Library filed under Transmission
The Google-led Atlantic Grid Development could connect 54 gigawatts of East Coast offshore wind-if vested interests don't get in the way.
A proposed two-year extension of Wyoming's moratorium on wind developers' eminent domain powers passed another legislative hurdle Wednesday. By a voice vote, state senators passed House Bill 230 on first reading. If left unchanged, the legislation must pass two more Senate votes before heading to Gov. Matt Mead for his signature.
The government's Long-Term Energy Plan calls for the spending of $2 billion on transmission grid upgrades, including three southwestern Ontario projects the plan says should be in place by 2017 to make room for new green energy projects. The upgrades and new line west of London are to be completed by 2014, according to the plan.
In asking to intervene in the case, the two agencies argued that the project, stretching from Virginia to New Jersey, could adversely affect the rates paid by consumers and also place much of the risk on the ratepayer instead of the developers. The Atlantic Wind Connection is a 350-mile underwater transmission line, which aims to connect the spate of offshore wind farms being developed by New Jersey and other states.
In a filing by the BPU, the state wrote the project "could unnecessarily increase transmission costs for New Jersey consumers." According to the Rate Counsel, if current state policies remain in effect, subsidies to develop solar and wind power projects could cost consumers an additional $5 billion over the next two decades.
Galloo Island Wind Farm's developer is lobbying state officials to push the New York Power Authority to give the project a contract for its power. Attorneys for Upstate NY Power Corp. have talked to local officials and at least the chairmen, if not the members, of the state Assembly and Senate Energy Committees.
Representatives from NRG Bluewater Wind met with town officials Friday to discuss plans to bring wind power to the town. ...NRG Founder/President Peter Mandelstam described how the cables will be about 6 feet under the sea floor, 15 feet under the beach.
The Electric Transmission Customer Protection Act is intended to prevent FERC from applying cost-recovery mechanisms for interstate transmission projects beyond where the upgrades will have an immediate, direct benefit. This position is at odds with a current proposed rule in FERC's docket that seeks to implement a methodology that spreads infrastructure costs regionally among a wide range of consumers.
"Wind power is an open trough of government subsidies, tax credits and state mandates. Taken together, it's a massive corporate welfare effort that means big money for the wind power developers and big costs for the rest of us." Loren Steffy, the Houston Chronicle. ...competitively priced goods or services cease to be the primary concern of the producer. Courting government agencies and influencing laws becomes the chief goal.
The three-year fight over the Sunrise Powerlink, which is designed to carry solar, wind and geothermal energy, typifies the serious challenges facing President Obama and many of the nation's governors as they tout the power of renewable energy to put people to work and rescue the planet from the effects of climate change.
Vincent questions whether the California decision will leave investors and developers reluctant to invest in new transmission. "That puts a big question mark over whether it's worthy of the investment," he said. "Every article that I've read about it has essentially said in one way or the other that this is bad news for Washington, Oregon and Montana wind. It has got to almost change the paradigm."
The proposed towers would carry transmission lines starting from Canada along a 140-mile route from northern to central New Hampshire. They would be part of the Northern Pass Project, which would bring hydroelectric power to customers in New England. ...If the project can't be stopped, why not bury the lines underground? "It eliminates the problem of the horrible ugliness of those massive towers," she said.
The Southern Great Plains Property Rights Coalition has reached an agreement to withdraw its challenge to Clean Line Energy's bid for utility status in Oklahoma, but coalition leaders said the group has not endorsed the company's application.
Clean Line Energy representatives hope to resolve a number of issues with landowners before they connect a transmission line to wind turbines in northwest Oklahoma. For that reason, company representatives have asked for and have been granted a continuance until early March on a hearing that would grant the Houston-based company public utility status in Oklahoma with Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
The ruling could be a blow for area utilities all of which have faced opposition to transmission lines that would extend hundreds of miles through numerous communities. The companies are under pressure to meet state guidelines to generate more of their electricity from renewable sources.
Several landowners south of Junction have said they've been forgotten and abused in the transmission line routing that the Public Utility Commission approved on Jan. 20. The path of the transmission lines, being built by the Lower Colorado River Authority to carry wind-generated electricity from West Texas to the I-35 corridor, puts them through part of the townsite and through the land of Dean Martin, among others.
The bill is opposed by landowners in the path of the Montana Alberta Tie Line who argue that a private company from another country shouldn't have the authority to condemn land here. The bill states that public utilities and companies that receive permits under the Major Facility Siting Act, such as MATL, can take private land for public use.
The House Minerals Committee on Monday indefinitely postponed legislation that would have imposed another one-year moratorium on non-utility companies' ability to use eminent domain when building collector lines to wind turbine sites. State lawmakers voted last year to create a one-year moratorium on the practice; that moratorium ends July 1.
The administration of Gov. Deval Patrick has been pushing for a tougher standard of review for the proposed merger, saying the utilities should have to prove the merger would help the state's clean energy goals. NStar has been criticized by administration officials for its lack of interest in the Cape Wind project and its decision to focus instead on bringing Canadian hydropower to New England.
Although the agency is attempting to limit the environmental impact, no matter where the line is built somebody will be unhappy about what it will do to the scenery. "This will sure ruin the place," Fletcher said.