Library from Rhode Island
A 13-square-mile tract of ocean one to three miles off the south shore of Block Island is a prime candidate as a site for a 56-turbine wind farm, a state study concludes. Other candidates include ocean areas east and west of the Block Island ferry navigation channel not far from the mainland shore.
New England Energy Alliance Survey Finds Consumer Concern about Future Electricity Supplies, Desire to Choose Electricity Supplier and Support for Addressing Global Warming
NARRAGANSETT, R.I. - Gov. Don Carcieri's administration this week unveiled a report calling it feasible to build wind farms off the coast of Rhode Island as part of a plan to get 15 percent of the state's energy from wind in five years. Wind is plentiful in pockets along Narragansett Bay, and wind farms could supply much-needed energy to the Ocean State. But in a region where other wind projects have met with opposition, and in a state that prizes its shoreline, there's a lingering question over whether residents will support such a project. "Is aesthetics going to be a problem for people? That's the question. That's really the only question," said Andrew Dzykewicz, commissioner of the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources.
A study commissioned by Governor Carcieri identifies several areas off the coast of Rhode Island that are suitable for one or more wind farms that could generate enough electricity to supply 15 percent of the state's power demands. RIWINDS, as it's called, would be comparable in scope to the proposed Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound, and could cost $900 million to $1.9 billion, depending on where the turbines would be located, how many were erected and several other variables.
Portsmouth residents now have an online resource to help them decide whether to support installing wind turbines on school property. The town Economic Development Committee's Sustainable Energy Subcommittee this week unveiled a Web site, www.portsmouthrienergy.com, aimed at informing residents about wind energy and on a proposal to build a turbine at the high school and/or middle school to save money on electricity costs. The site includes information on sustainable energy, funding sources and environmental impacts.
The newly appointed Wind Energy Study Committee held its first meeting at the Town Hall on April 3. The seven-member committee appointed officers and reviewed its charge from the Town Council, with direction from Town Clerk Arlene Petit.
Town councilors last week held an election and chose by paper ballot seven members for two year terms on the town's new wind energy committee. The seven were chosen from among 16 applicants and one nominated member. The council invited and urged applicants not named to the committee to attend and play active roles in the committee work. Selected for the committee were; William "Bucky" Brennan and Robert Bowen, who independently and simultaneously urged the council to pursue study of wind energy, and Clayton Carlisle, William W. Smith III, Don Wineberg, Abigail Anthony and Michael Larkin. Public Works Director Steven Goslee and Town Engineer Michael Gray will serve as ex-officio members.
TIVERTON - A meteorological tower designed to test the breezes has just been erected at Sandy Woods Farm adjacent to and south of the Bulgarmarsh recreation area. If the direction, speed and constancy of the winds are right, there could well be a wind generator at the location two years or so from now that would be capable of meeting most of the electrical energy needs of an artists' community now being proposed for the site. After a small number of trees had been cleared in a rocky pasture on the farm, and a concrete footing for the structure had been set in place, the 132-foot tall "met tower" was hoisted intact in just a few hours on Thursday morning last week. It is visible looking south from Bulgarmarsh Road on the hill and curve just west of the recreation area. The so-called tilt-up "met tower" system, consisting of interlocking galvanized steel tubes that slide together without bolts or clamps, was hoisted from the ground with a ginpole and winch. It is held in place by cable guy wires that run in four directions at several levels.
BARRINGTON — The explorers of wind power here gathered around six tables pushed together and focused on questions that might determine whether it’s worthwhile to power some Barrington buildings using a wind turbine or turbines. There are many questions to tackle, and the Wind Power Exploratory Committee agreed last night at its meeting at the public library to create four subcommittees made up of its members. A siting subcommittee will look at potential locations, among other things, and other subcommittees will focus on technology and engineering, cost, and the stakeholders in town. Subcommittees were slated to meet on different days over the next week and a half and report back when the full exploratory committee meets again in two weeks.
Portsmouth is one step closer to asking the General Assembly to approve putting a $3 million wind-turbine referendum on the local ballot - that is, if studies show the turbines would be worth the money. While the town has yet to decide if it wants wind turbines at local schools, Portsmouth’s Economic Development Committee sought support from local leaders for putting the special-election request to state lawmakers. They must approve enabling legislation for special elections, and such requests are due by February, the deadline to submit legislation for inclusion in this General Assembly session. Both the Portsmouth Town Council and the School Committee last week approved resolutions supporting a local vote on issuing bonds for the turbines. But a referendum won’t go to voters unless data shows the turbines would be economically viable.
Following in the paths of Portsmouth and Bristol, Barrington officials will investigate whether to use wind power to provide power for municipal buildings. The Town Council agreed this month to advertise for people who would like to serve on the Wind Power Exploratory Committee. Jeffrey Brenner, the council president, said that after a presentation by Lefteris Pavlides, a Roger Williams University professor and wind energy expert and advocate, some council members wondered whether the alternative power source on a limited scale could save on electrical expenses.
PORTSMOUTH — The town has received approval to borrow up to $2.6 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds to finance the proposed purchase and installation of one or two wind turbines at the public middle and high schools to offset their use of electricity.
The Town Council Monday authorized the expansion of its new Wind Energy Committee from five to seven members because of the availability and willingness of at least 11 specially qualified residents to serve, and because of the growing interest in wind energy. The four councilors attending the meeting agreed to the expansion even though Council President David Long and Councilman William Kelly spoke briefly about a generic preference for smaller committees. Council Vice President Julio DiGiando and Councilman Michael Schnack endorsed the expansion without caveat. Councilwoman Barbara Szepatowski was absent. Next Monday, Dec. 18, is the deadline for applications for the new committee. No members have yet been named.
PORTSMOUTH — The town has received approval to borrow up to $2.6 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds to finance the proposed purchase and installation of one or two wind turbines at the public middle and high schools to offset their use of electricity. The town received permission last week from the Internal Revenue Service to issue the interest-free bonds as part of a program created under the federal Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005. The IRS has approved the borrowing of $800 million in bonds by 610 renewable energy projects across the country.
Although the approach is too late for projects that have already begun a federal review process, a dozen New England congressmen and senators have asked for help from the Department of Energy in coordinating a regional approach to siting liquefied natural gas facilities. Reps. Tom Allen and Mike Michaud have both signed on to this request, which makes sense for future energy projects.
Renewable-energy groups from throughout Rhode Island will meet here Saturday to discuss ways communities can install wind turbines that would be used to offset the cost of electricity. The meeting, at Roger Williams University, was organized by Bristol Wind Power, a local group that formed in support of a nonbinding referendum on wind energy that won overwhelming approval from voters last month. The referendum capped a two-year study of wind power in Bristol that has yet to produce a concrete proposal to erect a turbine in town. The Town Council decided to hold the vote to gauge the sentiments of townspeople before moving forward with any plan.
The council delegated Keiser to advertise for volunteers for a wind energy committee, send a letter to funding sources to hold a place for the town to apply for grant money, and otherwise prepare for an appointed and functioning committee before the end of January. The approval provides for a five-member committee working with Public Works Director Steven Goslee and Town Planner Lisa Bryer.
New England will need to add power plants capable of generating 4,300 megawatts, and $3.4 billion of additional transmission investment, by 2015 to avoid blackouts, the region’s grid operator says. The area will need 170 megawatts of new power before the summer of 2009 to assure adequate supplies, according to ISO New England Inc., the power grid and wholesale market operator that serves the region’s 14 million people........ If a 1,000 megawatt coal or nuclear power plant had been installed in 2005, buyers in the wholesale market would have saved $600 million in power costs, the report said.
Local voters in the Nov. 7 general election will have a chance to register their views on pursuing a plan for harnessing wind power in town. Officials have talked for the past two years of trying to install a wind turbine in town. They’ve worked with wind power experts to identify possible sites but haven’t taken the plan any further. In a nonbinding referendum, they will gauge residents’ sentiments. Question 11 on the ballot will ask, “Should the Town pursue the installation of a wind turbine in Bristol provided an appropriate site is identified?”
Saying New England holds tremendous opportunity for wind energy development, Connecticut-based Noble Environmental Power today announced that it is teaming up with Vermont-based Vermont Environmental Research Associates (VERA) to explore potential windpark locations throughout the region.