Library from Rhode Island
Under the agreement, ISO New England will project regional power needs three years in advance and hold annual auctions to buy power resources, including new and existing power plants. Incentives would encourage private operators to respond to power system emergencies, and operators that don't make extra capacity available would face penalties.
After years of warning that New England's electric grid was on the brink of having to impose Third World-style rolling blackouts, top power officials now cautiously predict the region may have enough power for the near future. Since February, thanks to recent policy changes, proposals for 21 new power plants that could deliver enough electricity for about 3 million homes have come before regional power grid administrators. Those include a $1.5 billion NRG Energy Inc. plan for multiple new generators in Connecticut and a single generator that would burn methane gas from a dump in Westminster, near Fitchburg. The Holyoke -based organization that runs the six-state power grid and wholesale markets, Independent System Operator New England, plans to discuss the projects in a two-day Boston conference starting today .
WARREN - John Rosenthal has his eyes on the heavy current pulling hard underneath the Warren River Bridge. The president of Meredith Management — the company planning to develop the 14-acre former American Tourister property into hundreds of condominiums — wants to harness the river's tidal energy and use it to supply electricity to the proposed residential complex. The state's Office of Energy Resources is already on board with Mr. Rosenthal's idea. In late August, the agency awarded a $20,000 grant to Meredith Management to fund a feasibility study. On Thursday, Sept. 14, the same day Mr. Rosenthal formally submitted the plan for the redeveloped Tourister property, the company president said work had begun on the tidal energy study, and that he was optimistic about its potential. "We hope it will be fiscally feasible," he said. "This is better than wind energy ... water is denser than air, and it is invisible to the public."
Meanwhile, the state has hired Applied Technology & Management, of Newport, to recommend onshore and offshore sites for wind turbines -- a vastly underused source of energy for electricity generation, especially in coastal areas. The firm's David Mendelsohn says that the governor's goal of producing 15 percent of Rhode Island's electrical power from wind by 2016 is "probably" achievable.
COVENTRY -- Governor Carcieri yesterday unveiled a state initiative to develop several small hydroelectric generators along major rivers. Carcieri said that harnessing the water's energy could generate up to 10 megawatts of power, or roughly 1 percent of the state's overall electricity consumption...........The wind-power initiative is on track, Carcieri said. Applied Technology & Management of Newport has been hired to complete a feasibility study that will recommend potential sites, both on- and offshore, for wind turbines, he said.
With the commitment to clean power, however, come increased costs in the short term. The costs come from investments in renewable energy certificates or building alternatives such as wind turbines, Wall said. Extra costs could also come if, like residents have already done, the town turned some buildings over to clean energy through the utility company, he said.
``The problem we're having with all these wind farms is . . . they're proposing to put them in all the worst places," said Thomas W. French , assistant director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. ``If they could do what the Russell Biomass plant did, which is to find a preexisting, historical industrial district, we'd be applauding them." As part of the ongoing state permitting process for the plant, French's division worked with its developers to reroute proposed power lines to reduce their impact on wildlife.
The New England power grid will have 30,345 megawatts available today - use is expected to peak at a record 28,030 megawatts, even after energy companies have put out a call for people to voluntarily reduce power consumption, she said.
But........ even he acknowledged that turbines have some drawbacks. "You can't totally rely on wind power because it's so fickle," he said, adding that energy production dips during the less-windy summer months. This makes turbines inefficient, according to Mr. Ratti. "One of the huge costs of windmills is that the wind does not always blow. In order to provide for continuity of service, National Grid has to have available at all times a same-size backup generator to switch on to the lines," he said. "It's just like your second-string quarterback. He's sitting on the bench idle and collecting a million dollars. You have the same thing with the generator. What they are now is a parasite on the grid. When the windmill doesn't feel like turning, the grid has to pick up the slack."
WORCESTER— Absent interest in lower-priced fuels, New Englanders should brace for continued high electricity prices, the byproduct of a regional system heavily dependent on oil, natural gas and coal, the head of the region’s power grid said yesterday.
Energy efficiency is by no means a permanent solution, but it should be a permanent part of the solution. Sensible energy use, combined with new power resources, is the only workable answer for New England.
Council members say they want to get a better sense of whether to take a serious look at a wind energy project.
New England recorded its highest power usage in history Tuesday, according to Ken McDonnell, a spokesman for ISO New England, manager of the region's power grid. The peak, reached Tuesday afternoon, was 27,374 megawatts of power, eclipsing the previous record set on July 27, 2005, when usage reached 26,885 megawatts.
...council member Kenneth A. Marshall, who sits on the town's wind energy committee, believes it's time for Bristol to either move forward with a plan or direct its efforts elsewhere.
WESTPORT - Wind turbines could be coming offshore to Westport if one of the plans presented by the South Coast Offshore Wind Project is selected. The proposal for wind turbines in Buzzards Bay comes from Patriot Renewables LLC in Quincy. Three study areas are shown in plans provided to the town. Study area #3 shows about 40 wind turbines clustered around the Hens & Chickens off Westport.
FALMOUTH, MASS. -- There's no substitute for seeing it firsthand, and thus, Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee boarded a 40-foot fishing boat yesterday morning and headed out to sea. His destination: the site where the proposed Cape Wind electricity-producing project would be built, on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound.
Gov. Don Carcieri is gambling that he can overcome that opposition and build enough windmills to satisfy 15 percent of the state's energy needs in five years. Environmentalists say the plan is workable but ambitious considering that Rhode Island would essentially be starting from scratch.
Maine's largest energy provider is forecasting record-breaking electricity use this summer, as well as a need for additional supply lines to feed an ever-increasing demand. But a solution planned by ISO New England -- which manages electricity distribution in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont -- is being met with skepticism by Maine officials, who question the proposal's need and fairness.
Lee also warned that renewable energy sources, though desirable, were not a "silver bullet" solution. "It does leave an environmental footprint," Lee said, noting that wind energy and solar energy take up large areas of land, making it difficult to find a place to put them, especially in densely populated parts of the world.
The whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of clean electricity may one day come to Bristol, but first proponents of wind turbines want to find out what Bristol residents think.