Articles from Massachusetts
In a groundbreaking decision that some say will usher in a new era of clean energy, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said today he was approving the nation's first offshore wind farm, the controversial Cape Wind project off of Cape Cod. "This will be the first of many projects up and down the Atlantic coast," Salazar said at a joint State House news conference with Governor Deval Patrick. The decision comes after nine years of battles over the proposal.
Cape Wind, 130 wind-powered turbines to be placed in the shallow waters of Nantucket Sound, will have to be reconfigured to "reduce the visual impact" from land in order to go forward, Salazar said in a statement today. When completed the wind farm may generate enough power for more than 200,000 average U.S. homes, the Interior Department said. Homeowners whose ocean views would be affected and local environmentalists spent $20 million over nine years to block the project.
Lawsuits will be filed on behalf of a coalition of environmental groups - including the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, Three Bays Preservation, Animal Welfare Institute, Industrial Wind Action Group, Californians for Renewable Energy, Oceans Public Trust Initiative (a project of the International Marine Mammal Project of the Earth Land Institute), Lower Laguna Madre Foundation - against the federal Fish and Wildlife Service and Minerals Management Service for violations of the Endangered Species Act. ..."It is a shame that the Obama Administration chose political expediency over developing a project in an environmentally responsible place that can actually be built," said Parker.
Massachusetts renewable-energy firms, including the developer of the planned wind farm off of Cape Cod, could lose a key competitive edge if a lawsuit filed by a Canadian company prevails. TransCanada Power, an energy supplier that also owns a Maine wind farm, is challenging a state law that requires utilities to buy their future renewable energy from Massachusetts-based firms.
The nine-year regulatory battle over the nation's first proposed offshore wind farm is expected to end this week, when US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar plans to issue a final federal decision on whether to permit 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound. But some opponents of the wind farm are making it clear that if Salazar approves the project, they will go to court to try to overturn his ruling.
"Cape Wind's oversized costs do not represent a reasonable return on the public's investment," wrote Joseph P. Kennedy II, the former congressman and president of the Citizens Energy Corporation, a Boston nonprofit group, in a letter to The Cape Cod Times in February. Mr. Kennedy's family owns property that looks out on the proposed wind farm site.
Power companies in New England are beginning work on a nearly half-billion-dollar plan to upgrade the region’s electric grid to make way for appliances that can shut down to reduce electric bills, improve energy conservation, and connect to wind and solar energy. The first step is replacing decades-old meters with so-called smart meters that detail the use of computers, appliances, TVs, lights, and other household equipment.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's decision on Cape Wind is expected any day, and he continues to be bombarded by high-ranking government officials on both sides of the debate over the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm. ...Salazar has said he will decide whether to approve Cape Wind by the end of this month.
Cape Wind must be in trouble, because top politicians are making a full-court press for the project. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and the governors from five other Eastern Seaboard states want U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar to disregard the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's call to reject the offshore wind farm proposed for Nantucket Sound.
A one-year moratorium on wind turbine applications and an array of housing initiatives top the list of business for a double-header special and annual town meeting in Chilmark next week. ...the wind turbine moratorium is aimed at allowing time for the town planning board to fine-tune rules on the subject of who is notified when a public hearing is held on a wind turbine application.
It's the hope of the energy committee, which met Tuesday for the first time since the selectmen voted to kill the project they've been working on for six years, that Town Meeting will have a straw vote on the project - a project voters overwhelming approved last year.
On par with the ongoing debate between supporters and opponents of the proposed wind turbines in North Harwich, an informational meeting at the community center Saturday was interrupted just as the event began. Turbine opponent Sheila Bowen stepped up to a microphone. "I would like to put it on the record that we asked to make a presentation and that was denied," she said, explaining that the event should have allowed opposing views.
A boisterous crowd of residents came to the community center on Saturday charging town officials are trying to use "a shoehorn" to place two commercial wind turbines on public lands surrounding their neighborhoods in North Harwich. Many of the nearly 200 people attending a wind turbine information forum sponsored by town officials raised objections to the proposal.
At the time it seemed clearly the right thing for a progressive little town to do in these times of concern over climate change, especially if it makes the town a bunch of money. ...So what's changed? A persistent group of opponents, mostly nonresidents, seem to have been successful in reminding us that some land is better used when not used at all in the practical sense. That sometimes aesthetic and recreational value trumps even a virtuous, green use
With a tight-lipped President Obama facing both a political dilemma and a critical deadline, the nation's offshore wind energy industry is about to find out which way the breezes are blowing. After nine years in the government regulatory mill, backers of the Cape Wind project off the shores of Massachusetts' Cape Cod will learn by April 30 whether Mr. Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will let them proceed, with potentially far-reaching consequences for the industry if the project is quashed.
To say there is gold in the winds of northern Central Massachusetts may be an overstatement, but the Montachusett Regional Planning Commission wants to find out how much is blowing out there, and if it could at least translate into a greener future for the region.
The first effort to install a small wind turbine on a residential home here was rejected by the historic district commission last week. The commission was deeply split over the decision, with two voting in favor, one against and two abstaining. Since a majority of the board did not approve the project, it was denied.
The Wampanoag tribe on Martha's Vineyard is preparing a court challenge for what its leaders expect will be an approval by the federal government of the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm. Representatives of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) said this week that they had requested another meeting with Interior Department officials after the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation recommended that the project be rejected.
The Obama administration decides this month after a nine-year review whether the nation's first wind farm should be built off Cape Cod. If it says no, the industry faces another question with no easy answer: "What's next?" Not one of the country's half-dozen or so offshore wind proposals has entered the arduous review the Cape Wind project is just finishing. Cape Wind's developers say the earliest they could begin harnessing the breezes of Nantucket Sound is 2012.
Because of a lack of regulations, Marshfield Town Planner Paul Halkiotis said wind turbines are not an allowed use in town. Therefore, the planning board and energy committee are bringing turbine-related articles to Town Meeting April 26. Halkiotis said regulating large commercial wind energy facilities - including small-scale ground mounted and building mounted wind turbines - would open the door for renewable energy sources in Marshfield.