Library from Rhode Island
Building more electricity transmission into New England isn't about an "energy crisis." It's about economics, jobs, corporate profit, failure to make the small fixes that add up, failure to do detailed analysis, failure to resist stampede crisis mentality, and lots of other things.
The price of wholesale electricity in New England fell 14 percent in May, continuing the two-month downward slide from the record high prices from the first quarter, according to regional grid administrator ISO New England.
“The states and NESCOE are deliberately working out the details of this plan in secret, consistent with the view of one of NESCOE’s staffers that the plan should be ‘formulated behind closed doors’ because the ‘court of public opinion can be fickle and recalcitrant,’ ” Courchesne wrote, quoting an email from a NESCOE staff member to Executive Director Heather Hunt.
The six New England governors, working with the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCO) and regional grid operators, have launched a process under which Northern Pass partners may be able to acquire substantial ratepayer funding and eminent domain powers for the controversial plan to bring hydroelectricity from Quebec into New England.
Final agreements are still due from the R.I. Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, the Narragansett Tribe, the Wampanoag Aquinnah Tribe on Martha’s Vineyard and from the National Park Service, related to the Block Island Southeast Light, said Elliott.
It’s not just the town that has a stake in the windmill. The idle turbine is a black eye for Rhode Island’s wind-power industry, which has stalled in recent years, and for state government, which has worked hard to develop local sources of renewable energy.
“I think it would be really disastrous for us to take it down for a number of reasons,” Town Planner Gary Crosbysaid. “Our taxpayers would have to continue to pay the loan off, plus it wouldn’t be good for the wind industry as a whole to have a failed project like this.” However, he said, if the town gets the turbine running again, the operation won’t be the money-maker that it originally set out to be.
Deepwater Wind has reached an agreement with a coalition of environmental groups to minimize disturbances to endangered whales when it builds a proposed wind farm of up to 200 turbines in federal waters in Rhode Island Sound.
Four agencies — two state and two federal — will have the final say on whether the Deepwater Wind project moves into the construction phase.
A couple who previously lived next to the 413-foot wind turbine in the North Kingstown Green subdivision off Ten Rod Road before moving to North Carolina are asking a judge to seize $223,025 worth of assets from the turbine’s owner, as part of an ongoing civil lawsuit.
Municipal Court Judge Jane Howlett ruled the town did not prove its case against Mr. Coelho because Bristol Police Officer Sean Gonsalves did not take the noise readings in the proper location. The town ordinance requires that “the measurement shall be made at the property line; Gonsalves testifiedhe recorded the noise measurement from a second-story deck on the neighbor’s home.
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.
Allowing things to be broken with the expectation of someday fixing them is horrible policy. Things that are as complicated as the Atlantic Ocean do not fix easily. Let us decide on an ocean policy concerning the expanded utility of our oceans that states clearly, “Above all else, do no harm.”
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.
Federal regulators are being asked to resolve a regional rift over who should pay for new power lines needed to carry renewable electricity to southern New England. Vermont has joined New Hampshire and Rhode Island to oppose the cost-sharing formula being promoted by Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine. ...the more populated states are trying to offload much of the cost of the new power projects on other states in New England.
Clean energy is facing some serious headwinds in town. Tiverton’s only wind turbine is face-down in a hay field, and a proposal to set up a wind farm has stalled. “Not a thing is happening right now,” said Garry Plunkett, the town’s expert on wind power. “It is pretty dead.”