Library filed under Offshore Wind from Rhode Island
Four agencies — two state and two federal — will have the final say on whether the Deepwater Wind project moves into the construction phase.
Deepwater is responding to a 2013 request for proposal by LIPA for 280 megawatts of renewable energy. The state-controlled entity is seeking options after applying for a federal lease for its own wind project proposal with Consolidated Edison Inc. and the New York Power Authority off the coast of Long Island.
National Grid has submitted a proposal to the R.I. Division of Public Utilities and Carriers to construct the transmission system for the Deepwater Wind Block Island Wind Farm, instead of purchasing the completed system from Deepwater Wind as in previous plans. National Grid has also proposed paying Deepwater Wind $9.5 million for assets already invested in developing the transmission system.
In 2009, The Providence Journal wrote about the race to build the first offshore wind farm in the United States, with projects off Block Island and Cape Cod at the front of the pack. Five years later, the race continues.
The opposition is prepared to assert that wind farms are visual blights and environmental disturbances. But Deepwater’s adversaries believe that the high cost of this particular type of green energy is their strongest argument. A stack of handouts by the door to the Narragansett Town Council chambers raised the alarm. They proclaimed: “Wind Power Invasion Coming Soon,” and warned of a “predatory development,” and “a risky venture,” doomed to fail, while guaranteeing “huge profits” to Deepwater Wind.
"Seascapes are an integral part of our national, state and local cultural and natural resource heritage. They should be recognized as such and not be in play for developmental risk," said David Lewis of Block Island.
The report signed by CRMC executive director Grover J. Fugate and other staff members at the agency recommends the adoption of 17 stipulations that include reducing any impacts on North Atlantic right whales during construction, conducting regular reports on bird impact after the wind turbines are installed, and carrying out a study on the effects of the wind farm on recreational boating.
With the focus on project completion, Grybowski says the company's top priority is ensuring that Deepwater is able to satisfy the 5% safe-harbor provision to qualify for the investment tax credit. Among other requirements, developers must incur 5% of the project's cost by Dec. 31 to be eligible for the tax incentive. To satisfy the U.S. Treasury's 5% spend threshold, Deepwater plans to use a combination of "historical expenditures" and contracts signed with vendors until the end of the year.
The agreed-upon price was the one needed to support Deepwater Wind’s return on investment and to attract investors. No consideration was given to a price that would benefit both Deepwater and the consumer. In fact, in none of my research on the government’s position did I see the needs of the consumer addressed. In short, a biased, thoughtless process of negotiating the Deepwater Wind contract left the consumer holding the bag with much of the company’s development costs and profit.
The Providence company emerged from the nation's first competitive sale of offshore renewable energy leases on Wednesday as the provisional winner, with bids of $3.7 million for the north section of the area, which is believed to be more suitable for development, and $94,000 for the south section.
I do not think that the Narragansett Town Council will permit Deepwater Wind to funnel electricity from its Block Island wind farm through Narragansett. ...With a new town council in place, President James Callaghan stated publicly: "When you think about it, this is not the best for the town when it goes through our most precious resource."
"The OSAMP [Ocean Special Area Management Plan] Subcommittee's [a CRMC subcommittee] vote to deny Intervenor status to the Plaintiffs in this contested case was a violation of the APA [Administrative Procedures Act], and beyond its legal authority, because ... Plaintiffs met the standard for intervention, and at the time of the vote CRMC was acting on incomplete and defective applications, and pursuant to a defective Public Notice."
A flood of unexpectedly cheap natural gas could put a damper on offshore winds' fresh enthusiasm. Electric utilities may find it cheaper and easier to enjoy cheap gas while they can and put off more costly investments in alternatives, at least in the near term. "There's some truth that the decline in gas prices has changed people's perception about the urgency of renewables."
Rodgers said Cape Wind has periodically met with other ports as the project has progressed, and he would not go into detail about the meeting. But he said among the topics they discussed was whether Quonset would be able to take on at least some of the work Cape Wind planned to do in New Bedford.