Articles from Connecticut
Transportation Climate Initiative proponents rallied outside the state Capitol Friday to encourage lawmakers to pass legislation that would create a carbon cap on transportation emissions. It will likely increase gas taxes - and that’s a point of contention.
But now that many of the species have rebounded and government regulators are increasing the amounts of fish they can land, the fishermen face a new threat: offshore wind power projects. Fishermen such as Joe Gilbert, who owns four scallop and fishing boats based at the Town Dock, say their concerns are being ignored by federal officials who are in the process of leasing massive tracts of ocean bottom off the Northeast coast to wind power companies. Some of those tracts of bottom also happen to be areas where fishing boats land their catches and transit.
The project to accommodate the offshore wind farm of two rich utilities, one foreign, started at $93 million, zoomed up to $157 million this time last year and is now more than $200 million and rising, the governor suggested, in what was almost an aside in the conversation. The state has agreed to cover all the cost overruns, which seem to be exploding, even before bids have been opened.
As Gov. Ned Lamont toured Waterford’s Millstone Power Station in April 2019, after resolving an impasse over the nuclear plant’s electricity rates, Rob Kaye was flipping the switch on a new solar array on the roof of his Nod Hill Brewery in Ridgefield.
The business groups argue that halting the surcharges would provide some rate relief to both commercial and residential customers at a time when many are having financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown. “We’re not looking to decimate these programs, but we are saying, ‘We’ve got to take a breather,’” said Doug Gablinske, executive director of the Energy Council of Rhode Island, which represents large energy users.
The rural opposition has been so strong that earlier this year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo added a provision, known as Article 23, to the state budget that effectively strips local communities of their ability to stop big renewable-energy projects from being built in their jurisdictions. ...New Englanders like the idea of wind energy they just don’t want any wind turbines in New England. So they are putting them in New York.
The new tower would be much closer to the Golds’ home than the existing two. BNE’s measurements showed the third turbine 1,027 feet from the family’s house, 321 feet from one of their property lines and 523 feet from another of their land’s borders. Julia Gold notes that both distances from the property lines are far below the minimum setback the 2014 wind regulations would require in the case of a new application. ...The third turbine "will be looming over us,” Julia Gold said. “It will take away our right to use our land.”
Those types of disputes are “what we’re trying to avoid happening now,” said Annie Hawkins, executive director of the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, or RODA. The coalition of fishing stakeholders aims to get the industry on the same page as researchers and wind developers across the region. “We’re trying to make sure fishermen are much more involved in the process from day one,” Hawkins said. She’d like to see more work across state lines to coordinate policy and research.
Third turbine, bigger and more powerful, planned for new parcel of land
“Connecticut is plagued with some of the highest energy costs in the nation, and families and businesses simply cannot afford these bloated contracts,” Tong said in a statement released Thursday. “Restoring competition to this broken system could save ratepayers millions of dollars while also opening doors to improved energy efficiency and use of renewable technologies. ISO-NE has evaded the competitive bidding process, and this practice needs to end.”
The Spanish utility’s Avangrid Inc. won an auction to develop the 804-megawatt wind farm in a joint venture with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. They plan to use a turbine of at least 14 megawatts, larger than anything now available, said Jonathan Cole, Iberdrola’s head of offshore wind.
Seven U.S. senators from New England on Monday urged ISO-NE to “return to the table with stakeholders” and more closely align its fuel security initiative with state policies seeking to speed the transition to renewable energy resources.
Stonington — Local fishermen say they've been waiting for months for Ørsted to respond to a host of concerns they've presented about a proposed 75-turbine wind farm about a dozen miles southwest of Martha's Vineyard.
Vineyard Wind on Friday unveiled details of its offshore wind proposal centered on Bridgeport, an initiative that would create "thousands of jobs" and "help make offshore wind a statewide industry," the company said in an announcement.
The state and its offshore-wind-loving neighbors all face a year-end expiration of a federal tax credit that helps finance these projects – the first major attempts in the U.S. But in Connecticut some problems – including at least one self-inflicted one – could mean forgoing that money.
There are concerns about the impact offshore wind will have on the migratory pattern of birds and other wildlife like the Atlantic right whale. The members of the commission, which is comprised of scientists, environmental organizations, and DEEP staffers, will be tasked with facilitating public participation in the process and gathering information about best practices.
With little debate, the Senate unanimously approved legislation, already passed in the House, that requires 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind – that’s roughly the same size as Millstone – by 2030, about the time the nuclear plant’s recently approved new contract runs out. But the 2,000 level is a maximum, not a minimum – which is how other states structure their mandates.
Wind Colebrook operators say voltage fluctuations along Eversource's nearby distribution line have been causing the turbines to turn off suddenly. In addition, they say a safety system designed by Eversource for the site has also been malfunctioning, causing similar shutoffs. In both instances, the turbines' massive rotating blades come to a hard stop, which has damaged their mechanical parts and driven up maintenance and repair costs.
The disagreement over Vineyard Wind’s waiver concerns a technicality in New England’s power markets. The company requested an exemption that would have allowed it to bypass a minimum offer price on subsidized energy resources that participate in the grid operator’s annual markets for reserve power. FERC agreed to a fix proposed by ISO New England that would allow Vineyard Wind to qualify for the exemption in the coming years.
On Dec. 28, then-Gov. Dannel Malloy and former Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Robert Klee announced 100 megawatts from Revolution Wind as the sole offshore wind project. Two nuclear plants and nine solar projects were among the other successful bids.