Library filed under Energy Policy from Massachusetts
While some windmill projects are laudable - most notably Jiminy Peak's relatively small-scale operation in Hancock - the Berkshires do not need a plethora blighting our scenery and providing a negligible blip on the Grid. This state also is spending - or planning to spend - far too much money in subsidies for out-of-state and even out-of-country developers whose "energy credits" derived from windmill projects will not make even a small dent in this nation's reliance on oil and coal. Far too many of the proposed windmill projects in this region seem to be geared more toward pleasing the greenies and "let's pretend to make a difference crowd" than they are toward producing significant energy.
A massive bill by the House speaker to promote conservation and renewable energy is stirring up a whirlwind of opposition among consumer groups, environmentalists and utilities. While some critics say the 360-page proposal does not go far enough in creating incentives, others say it would undermine conservation and clean energy efforts already under way in Massachusetts. David Guarino, a spokesman for Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi, D-Boston, said yesterday that Mr. DiMasi expects "robust debate" over the legislation, and it remains his top priority.
Long a B-list issue on Beacon Hill, energy - both the state's response to rising prices and growing worries about global warming - is quickly elbowing its way to the top of the Statehouse to-do list. Just this week, state regulators gave their environmental blessing to a 130-turbine windmill farm in Nantucket Sound and on Monday, House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi makes a personal appeal to fellow lawmakers on behalf of his massive energy bill. Not to be outdone, Gov. Deval Patrick - who highlighted a call for alternative energy production in his campaign - has ramped up his rhetoric as he crafts his own energy bill. At stake, according to lawmakers, advocates and industry representatives, is not only the state's energy independence but its economic future.
FAIRHAVEN - The members of WindWise Fairhaven say they're not against wind power - they just don't want a windmill near their bike path. Members of the citizen's group and a selectman candidate voiced concerns about wind turbines to about 20 citizens at a meeting in the Fire Station last night. "I, too, am worried about global warming. I saw Al Gore's movie. But we need to look into this more. I have a lot of concerns," said selectman candidate Ann Ponichtera DeNardis. The group is concerned about the impact that two industrial turbines would have on the Little Bay Area.
Massachusetts House leaders today are to unveil plans for steering the state away from reliance on fossil fuels and toward embracing renewable energy and alternative fuels. House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi will file legislation offering financial incentives to cities and towns to rapidly approve permits for the building of so-called "clean" energy generation facilities. It also establishes various programs to make it financially palatable for homeowners to invest in expensive energy efficient products. Haverhill Democrat Rep. Brian S. Dempsey, the chairman of the House Telecommunications and Energy Committee, helped draft the sweeping proposal, called "The Green Communities Act of 2007." He said it represents a dramatic change in the state's energy policy.
I was shocked at your editorial of March 5 titled "Let wind project breathe free." Your statement that the Hoosac Wind Project "will provide enough power to the grid to serve roughly 9,000 homes" is utterly ridiculous since it implies that the beneficiaries will be residential users. Somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of our electricity use is encumbered by business and industry. Furthermore, whatever electricity provided by the project does not go directly to residential users anyway. Wind power has never caused a fossil fuel or nuclear power plant to be shut down. Wind power is so unpredictable (and generation is much less in summer months when demand is high) that all those nasty polluting plants still have to continue to operate. You also write about with the "perils of global warming and of dependence on Middle Eastern countries for oil, wind energy is moving to the foreground" Windmills produce electricity, not effectively or efficiently, but that is all they produce. Less than 3 percent of U.S. electricity is produced by oil-fired plants. So given the paltry amount of unreliable electricity produced by wind farms, would we reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil? Of course not.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick reaffirmed his support for what he called the “complicated” Cape Wind energy project yesterday, saying he wants to create jobs in the Bay State by encouraging growth of the clean-energy industry.
Massachusetts power plant owners will have to pay a penalty for every pound of emissions that contribute to global warming under an agreement signed by Governor Deval Patrick yesterday that is expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for an ambitious energy conservation and renewable energy program. Patrick agreed to rejoin the seven-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which aims to gradually reduce the production of greenhouse gases in the Northeast. Reversing his predecessor Mitt Romney, who pulled out of the pact over concerns that the emissions fee would drive up the already-high price of electricity, Patrick predicted that electricity costs would ultimately drop because the penalties would generate up to $125 million a year to spend on conservation.
Deep-water wind farms will top the agenda when U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, D-Mass., leads a congressional delegation to Germany this spring. The trip will involve discussions of a variety of energy issues, said Delahunt, chairman of the bipartisan study group that includes current and former members of Congress. But of particular interest to Delahunt, who represents Cape Cod and the Islands, are German renewable energy companies - including one involved in building a test deep-water wind farm off the German coast in the North Sea. Some of the companies in this project ‘’are beginning to talk about a need for American subsidiaries,'’ Delahunt said. ‘’What better place than Massachusetts for this kind of foreign investment? Wind is to the Northeast, what oil is to Saudi Arabia,'’ he said.
“The governor’s goal is to unify the energy and environmental objectives,” Mr. Bowles said, acknowledging that energy development has traditionally been viewed as inherently threatening to the environment. Massachusetts, he said, may be in a unique position to develop an alternative energy industry because of the availability of venture capital, the brain trust of the state’s engineering and technical universities, and a talented work force. Mr. Patrick, who has said he believes clean energy advancements could make the world the state’s customer, has in Mr. Bowles someone who has bought into that concept. “Clean energy can be a real economic development opportunity for our state,” he said, and part of his job will be encouraging wind farms, solar companies, fuel cell technology and advanced energy conservation programs.
A string of legislation being introduced in the new legislature could impact Cape-wide efforts to protect the environment and promote the development and use of clean energy. The bills mirror a stated commitment by Gov. Deval Patrick to place the environment and energy as a top priority for the new administration.
In a letter to Governor-elect Deval Patrick, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound has outlined a five-point energy plan for the state. The first of those five points is the selection of an alternative site for Cape Wind Associates’ proposal to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound.
Gov.-elect Deval Patrick yesterday appointed cabinet chiefs on the environment and economy who now face the the tall order of keeping his campaign promises to make housing more affordable and realign state policy toward wind power and other sources of renewable energy. But political opponents wasted no time yesterday pouncing on the choice of Mass Inc. president Ian Bowles for secretary of energy and environmental affairs, labeling him an insider who will seek to satisfy the state’s environmental lobby.
The state is looking to spend tens of millions of dollars to build giant wind turbines on the grounds of prisons, mental hospitals, community colleges and other public agencies as a way to save money and promote clean energy. Officials have already made site visits to determine the feasibility of turbines generating electricity at state facilities that consume a lot of energy, said John Chapman, assistant secretary of economic development within the Romney administration.
Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi will propose today the overhauling of key pieces of the state’s energy policy to reduce electricity demand and push communities to develop more energy-efficient and green projects, such as wind turbines.
Gov.-elect Deval Patrick said Wednesday he wants to put greater emphasis on the state’s future energy needs and will create a new cabinet level energy secretary after he takes office in January. Patrick’s comments come as House Speaker Sal DiMasi, D-Boston, unveiled his own energy plans for the new legislative year. DiMasi’s plan includes setting a five-year energy reduction goal, creating a “green communities program” to encourage energy efficiency and giving $1,500 credits for taxpayers who buy hybrid or alternative fuel cars.
It was one of Deval L. Patrick’s more memorable claims during his campaign: If the state could develop new industries based around advances in alternative energy, “the whole world would be our customer.” Now as he structures a new administration and its agenda before taking office next month, the governor-elect is facing the task of translating his big idea into green kilowatts and jobs, turning energy crises into economic opportunity.
Audra Parker, director of strategic planning of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, said the controversy surrounding Cape Wind "shows that public involvement in siting is essential." In the absence of that, Parker said, sites are chosen by developers motivated solely by profit. Parker said the Alliance suggests four recommendations to Patrick -- take a closer look at alternative sites for Cape Wind, establish publicly-owned renewable energy projects, designate certain areas off-limits to offshore wind turbines and aggressively pursue deep-water projects.
Although the approach is too late for projects that have already begun a federal review process, a dozen New England congressmen and senators have asked for help from the Department of Energy in coordinating a regional approach to siting liquefied natural gas facilities. Reps. Tom Allen and Mike Michaud have both signed on to this request, which makes sense for future energy projects.
Gov.-elect Deval Patrick’s working group on Energy and the Environment heard an eclectic mix of concerns at Northeastern University last night, from support for Cape Wind to calls for more money for state environmental programs. The ideas on energy policy ranged from the profound - vastly curbing greenhouse gases - to the offbeat: a Cambridge bicyclist proudly displayed the solar-powered lamp he designed for his backpack.