Articles filed under Energy Policy from Massachusetts
An anticipated deal between utility National Grid and the controversial wind farm proposed for Nantucket Sound could add from 47 cents to $1.33 to the average customer's monthly electricity bill, state officials said. Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Secretary Ian Bowles said National Grid must agree to pay somewhere between 17 cents and 21 cents per kilowatt hour for the power it buys from Cape Wind to be competitive. At that price, the 130-turbine project, which received federal approval last week, would not only rival conventional energy, it could at times in the future be cheaper.
National Grid Plc, an owner of utilities in the U.S. and U.K., will seek regulatory approval to sign a contract to buy half of the power output from the Cape Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts. Under the 15-year contract, National Grid will pay 20.7 cents a kilowatt-hour for the wind power output starting in 2013, and the price will increase 3.5 percent each year, the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company said today in a statement.
There was elation and dejection on the Cape yesterday over Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar's approval of the Cape Wind project. But there was also some consensus - a rare thing for this controversial proposal - that the road to federal approval was long and hard. That was especially true among people who have been part of the debate from the beginning.
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.
"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.
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.
What hasn't received national attention is the stunning taxpayer subsidized profits the developer is expecting to reap from the project. A study by the Massachusetts based Beacon Hill Institute found that the proposed $1 billion dollars in subsidies from the project would contribute to a nearly 25% return on equity by investors - more than twice the average historical for return for all corporations. Add taxpayers to that list of groups opposed to the project.
ACHP states, "The historic properties affected by the Project are significant, extensive, and closely interrelated. The Project will adversely affect 34 historic properties including 16 historic districts and 12 individually 2 significant historic properties on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket Island, and six properties of religious and cultural significance to tribes, including Nantucket Sound itself.
Wind Energy Ordinance has opened up for 22 of these to be built inside the city limits. This means that not just one neighborhood will be affected, but neighborhoods from Quail Run to homes near Low Street could be impacted. Apparently, the city is poised to repeat the same mistake it did with the landfill. And with the adoption of the conditions of the GCA, it will be nearly powerless to protect the citizens from the negative effects of these huge towers.
Legislation adopted last week by the state Senate that streamlines the permitting process for large-scale wind turbine projects includes language proposed by Sen. Robert L. Hedlund that preserves local control over wetlands and other environmentally sensitive areas. ...Hedlund also included language requiring that siting standards developed by the state Energy Facilities Siting Board are crafted to reflect the unique characteristics of the different regions of the Commonwealth.
Cape Wind's staking a claim on Nantucket Sound seems to belong to the oil wildcatters' era ("There Will Be Wind?"), not the modern age of cooperative development that calls forth a nation's resources not just from its corporations but also its government and research institutions. This is not to say Cape Wind failed to do its homework. It identified and exploited a loophole in the Sound's protection from industrialization, and its scientists made their case that they could produce energy at that site without significant environmental damage.
Senate lawmakers have approved a bill designed to streamline the siting and permitting of land-based wind energy projects in Massachusetts. Senate President Therese Murray said the bill will help untangle current rules and boost the state's reliance on renewable energy sources.
The secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, who is weighing the fate of a controversial wind farm proposed off Cape Cod, said Tuesday that killing the pioneering project wouldn't hurt the country's developing offshore wind industry. Secretary Ken Salazar toured the Nantucket Sound site of the proposed Cape Wind project, which would be the nation's first offshore wind farm. He's pledged to decide by April.
Today, we are confronted by the crisis of climate change. Descriptions are so fearful, confusing, and occasionally contradictory that it's hard to know what to think. We each try to do what we can to reduce our personal impact on the earth, and ponder how to preserve the planet from a catastrophic fate that could be imminent and irreversible. For many people, renewable energy has become the panacea: producing power from wind, trees, grasses, and the sun.
The map, prepared by the Minerals Management Service comprises 448 blocks totaling 3,895 square nautical miles, for which wind power developers could bid. The boundaries of the area - which encroach about eight or nine miles from shore at their closest and extend out 22 to 50 miles - closely follow the contours of the underwater geography, between 30 and 60 meters (about 100 and 200 feet).
A large group of Island planning and conservation officials gathered last week to debate what is expected to be a central dilemma in the months and years to come: how to allow and regulate large-scale wind turbines on the Vineyard while still protecting the Island's unique culture, environment and economy.
While the Cape Wind-Nantucket Sound drama between US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the Wampanoag Indians drew the wind-energy spotlight last week, a quieter play opened on Beacon Hill, where the Senate Ways and Means committee reported out its version of the Patrick administration's Wind Siting Reform Act. ...Rather than a comprehensive set of siting standards for onshore wind farms, the bill assaults the integrity of the Commonwealth's environmental regulations and conservation legacy.
As Cape Wind gets closer and closer to receiving permit approval and securing a power contract, I think Massachusetts residents deserve an open and honest accounting about the true impact this project ...At a time when American taxpayers just bailed out Wall Street and now one in 10 people are without a job, we must make sure that our policy decisions to make this energy transition minimize the financial burden we place on those who can least afford it.
More than 200 wind turbines could eventually spin in Massachusetts coastal waters, according to a final state ocean blueprint released yesterday that attempts to strike a balance among the growing number of competing and controversial uses of the sea. The plan, the first of its kind in the nation, allows groups of coastal communities to develop seven to 24 turbines in their coastal waters, which stretch 3 miles from shore.
Although the Ocean Management Plan retains many components from a draft released in July, other aspects of the two-volume, five-year blueprint were changed after concerns over the plan's potential effects on Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod. The plan covers waters from about 1,500 feet offshore out to three miles.