Library filed under Impact on Landscape from Rhode Island
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.
Rhode Island is tiny and densely populated. And people who like the idea of wind energy in the abstract rarely want it near their own backyards ...Pacheco's neighbors said their concerns include noise, maintenance and "shadow flicker," the blinking effect that occurs when the sun rises or sets behind the spinning blades.
“The opposition participated at every opportunity that was available, but the public process was a charade,” Rosemarie Ives said. “Every aspect of the state dealing with this project has been corrupted.” Less than a half mile to the east of the Ives’ home sits Southeast Light, one of the most popular destinations on the island. Now, visitors to the historic brick lighthouse get a clear view of the wind farm under construction from the front lawn.
Despite some unexpected events, such as repairs to a foundation and a complaint that was filed in a Providence U.S. District Court, the Block Island Wind Farm project is moving ahead, according to Deepwater Wind's Chief Executive Officer.
The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the Deepwater Wind project. Chamber President Laurie White criticized the opponents of this overly expensive and ill-advised offshore wind turbine proposal. Her chamber's position is incomprehensible, because the project will do nothing for any of its members, excluding Deepwater Wind and National Grid, except increase their electricity rates.
In public comments submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the NPS said that it is concerned about potential adverse impacts to Block Island's historic South East Lighthouse, the lighthouse's property and its viewshed. The NPS also suggests that additional locations be considered for the wind farm.
Aimed at governing the installation of residential and commercial-scale wind turbines, the proposal comes almost a year after councilors passed a resolution temporarily halting any new applications for home-based wind turbines and directing city staff to develop a workable ordinance to govern the placement and size of turbines in the future.
There are more commercial-scale wind turbines on the Rhode Island horizon than ever before and offshore wind farms that could generate a substantial portion of the state's energy remain on track. But in many respects, the outlook for land-based wind power in the Ocean State has darkened recently.
The drive for renewable energy in Rhode Island is colliding with neighborhood values in North Kingstown, where a battle is raging over a 427-foot wind turbine proposed for farmland along Route 2. Opponents of the turbine object to the size, location and possible safety hazards of the structure. "These are power plants."
Residents pushing for the amendments to be approved have voiced support on the grounds of visual impact, flicker, noise, fear of declining property values, and appropriate use of turbines on residential lands, while some opponents have voiced concern out of support in general for alternative energy and others have echoed the concerns of the Wind Turbine Committee.
"We know the area [the location most viable for wind turbines in the nearby federal waters], but any reference to federal statutes and waters is forbidden," Fugate said. ...Said Tikoian, "Then why did we spend so much money to study federal waters and not include them? We want to ensure accountability and that we paid $8 million on what we said we were going to do."
Planning Board members who toured the property Friday also answered some residents' and neighbors' questions about the 294-foot wind turbine proposal's approval process and timeline, but amongst themselves declined to deliberate or discuss the issue again until the board's next meeting in September.
The Planning Board Tuesday night supported amendments to zoning laws to match the town's Comprehensive Plan that restricts wind turbine impacts to vistas, but the current proposal for a 294-foot structure off Paradise Road will be unaffected.
"Block Island is most at-risk with this project," said Michael Hickey. ...Nobody has more to lose than Block Island if this project does not work out as planned." He and others say the price of wind power has been inflated to cover any risk Deepwater is exposed to. "I also object to the fact that the ratepayers of Rhode Island are being asked to subsidize this experiment," said John Hopf.
Hecklau says that the early land-based wind farms were "warmly received," by the public, but controversy has dogged each successive project, especially in the Northeast. Nowadays, there's "not an easy project anymore in the Northeast. Every project, some opposition." Projects in the Midwest, he says, receive much less opposition.
An expert says that a wind turbine at the town-owned forest behind Beech Grove Cemetery would generate as much electricity or more than a similar turbine in Portsmouth, R.I. that has netted that town $281,219 in cash after all costs in just one year. After hearing on March 20 that an investment in a 1.65 megawatt turbine may produce as good as or better results than Portsmouth's The Board of Selectmen unanimously agreed to place a question of whether the town will fund a $14,500 feasibility study on the Town Meeting.
If the town moves ahead with planning for a wind turbine, the money-saving device could be in place within two years, an energy consultant told municipal officials last week. The municipally-owned Wolf Hill preserve has emerged as the preferred site for a windmill, which an initial study says could pay nearly all of the town's $800,000 annual electric bill.
Block Island residents got a first chance Tuesday to offer input to state decision makers about the wind farm proposed for within three miles of the island's shores. The Public Utilities Commission held a hearing at Town Hall as part of its consideration of the Power Purchase Agreement reached between National Grid and Deepwater Wind. The commission will render a decision on the agreement by March 30.
Now that the Town Council has made a wind power turbine on the transfer station property possible, is it advisable? A number of serious concerns were raised during the rezoning struggle that need to be answered. As First Warden Kim Gaffett kept saying, it was premature to introduce an extended critique of windmills into the rezoning proceedings, but the time to take up the issues has arrived.
Save The Bay, the leading environmental organization in Rhode Island, is opposing a plan to erect a wind turbine at Black Point, a coastal property in Narragansett that was preserved two decades ago using state open-space bonds. The Providence-based organization joined Tuesday with five other environmental advocacy groups - all supporters of green energy - to send a letter to Governor Carcieri that raises questions about the project. The plans being developed by the state Department of Environmental Management and the Town of Narragansett include the installation of up to six large wind turbines at various sites in the town.