Critics say total tab will be more than $500 million, due to added costs, like laying the cable linking Block Island to the mainland. This cost sparked the filing of a federal lawsuit last year that attempts to undo the contract between the utility company National Grid and Deepwater Wind.
The company building an offshore wind farm in the waters off Block Island is promising to try and eliminate the source of a droning noise that has been bothering people across Narragansett Bay.
Fugate says contractors with experience working in offshore energy projects in the Gulf of Mexico, have found the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean to be a more challenging work environment.
“The opposition participated at every opportunity that was available, but the public process was a charade,” Rosemarie Ives said. “Every aspect of the state dealing with this project has been corrupted.” Less than a half mile to the east of the Ives’ home sits Southeast Light, one of the most popular destinations on the island. Now, visitors to the historic brick lighthouse get a clear view of the wind farm under construction from the front lawn.
Opponents to the offshore wind farm under construction near Block Island have filed a case in federal court seeking to overturn a critical agreement under which developer Deepwater Wind will sell power to utility National Grid.
Benjamin Riggs, the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association and others filed this complaint in Federal Court pertaining to the approval of an above-market power contract between Deepwater Wind and National grid. The plaintiffs initially pursued this matter before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”). However FERC chose not to act on it itself but rather to refer the matter to the courts. Consequently they ruled that “Our decision not to initiate an enforcement action means that Mr. Riggs may himself bring an enforcement action against the Rhode Island Commission in the appropriate court”. By law, that is federal court. The current action is limited to asking the federal government to assert its clear authority over the pricing mechanism for the Deepwater project. The complaint, a portion of which appears below, speaks for itself. The full complaint can be accessed by clicking the links on this page. In addition, the plaintiffs filed the attached Memorandum that explains the Motion for Summary Judgment.
The following interview was conducted, written and edited by Lars Trodson on Tuesday, Aug. 11. It was learned later that day that the one steel jacket foundation placed in the water so far, which was subsequently damaged when it was hit by a barge, was taken out of the water. The Block Island Times sent in a series of six questions to Deepwater Wind regarding the condition, repair and current location of the foundation, and received the following response:
First, it was the weather. Rough seas forced the Providence company to push back until last Sunday the installation of the first steel foundation for the five-turbine wind farm off Block Island. Now, Deepwater is dealing with a construction mishap. Earlier this week, one of the barges being used in the project hit the latticework “jacket” foundation that had been placed in the water and dented one of its four hollow, tubular legs.
The most obvious sign that Deepwater Wind is about to start installing the nation’s first offshore wind farm appeared in the Atlantic Ocean waters near Block Island on Saturday. It's hard to miss, coming in the form of the 300-foot-long Weeks 533, the largest water-borne revolving crane on the East Coast.
Shields filed a complaint in Superior Court last July that alleged that a subcommittee of the state Coastal Resources Management Council showed bias toward Deepwater during hearings on the Providence-based company’s proposal last February.
Deepwater Wind now expects its five-turbine offshore wind farm planned near Block Island to produce more power than originally projected, resulting in potentially lower prices for consumers, company CEO Jeffrey Grybowski told the state Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday.
An outpouring of support from lawmakers and environmentalists for an offshore wind farm 30 miles from Montauk appears to have been decisive in helping push the politically connected developer's project to LIPA's list of finalists.
The circular logic of REC market fundamentals would have low REC pricing jeopardizing future development. As renewable energy project profit margins get squeezed, fewer projects will be built and forward REC prices would rebound as forward supply tightens.The worry is that offshore wind projects could break this self-correcting market logic in the New England Power Pool (NEPOOL).