Articles filed under Energy Policy from Massachusetts
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.
A state plan to manage future renewable energy projects in coastal waters would put the kibosh on proposed large wind farms in Buzzards Bay but open up the possibility of as many as 10 turbines in the waters around Cape Cod and almost 170 turbines southwest of Martha's Vineyard. "We're the first state in the nation to conduct such a comprehensive ocean management plan," Ian Bowles, state secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said.
Dozens of wind turbines could sprout within sight of the Massachusetts shoreline under a first-of-its-kind state blueprint with the promise of generating both electricity and controversy. The draft plan, scheduled to be released today, would allow a series of small wind farms of up to 10 turbines each in coastal waters that stretch 3 miles from shore.
Whether you are for or against wind farms in Massachusetts you should be aware that the pending Wind Energy Siting Reform Act of 2009 is a threat to your freedom and constitutional rights. This Act is currently being fast-tracked through the state Legislature with virtually no on-the-record public debate at the insistence of Gov. Patrick, the wind energy industry and its financiers.
Reminding a state panel Shay's Rebellion was fought in the Berkshires, numerous area residents expressed their displeasure on Wednesday night with a bill working its way through the Legislature they say would put too much control over wind-turbine permitting in the hands of a "politically appointed" state board. "This is about giving away your freedom, this is about giving away your power," said self-proclaimed mountain man Rene Wendell.
NEWBURYPORT - As residents and city officials consider whether or not the city's wind turbine ordinance needs some changes to protect the interests of residents who live in nearby neighborhoods, Beacon Hill lawmakers have been quietly moving forward with proposed legislation to increase the state's control over permitting wind turbines throughout the commonwealth.
The Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC) has pushed for wind-power siting criteria to ensure that all projects meet high standards for environmental review, production efficiency, and long-term economic sustainability. The proposed Act calls for the creation of standards, but only requires that they be met to the "maximum practicable extent." To grant ad-hoc exemption from standards compromises the objective of siting facilities in appropriate locations.
Newburyport's wind turbine bugs some neighbors.Lifelong Newburyport resident Patty Spalding is trying to get the attention of the Massachusetts legislature as it considers an amendment to the Wind Energy Siting Reform Act. Currently in committee, Senate bill No. 1504 (House bill 3065), would among other things establish a full-time position to provide technical assistance to communities on the siting of wind energy facilities.
Last night's hearing was the first of two public meetings being held to take comments on a study that identified up to 947 megawatts of potential wind power on state land. The second session is scheduled for next week in the Berkshires.
Now that the Cape Cod Commission is appealing the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board's approval of the proposed wind farm on Nantucket Sound to the state's highest court, it's important to consider the stakes involved. This is not about the merits or demerits of the project. The appeal is about the ability of a state board, made up of nine gubernatorial appointees, to overrule a regional authority simply because the project developer submitted an application to the Cape Cod Commission.
As the state moves forward with proposed legislation for siting wind turbines, planning board officials in some hilltowns want a public hearing in western Massachusetts, where the mountains, open space and vast areas of state-owned land could be prime locations for commercial windmills. Last month, the Rowe, Heath and Hawley planning boards all sent letters to legislative co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications expressing concerns that the Wind Energy Siting Reform Act would 'significantly restrict Massachusetts communities' home rule authority.
Massachusetts is searching for every blustery nook and cranny it can find, from the tops of former dumps to a vast military reservation, as it whips up its push for wind energy production. Gov. Deval Patrick has already set a goal of generating 2,000 megawatts of wind power in Massachusetts by the year 2020 - an effort that may require the installation of as many as 3,000 wind turbines.
Gov. Deval Patrick's ambitious wind power plan for Massachusetts is pitting green vs. green. Patrick is pushing legislation that could bring some 1,200 forty-story wind turbines to mountaintops, scenic roadways and coastal vistas, but outraged critics say the pro-business initiative strips communities of a valued voice in where and how the onshore industrial turbines are built.
First, the state Energy Facilities Siting Board approved a bundle of permits for the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm, overruling local concerns raised by Cape towns and the Cape Cod Commission. Opponents of the industrial-sized project called the board's decision a dangerous precedent that could erode local authority. Now a proposed bill that would streamline the permitting process for land-based wind turbines may give the state veto power over local zoning regulations.
The Patrick administration's long-term goal to get hundreds of wind towers built in the state could become a whole lot easier if a fast-track permitting bill that the administration is pushing on Beacon Hill becomes law. The bill could essentially give the administration the power to override local authorities for projects slated for certain areas.
A proposed bill that aims to streamline the permitting process for land-based wind turbines has some Cape officials worried it will give the state veto power over local zoning regulations. The Green Communities Act Gov. Deval Patrick signed into law last year created a commission to analyze whether fossil fuel projects have an unfair advantage over renewable energy projects.
Even with clouds threatening overhead and a chilling breeze at his back, Gov. Deval Patrick felt heat last night as he addressed a crowd of about 300 on the Dennis Village Green. Undeterred by the winter-like temperatures, speakers pressed Patrick on the economy, health care, insurance rates and other issues in the town hall-style meeting. But no issue drew more interest during the 90-minute session than Cape Wind, with speakers in favor and against the proposed wind farm exchanging questions and passionate pleas.
Seeking to reverse the state's reputation as a difficult place to build wind farms, legislators are refining a plan to fast-track turbine developments through local and state boards. The proposed legislation, introduced in January by Rep. Brian Dempsey of Haverhill and Sen. Michael Morrissey of Quincy, would create local wind siting boards in areas with significant wind resources, enabling developers to go to a single board for all necessary permits.
The state's Energy Facilities Siting Board voted unanimously today to approve a bundle of permits for the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm, marking another milestone for the controversial project. ...The board voted 7-0 to approve the so-called "super permit," after three hours of deliberation at Boston's South Station Transportation Center, siting board spokesman Tim Shevlin said this afternoon.
Ian Bowles, secretary of the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, sent a letter to the commission last week reaffirming the state Office of Coastal Zone Management's approval of Cape Wind's plan to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound. The commission and the CZM have disagreed on the proposal.