Library filed under Offshore Wind
Although the wind farm would be built in federal waters and supply power to Massachusetts, Rhode Island has the latitude to effectively veto it. By law, development in federal waters cannot interfere with a state’s coastal activities, such as fishing, and must comply with state regulations.
“There are a lot of areas off the coast that would not be permissible (for wind turbines) because they are training mission routes,” said Bill Bethea, chairman of the S.C. Military Base Task Force. “It’s not telling you what you can and can’t do. It tells you how to go about it.”
The military’s concern is real. The Navy wants to renew a five-year permit that allows a sea and air warfare-training range along 50,000 square miles off the East Coast, including South Carolina, starting 12 miles out. The bigger turbines under development rise as high as a football field is long, with blades stretching out 60 feet. The turbine housing itself is as big as a passenger jet. Radar, particularly older radar, picks up the turning blades and the signal could be misread.
Gleaning energy from ocean wind would seem to be a California ideal: It emits no greenhouse gases, has nearly no environmental footprint, and harnesses one of the state’s most powerful and plentiful natural resources. But engineering challenges, regulatory hurdles and concerns about the turbines’ impact on wildlife have, until recently, mucked any forward progress.
“If someone is going to be the capital of offshore wind, we sure want it to be New Jersey,’’ said Tim Sullivan, CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority at an event yesterday touting offshore wind’s economic benefits to the state at Princeton University.
Rhode Island coastal regulators granted Vineyard Wind a stay in permitting proceedings on Tuesday, giving the New Bedford company another two months to reach agreement with fishermen who say they would lose access to valuable fishing grounds in the waters where 84 wind turbines would be installed.
A controversial offshore windfarm which will provide power for thousands of homes could be rubber-stamped by planners next week.
Deepwater, which submitted its bid before the name change took effect, is proposing two options: a 100-megawatt project or a 350-megawatt alternative. Vineyard, too, has put forward a choice, between a 200-megawatt project and one of 350 megawatts.
With tax credits expiring, it’s time for the industry to grow up.
The commission in charge of regulating Dominion’s proposal finds the project to be overly expensive, risky and unnecessary, but it says it is unwilling to send it back to the utility company because state legislators believe such a project, in principle, would benefit the commonwealth. That’s a shame. The commission’s research highlights significant concerns with Dominion’s proposal. Yet, the project moves ahead.
In the summer, Aripotch patrols for squid and weakfish in the area where the 15 South Fork wind turbines and others wind projects are planned. He expects the wind facilities and undersea cables will shrink fishing grounds along the Eastern Seaboard. “If you put 2,000 wind turbines from the Nantucket Shoals to New York City, I’m losing 50 to 60 percent of my fishing grounds,” Aripotch said during a Nov. 8 public hearing at the Narragansett Community Center.
Katie Almeida, fishery policy analyst for The Town Dock, a squid dealer and processor in Rhode Island, said that for two years, her company has been asking for at least five years of pre-construction fishery monitoring, and the conversation has not gone any further. “And now we’re down to what, a year?” she said. “How can we get any meaningful science and study done that’s going to actually hold up to any kind of scrutiny for baseline studies?”
Other residents, like Michael Wootton of Wainscott, were concerned the project was far more extensive than what they were privy to. The fear is that what BOEM is considering has doubled in size since it was first proposed, laying the groundwork for a larger plan. The plan submitted to BOEM suggests the project has grown to a 180-megawatt wind farm with two 230-kilovolt transmission cables coming to shore or to potentially an offshore substation.
Finally, the commission complained that ratepayers will bear the financial brunt of a project that won’t, under any scenario in Dominion’s long-term energy plan, be competitive with other resources for the next 25 years.
Gov. Charlie Baker wrote to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke on Thursday to ask him to consider eliminating the highest-priority fishing areas from future leases for offshore wind, particularly in the New York Bight, a heavily fished area south of Long Island.
The SCC concluded in a scathing 20-page order on Friday that the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project isn’t needed to serve Dominion customers and will cost more than any other option for generating electricity to serve the utility’s 2.6 million customers. The commission was especially direct in noting that the project’s developers won’t bear any of the risk for a project.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission issued this order approving Dominion's proposal to construct a 2-turbine, 12 megawatt wind energy facility 27-miles off the coast of Virginia. The project has a price tag of $300 million. The SCC made clear in its order that it had no choice but to approve the project given current state statutes. However, the approval, according to the SCC's order, was contrary to what it deemed prudent as that term has been applied by this Commission in its long history of public utility regulation. The SCC bowed to the legislative mandate by approving the project. A portion of the order is posted below. The full order can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Every time a drop of rain hits a wind turbine blade it contributes to a process that ends in small cracks being formed in the leading edge of the blade that eventually ruin the coating on the blade. The bigger the drop, the worse the damage, reports DR Nyheder.
In truth, it is hard to imagine a worse factual record, a worse example of wasting ratepayer money and imposing ratepayer risk. For $300 million or more the company will receive only 12 megawatts of power and with the assumed operational efficiency of the turbines that will work out to 78 cents per kilowatt hour. Then a hurricane may wreck it.