Library filed under General from Rhode Island
Massachusetts and Rhode Island will jointly explore the development of offshore wind power in federal waters near the two states, according to an agreement announced Monday by the states' governors.
On Wednesday, the three-member commission heard arguments for dismissal. While both entities contend that the law calling upon the PUC to weigh the new contract violated the U.S. Constitution, they concentrated on other arguments, including that it was unlawful to reconsider a contract once a decision had already been rendered.
The PUC will begin formal hearings on the new Power Purchase Agreement between Deepwater Wind and National Grid next week. While there was virtual agreement among the speakers that the island urgently needed relief from its current electricity rates, there were divergent views about how to get there.
The R.I. Public Utilities Commission made no decision Wednesday whether to stop hearings on a proposed offshore wind farm. Instead, the commission said it would determine whether to dismiss the case after the entire case wraps up Aug. 11.
Chairman Elia Germani said a ruling on the motions will not be made until the final day of proceedings, currently scheduled for Aug. 11. That means the three-member commission will decide whether to dismiss the case on the same day it decides whether to approve the long-term contract.
In allowing the case to proceed, commissioners pointed to the law passed by the General Assembly that outlined a 45-day schedule for the PUC to hear the case and said a delay would go against the intent of lawmakers. And they said the Conservation Law Foundation would not suffer irreparable harm if the hearing continued, but Deepwater Wind would.
So how ironic would it be if Massachusetts consumers end up paying higher electric rates because of the Cape Wind project, but Rhode Island gets the lion's share of the jobs? ...There are already a host of reasons to dislike this project - the location, the financing, the cost to consumers. Now we might get one more.
“We continue to fight against this special-interest measure and inside deal tailored to put only one entity, Deepwater Wind, on the fast track to develop a costly demonstration project that isn’t needed, and will create only six full-time jobs,” Lynch said in a news release. "It's an exercise in futility."
In papers filed with the PUC Tuesday, the Conservation Law Foundation Rhode Island chapter and Lynch called the process unconstitutional. The PUC is mulling whether to approve a power-purchase agreement between wind farm developer Deepwater Wind and utility National Grid.
The state Public Utilities Commission has put together a tentative schedule of proceedings for the review of a proposed long-term power-purchase agreement between National Grid and Deepwater Wind.
National Grid filed a new Power Purchase Agreement signed with Deepwater Wind late Wednesday that is not significantly different from the one the state Public Utilities Commission rejected in March. The opening price for electricity from a proposed eight-turbine wind farm off Block Island would remain 24.4 cents per kilowatt-hour, escalating 3.5 percent each year of the 20-year contract.
In a quirk of timing, two developers in neighboring states are racing to build the first offshore wind farm in the United States ...Cape Wind Associates in Massachusetts and Deepwater Wind in Rhode Island must both persuade public utilities regulators in their respective states to approve long-term contracts that would allow them to sell power to National Grid.
The Block Island wind farm has new life. Both houses of the General Assembly passed a law this week that call for the Public Utilities Commission to revisit a modified power agreement between Deepwater Wind and National Grid.
Some legislators argued the Deepwater wind farm off Block Island is going to be a longterm financial drain on the state electric ratepayers; others insisted it will be an economic engine that will power Rhode Island into the future. After midnight, following a debate of more than three hours, the House finally voted 56-15 for a bill that is designed to set the wind project back on course by setting the standards for it to be reviewed by the state Public Utilities Commission a second time.
Last Thursday morning some 60 people gathered at St. Andrew Parish Center to hear from several island residents on matters related to the proposed Block Island wind farm.
State Attorney General Patrick Lynch this week sent a letter to Governor Donald Carcieri suggesting that he go "all in" on his wind farm plans for Rhode Island. The letter says Carcieri should pursue both phases of the proposed Deepwater Wind project simultaneously ...However, in an interview with the Block Island Times, the state's leading law enforcement officer made clear that his letter was intended more as a "call out" to the governor to be more honest with the state ratepayers.
PORTSMOUTH - Portsmouth Abbey's wind turbine wasn't broken last weekend. It was "just resting," said the Abbey's Brother Joseph in answer to a question from the Sakonnet Times.
Groups that in the past have embraced Governor Don Carcieri for his staunch conservatism are now turning against him over one of his signature issues-the proposed wind farm off Block Island. Their opposition came one week after a personal appeal from Carcieri in a private meeting with him and his staff.
Gov. John Baldacci reminded the crowd of several dozen stakeholders that Maine was one of the most oil-dependent states, using fossil fuels for 80 percent to 86 percent of its overall energy needs. The new laws, he said, would help drive in-state renewable energy production, keeping money here as well as helping restore the economy.
But in her letter to committee chairman Arthur Handy, D-Cranston, Bray says that the commission did look at the economic impact of the project. She cites the PUC's finding that the $390 million in above-market costs for power from the wind farm would directly lead to only 50 temporary jobs and 6 permanent ones. And among several other points, she also refers to sizeable annual increases in the energy costs of the largest businesses in Rhode Island.