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Some call it an attractive energy source: renewable and sustainable. Others say wind energy is expensive and inconsistent, needing government subsidies to survive. James Hummel of the Hummel Report examines the questionable practices of the Rhode Island East Bay Energy Consortium - or EBEC.
Several key executives of offshore wind energy development companies have agreed to participate on a new advisory committee being formed by the city of New Bedford. Mayor Jon Mitchell made the announcement about the Offshore Wind Advisory Committee in mid-January, saying the committee will advise him on industry trends relating to the global supply chain for offshore wind.
"According to the DPUC, Rhode Island's ratepayers will be paying more than $400 million dollars in excess energy bills over the next 20 years with Deepwater's proposed plant ...That's more than 20 million dollars a year that Rhode Island ratepayers will be paying over the current market price. This is not in the best interest of Rhode Island, Block Island, or Narragansett, who's slated to be the landfall of the cable from the Deepwater Wind Farm."
Prior to a December 18 Town Council meeting devoted to the Deepwater Wind wind farm project, members of the Electric Utility Task Group met with New Shoreham Town Council members to address their questions around projected future costs for maintenance and decommissioning of the farm, perceived island benefits once the system is in place, and environmental considerations.
Several factors have played into this delay, explained Deepwater CEO Jeff Grybowski, including opposition to the project, particularly legal challenges by those on-island and upstate. And a lengthy permitting process with state and federal agencies - the company's current step - has required extensive research and reams of public documentation.
Nationally, demand for electricity is leveling off as residential power use falls, experts say, reversing a long upward trend. More efficient lighting and electric devices are partly credited for the change. New homes also are being built to use less electricity and government subsidies ...help older homes use less power. Rourke said the weak economy also has contributed to reduced electricity use.
In a lawsuit filed in Washington County Superior Court on Nov. 26, Whalerock Renewable Energy, LLC is seeking a judge's order to void a section of the town's zoning ordinances that allows the Planning Commission to approve or reject special use permit applications for large wind energy systems.
The Patrick administration placed the project's cost at $100 million and project proponents touted its potential to serve the offshore wind industry. In an interview Tuesday, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan acknowledged Massachusetts and Rhode Island are competing for the Cape Wind jobs. Massachusetts was not looking to sweeten its infrastructure effort with loans or grants.
The East Bay Energy Consortium (EBEC) looks to rebound from a year that saw its proposed wind farm stall along with wind energy development across Rhode Island. Much of the consortium's future depends on Election Day outcomes.
The convoluted struggle over Whalerock Renewable Energy LLC's bid to construct wind turbines has been extended into November, this time by a Zoning Board dispute involving the notification of adjacent property owners.
Riggs said he is "looking now at taking the next step" in opposing the Block Island Wind Farm. "At least in court, we'll get an answer, but I estimate it could take up to nine months," Riggs said. "Then the loser can always appeal to the 1st Circuit."
The company is in the final stages of completing permits for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council. The Army Corps permits are needed for any project that involves construction in navigable waters. The state permit is for leasing the submerged state lands.
The group that was instrumental in bringing a municipal wind turbine to Portsmouth has been directed to undertake a study to show the errors in the procedure that led to what has been called "a $2 million mistake."
The Town Council voted on Aug. 20 to kill the project, which had become a source of controversy among residents. The vote was 4-1, with Councilor Bob Bowen maintaining the panel should defer a final decision until town officials had collected all the data about the project. At the time, the Town Council did not take any action about the bond.
A Newport resident filed a complaint with a federal agency last week charging that electricity generated at a wind farm off Block Island's southern coast would be too expensive, a burden that would unfairly fall on mainland ratepayers.
After years of discussion and planning, the Town Council voted Monday 4-1 to abandon the proposed Taylor Point wind turbine. Councilman Bob Bowen voted against the measure, stating that more information was needed before the project was dismissed.
Since the cause of the failure is unknown, this may help pinpoint exactly what is wrong with the turbine before committing to costly repairs. Mr. Klimm has also been consulting with two people who own and operate the same AAER 1.5 MW turbine, one of which has had the same gearbox problem.
If Jamestown goes forward with the wind turbine project Murphy fears it could have the same fate as nearby Portsmouth which now is left with a half a million dollar bill on their wind mill project.
The proposed wind turbine at Taylor Point continued to be an issue of contention for Jamestown residents who attended Monday's Town Council meeting. More than 10 individuals, including proponents, opponents and consultants, gave their opinions on the proposed project.
NARRAGANSETT - The U. S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has released an assessment of the environmental impacts of wind farms in federal waters off Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and could give notice as early as next month that it is auctioning off leases.