Articles filed under Energy Policy from Massachusetts
Ian Bowles, Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said Tuesday that the state is prepared to listen to the concerns Islanders have about provisions of the Oceans Act. He said that while Islanders have focused on the designation of areas west of the Vineyard for wind farm development, the state is actively exploring the potential for wind farm development in federal waters well south of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.
Officials from the state Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs are likely to catch an earful from Martha's Vineyard residents tonight over the proposed Massachusetts Oceans Management Plan. The public hearing begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School cafeteria. The draft plan severely limits the island's regulatory control over the development of renewable energy projects within three miles of shore. ...Madden said the chief architect of the oceans plan is Ian Bowles. "Ian Bowles is very pro-wind and he wants to see these things get done, and done quickly," Madden told the Gazette.
The Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC) last Thursday voted 12 to 1 to accept a nomination to create an Island wind district of critical planning concern (DCPC) that would cover the airspace above 220 feet over the waters of Dukes County. The purpose of the DCPC is to provide a framework to regulate large-scale wind turbine development, according to the MVC. ...Acceptance of a nomination immediately triggers a moratorium on development permits.
The city announced yesterday it is one of 103 Massachusetts cities and towns to receive a planning assistance grant from the Green Communities Program from state Department of Energy Resources. The grant will help communities like Newburyport take the necessary steps to becoming official Green Communities by providing free technical assistance to reach a set of pre-written standards.
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.
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.
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.
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.