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Change in the wind

PROVIDENCE -- Governor Carcieri yesterday announced an ambitious plan to supply 15 percent of the state's total electricity demand with wind power, and he named his choice to fill the new position of energy adviser.

Carcieri said the state will finance a study to determine the feasibility of generating as much as 150 megawatts of electricity with wind turbines, enough to power about 150,000 homes.

Wind turbines could be clustered in a single location, on or offshore, he said, or they could be scattered in different parts of the state.

"I think this is something we can achieve, and I'm going to pursue this aggressively," Carcieri said at a news conference.

The governor unveiled the initiative as part of a five-part plan to address rising energy costs.

Carcieri also created a new post in his administration -- chief energy adviser -- and appointed Andrew C. Dzykewicz (pronounced dis-KEV-itch) to fill it.

Dzykewicz, 59, of Warwick, has been senior project manager at the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation since 1997.

Besides the wind-power initiative, Carcieri said his energy agenda would focus on:

Adding to the natural-gas supply available to Rhode Island by supporting the siting of liquefied natural gas terminals elsewhere in the Northeast, such as Eastern Canada where population density is low;
Reforming the way wholesale electricity prices are set in New England to reduce the impact... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
Carcieri said the state will finance a study to determine the feasibility of generating as much as 150 megawatts of electricity with wind turbines, enough to power about 150,000 homes.

Wind turbines could be clustered in a single location, on or offshore, he said, or they could be scattered in different parts of the state.

"I think this is something we can achieve, and I'm going to pursue this aggressively," Carcieri said at a news conference.

The governor unveiled the initiative as part of a five-part plan to address rising energy costs.

Carcieri also created a new post in his administration -- chief energy adviser -- and appointed Andrew C. Dzykewicz (pronounced dis-KEV-itch) to fill it.

Dzykewicz, 59, of Warwick, has been senior project manager at the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation since 1997.

Besides the wind-power initiative, Carcieri said his energy agenda would focus on:

Adding to the natural-gas supply available to Rhode Island by supporting the siting of liquefied natural gas terminals elsewhere in the Northeast, such as Eastern Canada where population density is low;
Reforming the way wholesale electricity prices are set in New England to reduce the impact of the volatile natural-gas market on electricity costs;

Establishing a fund to help low-income seniors and disabled people pay heating costs with the additional $4 million in tax revenue the state expects to receive because of the recent hikes in natural-gas and electricity rates;

Promoting energy conservation within state government by educating employees and by hiring a professional energy-management firm to suggest a plan to cut the government's costs.

"All told, these reforms will decrease energy prices for Rhode Island families and employers alike," Carcieri said in a statement.
But it won't happen overnight, he said.

THE WIND-POWER initiative, which is called RIWINDS, would be on the same scale as the Cape Wind offshore wind farm proposed for Nantucket Sound, Dzykewicz said in an interview.

But the wind turbines in Rhode Island could be scattered in different parts of the state, he said.

"It's not necessarily one concentration of wind generators in one specific location," Dzykewicz said. "Maybe the town of Portsmouth might be interested in having them in Portsmouth. . . . It could be onshore as well as offshore. We need to know where the best sites are."

The feasibility study will determine whether generating 15 percent of Rhode Island's energy demand with wind power would even be possible, he said. It will also identify specific sites where the turbines could be erected, he said.

He expects the study to cost $100,000 to $150,000, and it will probably be paid for by the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund, which gets its money from a small surcharge on the bills of electricity customers.

RIWINDS may be the biggest challenge for Carcieri, given the difficulties encountered by Cape Wind Associates, the company behind the Nantucket proposal.

That proposed 420-megawatt wind farm, 5 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, has drawn opposition from political heavyweights, including U.S.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and Massachusetts Governor Romney.

Opponents argue that the wind farm would disturb seascape views and could hurt tourism. Cape Wind Associates has been seeking permits since 2001.

Carcieri said yesterday he would work to make sure the RIWINDS project would be less controversial by siting the turbines in places that won't draw objections.

If the plan goes forward, Dzykewicz said it could take three to five years to receive permits and build the facilities.

Not yet clear is what role the state would play beyond commissioning the feasibility study, he said. One option among many is for the state to go through the permitting process and then auction off the permits to a private developer. Another possibility is to establish a collaborative of electricity customers that would essentially pay for the project.

"We want to be very creative with this," Dzykewicz said, "and do whatever is going to work best for Rhode Island ratepayers."

Source: http://www.projo.com/busine...

JAN 13 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/984-change-in-the-wind
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