Library from Rhode Island
During the meeting last Thursday of the Fishermen’s Advisory Board, which advises the council on fishing issues related to offshore wind, Rhode Island fishermen complained that Vineyard Wind never took their needs into account when designing the wind farm. Over three hours of back and forth that at points grew heated, they repeatedly said that the orientation of the wind farm and the spacing of the turbines would make it nearly impossible for them to fish within its boundaries.
Rhode Island fishermen say a patch of the Atlantic Ocean south of Martha’s Vineyard is among the best places around to catch squid. They are also the same waters in which a developer selected by Massachusetts plans to install up to 100 giant wind turbines that would supply clean, renewable energy to the state.
The representatives are renewing their calls for a study commission in light of Deepwater Wind’s recent announcement of plans to expand the offshore wind farm off the Rhode Island coast.
To end the current destructive “Wild West” approach to renewable energy siting in Rhode Island, we believe that the state should immediately place a moratorium on state incentives for utility-scale renewable-energy development ...until the state establishes economic incentives to encourage the siting of utility-scale renewable energy on developed and disturbed locations, such as landfills, brownfields, rooftops, parking lot canopies, and gravel banks, and disincentives to prevent the continued loss of our forests and prime agricultural soils.
Massachusetts and Rhode Island have announced offshore wind projects aimed at delivering a combined 1,200 megawatts of energy, enough to power 400,000 homes.
That Block Island price, which started at 24.4 cents per kilowatt hour and is escalating at 3.5 percent a year, is significantly higher than the price National Grid pays for power from fossil fuel-burning generators and other conventional sources. It is, however, competitive with other renewable energy projects that have been developed in Rhode Island. It is unclear whether Vineyard Wind’s price is lower than the price from the Deepwater project.
Many fisherpeople see a future where segments of their industry will ultimately disappear unless the federal government ensures their concerns are taken into account in the construction and development of wind farms. Fisherpeople’s fears include the incompatibility of certain types of fishing gear with the clustered placement of wind turbines and a lack of site-specific research regarding economic and ecological impacts of the turbines.
Responding to criticism aired at two recent Town Council meetings about the noise and shadows generated by the town wind turbine, the chairman of the company that owns it said the machine is operating the same, if not better, than the first turbine that stood there.
Last year, Green Development won 20-year contracts with National Grid to sell power from two of the Johnston turbines through the state’s Renewable Energy Growth Program, an initiative created by the General Assembly that sets prices for qualifying solar arrays, small hydropower systems and wind turbines. The turbines, at 0 Shun Pike and 2141 Plainfield Pike, will sell their power for 18.24 cents per kilowatt hour.
The council has leverage over Green Development’s actions that it can use to address the residents’ complaints, he added. “You are the landlords so you can’t say you’re not responsible. ... Everything falls on the landlord,” he said.
FERC approved ISO-NE’s two-stage capacity auction to accommodate state renewable energy procurements, with Commissioner Robert Powelson dissenting and Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur and Richard Glick leveling new criticism on the minimum offer price rule (MOPR) (ER18-619).
New England’s power grid is in good shape now and home solar and energy efficiency efforts mean the region’s annual demand for electricity is projected to decline, according to the grid’s operators. But there are also problems ahead.
“Squid, flounders, scallops and other species need sandy bottom without structure to thrive,” she said. “So, the turbine bases not only destroy their habitat, but also introduce an entirely different ecosystem that attracts species that didn’t aggregate in the area before.”
PORTSMOUTH — The combination of the noise and shadows generated by the town's wind turbine has rankled some neighbors who voiced their frustration to the Town Council during its meeting Monday.
“Newport residents, as well as residents of other Communities, have received new electric and gas bills that are giving them anxiety and sticker shock due to huge increases; And... the new distribution charges are increasing bills by huge percentages and are compromising residents’ ability to pay necessary life expenses for rent, food, medical needs; And... the RI PUC’s decision to put the significant increase in renewable power costs from off-shore wind and net-metering into the Distribution charge and not the Power Charge so that consumers cannot opt to purchase equivalent power from outside Rhode Island as provided by law...”
Professor John King, from the University of Rhode Island's School of Oceanography, and his crew, performed Electromagnetic Field cable readings at the Town Beach on Monday, Dec. 18. The device they are dragging along the sand is called the SEMLA, which is an acronym for Swedish Electromagnetic Low-noise Apparatus, as it was created by Swedish engineer Peter Sigray.
Scola is concerned about state and federal regulations. But his big concern is the prospect of hundreds, and perhaps even thousands, of giant wind turbines spread out in the New York Bight, an area along the Atlantic Coast that extends from southern New Jersey to Montauk Point. It’s one of the most productive fishing grounds on the Eastern Seaboard.
With nearly 3,000 registered taxpayers casting ballots, the measure passed with 50.2 percent of the vote. While no windmill ever was constructed, the $6.5 million in potential borrowing has been hanging over the town’s head. As that vote reaches its seven-year anniversary, however, the town is ready to relinquish the burden.
A spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the agency is aware of the humpback whale that washed ashore on Block Island this past week, adding that the number of whale deaths throughout the eastern shore since early 2016 is “alarming.” ...Some people in New England are claiming that the existence of the five turbines comprising the Block Island Wind Farm are contributing to the unusual mortality rate.
Town documents show the height for the proposed turbines would be 519 feet. By comparison, Providence’s Superman building stands at approximately 428 feet, and the New England Institute of Technology turbine is 156 feet. Polisena says neighbors shouldn’t be concerned.