Articles filed under Energy Policy from Massachusetts
In the scramble to harness ocean wind power, floating turbine technology may be the holy grail. Turbines that can be floated into position and anchored in deeper water are the solution to much of the politics that confronts shallow-water projects, according to proponents of the concept. A pair of announcements this month seems to herald the next step into deeper water.
Well over 100 people attended the public hearing called to receive feedback on the Oceans Management Plan, billed by the state government as a first-in-the-nation attempt to manage all development in Massachusetts waters. But just one issue dominated proceedings: wind generation. ...Overwhelmingly, the dozens who rose to speak were opposed to the plan, either outright or in part - although most also asserted their support in principle for alternative power generation.
Last week, the New England Governors' Conference raised green fantasy to new heights with the release of its Renewable Energy Blueprint, which said the region "has a significant quantity of untapped renewable resources, on the order of over 10,000 MW combined of on-shore and off-shore wind power potential." Neither the report nor the news articles about it bothered to do the math. At 7 MW, New England would need 1,429 E-126s to tap that potential. Though the turbines likely would be clustered in "farms," that's an average of 238 per state, or more than one for each town in Connecticut. The cost would be $221 billion that the states don't have, though they might get a bulk-purchase discount of a billion or two.
A company that wants to build a floating wind farm 23 miles off the coast of Martha's Vineyard has applied to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a permit to install a demonstration platform at the project's proposed site. The application by Blue H USA proposes a semi-submerged deepwater platform held underwater by chains attached to a counterweight on the ocean floor.
Wind energy development in and near Buzzards Bay drew the most public comment during a hearing Tuesday night on the state's draft Ocean Management Plan. Public officials, environmental advocates and local residents shared concern for protecting the ecologically sensitive bay, but disagreed on how much wind development they would support.
Associated Industries of Massachusetts has launched an all-out attack on the Patrick administration's aggressive renewable energy programs, saying they'll cost electric ratepayers billions of dollars and represent a stealth tax on residents and companies. In a letter filed with the state's Department of Energy Resources, AIM objected to the administration's move to impose specific guidelines on how much solar power that ratepayers should eventually buy to help reduce carbon pollution.
A growing group of elected officials this week raced to stay ahead of a state plan that could allow large-scale commercial wind farms to built within three miles of the Vineyard's southern shore, with little or no oversight from Island regulatory agencies, including the Martha's Vineyard Commission. ...Chairman Leonard Jason Jr. said the county and the six Island towns should join forces to create a unified front in response to the state wind initiatives.
The waters around the Cape and Islands are awash with ideas for harnessing renewable energy. From a tidal project in Muskeget Channel east of Chappaquiddick Island to ocean-based wind turbines, it is difficult to escape hope-infused plans for a green, energy-filled future. But over the next month, the action comes onshore during a series of public hearings and conferences on how to mold those dreams into reality.
Draft legislation backed by Gov. Deval Patrick has again placed the Vineyard front and center in the statewide push to build large-scale wind farms on land and at sea, sparking some concern here that the rush to adopt clean energy technologies could come at the expense of fishing grounds, scenic views and the Island's unique powers to regulate development through the Martha's Vineyard Commission.
In my 26 years of practicing environmental law I have come to the conclusion that letting the industrial energy complex ravage our public lands for biomass burners and industrial scale wind turbines is one of the big threats our planet has ever faced.
Dubbed "biomass energy," the push to help wean the state off coal-burning plants by incinerating trees and wood has the backing of state officials and many environmentalists. The Patrick administration already has invested $1 million to help jump start the development of four wood-burning plants in the western Massachusetts ...But a coalition of neighborhood groups and other environmental advocates is pushing back.
State officials have scheduled the last of five public hearings on a draft ocean management plan released last month. ...The final version of the plan, which is being developed under the state Oceans Act of 2008, is set to go into effect Jan. 1.
With plans moving forward in New Jersey and Delaware - not to mention recent progress in Cape Wind's years-long fight in Massachusetts - it's far from certain that Deepwater and Rhode Island will succeed in their quest to be first. And make no mistake, being first is important. For the developer, it means more than just bragging rights. It gives the company a leg up on its competitors as it tries to develop additional wind farms elsewhere. For the state, it means much-needed economic development and valuable green-collar jobs.
With a great deal more hope than expectation, Tisbury selectmen decided on Tuesday evening to make application for a share of $10 million in state grant money to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives. The trouble is, the money comes with conditions attached - conditions Tisbury and other Island towns cannot possibly meet.
The topics stretched from the economy to wind turbines. Introductions were made between government officials and environmentalists. ...Patrick asked for a show of hands on who supported the local proposal, called Hoosac Wind. About one-third of the crowd supported it, one-third opposed it, and one-third had never heard of it. Mount Washington resident Bobbi Hallig told the governor: "There's plenty of things to do rather than put turbines across the landscape."
The focus is on renewables, the energy sources that we imagine will displace carbon-based sources in the future as, to make it so, we constrain and tax abundant oil, natural gas, and coal supplies into undeserved oblivion. Good luck to us, I suppose. But, bearing in mind the allure of the renewables, one despairs of what is non-renewable about the near shore waters we have till now enjoyed and exploited so enthusiastically.
I have spent years and resources protecting open lands and have served on The Nature Conservancy's Boston board, The Berkshire Natural Resources Council board (still there), Project Native (also still there) and am active on the Green Berkshires board which is the principal advocate for information and facts pertaining to wind . It is a betrayal of our many years of conservation work for preservation of our forest lands to litter our hilltops with turbines for the minuscule difference they can possibly make.
Wisdom is learning from the mistakes of others but our myopic political leaders are clearly not interested in facts. As I wrote in a previous letter, wind turbines are grossly inefficient and not a viable solution to our energy woes. The monstrosity in Newburyport is but one glaring example of this kind of stupidity.
The governor has declared a goal of 2,000 megawatts (MW) of wind power in Massachusetts by the year 2020, and his staff has commissioned a study showing that over half could be located in the Berkshires. ...It's hard to imagine so many 40-story structures on our mountains, but the state has already mapped them, identifying more than 50 places with enough acreage and estimated wind resources to support from five to 53 industrial wind turbines.
nder the newly released ocean management plan for the state's coastal waters, Greater Newburyport's coastline could one day be home to 10 wind turbines. Massachusetts officials yesterday released a draft of the plan that spells out rules for setting up wind farms in state waters.