Articles from Massachusetts
With coal and nuclear fleets shrinking, large-scale Canadian hydropower is needed to avoid an overreliance on natural gas and meet aggressive carbon reduction goals, several speakers said. Wind and solar can’t develop at scale fast enough to replace thousands of megawatts of legacy generation, they said.
Wind turbine projects have previously been rejected in Wellfleet, Eastham, Orleans, Harwich, Dennis, Brewster, Barnstable and Bourne. Health concerns have been a major issue. A Superior Court judge, hearing neighbor’ complaints that wind turbine noise constituted an intolerable “nuisance” that was causing “irreparable harm,” issued an injunction to curtail operations. The “Falmouth experience” is not unique.
Following a decision-making flow chart prepared by Falmouth special counsel Mark Bobrowski, board members weighed the existing turbine’s consistency with the 2010 town bylaw that was in place when Wind 1 was erected. ...board chairman Kimberly A. Bielan argued that neighbors testified in the hearing that curtailment would not lessen the impact of the turbine on their daily lives.
The special-permit application is just one legal issue surrounding the turbines. Nine lawsuits are now pending in Barnstable Superior Court about their operation, said Westboro attorney Christopher Senie, who represents some of the neighbors. The special-permit denial may help quell some of those suits as well as deal with the continuing operation of Wind 2, he said.
The majority of board members found fault with the application on more than one front, including the zoning requirement that the turbine known as Wind 1 will not have "adverse effects" on either the neighborhood or the town. Throughout the permit hearing, which stretched over a half dozen meetings and several months, neighbors of the turbine presented evidence on multiple fronts, including personal testimony, in an attempt to show the negative effects of the turbine.
A group of Bourne residents has brought a lawsuit against town officials and Future Generation Wind LLC relative to the construction of four giant wind turbines at the Bourne-Plymouth town line. The case was heard in Barnstable Superior Court on Friday, March 4. The judge in the case rejected the neighbors' request for a temporary injunction, which would have halted work on the project.
A six-year battle over the town's wind turbines faces a critical turning point Saturday when the Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals will deliberate a special-permit application to keep one of the devices operational. The board has scheduled a public meeting to deliberate the application and is expected to vote on it, although a delay is possible. But whenever the board's decision comes, whether it marks the beginning of the end for the fight or simply sparks another round of litigation remains to be seen.
The board is holding a rare Saturday meeting to give itself more time to deliberate on the permit for the 397-foot-tall turbine known as Wind 1, which began spinning five years ago.
A representative from Denmark’s largest energy company had a cold reception in Chilmark this week as commercial fishermen and others discussed a proposed wind farm south of the Vineyard. Andy Revill, a fishermen’s liaison for Dong Energy, traveled from the U.K. to meet with fishermen. ...But fishermen who gathered at the Chimark town hall on Tuesday said that would almost surely interfere with gillnetters in the area.
The long-stalled offshore wind project planned for the coastal waters off Massachusetts could face even more legal roadblocks. Federal appeals court judges today signaled skepticism about whether the government had properly determined how to minimize the project's impact on migratory birds.
To control costs, the state restricts the amount of solar power that can be financed in this way, and state officials informed the industry on Friday that the cap has been hit. There was essentially a run on these certificates in recent weeks, as solar panel builders rushed to get in line on behalf of their customers as the cap drew near.
The town of Bourne, through its Board of Health, filed a lawsuit last Friday in Barnstable Superior Court seeking a declaratory judgment against the builder of four wind turbines over the town line in Plymouth.
Town counsel Jay Talerman responded by claiming that Kingston Wind Independence is in breach of its contract with the town - in part because KWI has failed to make several of its required monthly rent payments. He also claims that KWI is not in full compliance with either the Board of Health’s original abatement order or its second abatement order for shutdown of the turbine under certain conditions.
"Subsidizing an overdependence on one foreign government-owned source of electricity will lead to lost jobs and soaring energy bills for decades to come," said Dan Dolan, the group's president....Hydro-Quebec would use increased U.S. exports to subsidize lower prices for its provincial customers, in turn costing New England ratepayers an estimated $20 billion over 25 years.
Representatives for the town and a dozen neighbors of its first wind turbine, known as Wind 1, gave closing remarks Thursday, January 28, regarding a special permit application for the turbine. The turbine is currently shut down in accordance with a cease-and-desist order issued by the board in the fall.
“It was permitted entirely within Plymouth,” Mealy said. “As such, Bourne has had limited opportunity to make any recommendations and changes to the plan now that it is in motion.” Bourne residents have voiced concern about the location of the turbines and the anticipated impacts of noise and flicker at recent Board of Selectmen and Board of Health meetings.
The turbines at the town's wastewater treatment facility on Blacksmith Shop Road have been a source of controversy since they were installed. Neighbors have complained about health effects from their operation and have used a number of avenues to try to shut them down, while the town has warned of dire financial consequences should either device be deactivated.
Dozens of submissions will need to be vetted in coming months as the three states look to sign long-term contracts for electricity from wind turbines, dams and solar projects. The states are seeking up to 600 megawatts of power.
Few share Gordon’s optimism, although no one is willing to say so on the record. His critics say Cape Wind is out of date and out of sync with the times, and faces an uphill battle in the courts and on Beacon Hill. William Koch, the billionaire Osterville homeowner who has funded countless court challenges to the project over the years, is not going away. And Gordon’s patron saint, Deval Patrick, is gone from the governor’s office, replaced by Charlie Baker, who has never been a fan of Cape Wind.
“There will be a lawsuit that will be filed shortly within Superior Court against Future Generation Wind,” Stephen Mealy, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said Tuesday after the board returned from an executive session to map out a legal strategy against the wind energy company, which is now owned by ConEdison Solutions. The Bourne Board of Health has previously found that the turbines could affect Bourne residents.