Articles filed under General from Rhode Island
In 2000-plus pages, filled with studies, statistics and opinions galore, the federal Minerals Management Service concluded that building a wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal was not only better than nowhere, but better than a good many other spots. The Final Environmental Impact Statement released last week didn't say the site in Nantucket Sound was perfect, but that it met a series of physical, biological and social/human benchmarks.
The state of Rhode Island signed a joint development agreement with Deepwater Wind Thursday that could lead to the placement of four to eight wind turbines three miles off the southeastern coast of Block Island as early as 2010. The legally binding agreement envisions the wind farm providing 20 megawatts of power with a tie-in to the island.
The Barrington Town Council made it official Monday night: The wind turbine project proposed for Legion Way is off the table. ...At the meeting on Monday night, council member Kate Weymouth motioned to accept a recommendation from the Committee for Renewable Energy for Barrington to not move forward with construction of a turbine at Legion Way, "at this time."
A developer is proposing to build the first commercial-scale projects in New England waters to harness the power of the waves for electricity, but most of the energy they produce would actually come from attached wind turbines. Grays Harbor Ocean Energy Company, based in Seattle, applied for preliminary permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in October to explore mounting 100 jack-up platforms - similar to those used in the offshore oil industry - in seven tracts of ocean around the country.
The financial crisis is causing problems for First Wind, one of the backers of Deepwater Wind, the firm chosen by Gov. Donald L. Carcieri to build Rhode Island's offshore wind farm. ...First Wind declined to comment, but in its public filing the company warned: "If we are unable to obtain additional debt or equity financing, we may have to curtail our development activities or be forced to sell assets."
The report, completed by AWS Truewind, created a virtual met tower for the Legion Way location and shows readings for simulated hourly wind speeds, directions, temperatures, pressure and air density at 65 meters above ground level. It indicates a mean wind speed of 5.33 meters per second, which is significantly less than the previous readings town officials had collected. It also showed longer periods of inactivity for the proposed wind turbine.
Residents continued to voice their opinions about proposed new regulations, sometimes repeatedly, to the Planning and Zoning Commission at Tuesday night's special meeting. The hearing was opened last Thursday and continued until Tuesday night.
Members of Citizens Wind Watch obtained and circulated copies of two e-mails sent from David Baum, the CREB chairman, to some town officials and other members of the CREB. The e-mails refer to a meeting on Nov. 14, in which council members June Speakman and Kate Weymouth, town manager Peter DeAngelis and Mr. Baum discussed the proposed wind turbine project. ..."The meeting and subsequent e-mail that David Baum sent ... smacks of backroom dealing, even if it was meant to be completely above board."
Shortly after the Financial Town Meeting, where residents voted to approve funding for the construction of a wind turbine in town, Ms. Cuzzone started researching wind turbines and attending meetings for the renewable energy committee. She said the project's initially proposed location - the Barrington High School campus - propelled her to get involved. She lives on Lincoln Avenue, not far from the high school. A new location has since been selected - Legion Way near Brickyard Pond - but Ms. Cuzzone is still interested in the project.
As the state moves forward with the creation of zoning regulations for Rhode Island's coastal waters, commercial fishermen are worried their interests will not be adequately represented when key decisions are made about where they can fish. ...The fishermen, for their part, say they are supportive of efforts to develop renewable energy and are not looking to derail the SAMP project. "We can absolutely live together," said Wallis. "We just want to have a good say in that."
The chairman of the committee exploring a wind turbine for the town is warning that the project is facing "paralysis by analysis" and he is calling on Barrington's "silent majority" to "break the deadlock and move forward on this first-of-many renewable energy solutions." ...Critics have called for actual wind measurements to determine if the breezes will be strong enough to make a turbine at Brickyard Pond economical. The committee has, instead, relied on historical wind speed data collected from other locations, data that have been extrapolated for the Barrington site.
Even though a New York-based wind farm developer has abandoned its plans to build a facility off the coast of Rhode Island, the company is still hoping to get into the wind-energy business here. Allco Renewable Energy Group Ltd. has approached a half-dozen Rhode Island communities with what some see as an appealing offer. The company will finance, build, operate and own a wind turbine within a town and sell the power at a price that's at or below what's available from the local utility company. And Allco will guarantee that price for 20 years.
The thought of a wind farm in waters off Rhode Island is "frightening" to commercial fishermen, an industry representative told state officials Wednesday at a meeting of those potentially affected by a proposed wind farm. ..."I can't stress enough how frightening this is for the commercial fishing industry," said Lanny Dellinger, president of the Rhode Island Lobstermen's Association. "I see people getting displaced."
[H]igh electricity prices, along with a conservation ethos that has led to the protection of more than 40 percent of the island in reserves and land trusts, have prompted many Block Islanders to embrace the offshore wind project. "A lot of the residents recognize the need for wind power," said Nancy Dodge, town manager for New Shoreham, the municipality that encompasses the island. "The major concern is that anything we have to look at, we share in, so we don't bear the brunt visually without getting the benefits."
The battle to block a wind turbine on town-owned land in hopes of saving on Barrington's electric bill has gone multimedia. Opponents have begun circulating a professional-quality 16-minute video blasting the $2.4-million proposal, accusing the town of rushing into the project without fully assessing the costs and benefits. It also asserts that the spinning blades, high on a peninsula at Brickyard Pond near the East Bay Bike Path, will generate too much noise for neighbors and kill birds.
The hotly debated wind turbine proposal will not see a town council vote before the November election. That's what current council members stated at the Oct. 6 meeting after news surfaced that the deadline for the interest-free loan associated with the wind turbine project was extended from Dec. 31, 2008, to Dec. 31, 2009. Just weeks ago the council was planning to hold a special meeting in October to vote on the project.
The letter's author, Andrew Dzykewicz, the commissioner of the office on energy resources, wrote that a "well-executed feasibility study typically will include a year's worth of data gathering using a meteorological tower erected on-site for that purpose." ...Barrington Town Council President Jeff Brenner defended the council's decision not to install a test tower. "We weren't sure where the site was going to be," Mr. Brenner said. "Frankly I'm glad we didn't put it up at the high school because we have since switched sites and it would have wasted taxpayers' money."
After 10 months of work, the Committee for Renewable Energy for Barrington (CREB) has recommended the town accept a bid to install a 600 kilowatt wind turbine generator at the Legion Way site. The town council is saddled with the final decision - whether to follow the CREB recommendation and award the bid for the work to Lumus Construction Inc. ...The recommendation report goes into detail, explaining specifics about the proposed project. The council was scheduled to hear from CREB members at Monday night's meeting and were expecting some other vocal residents to attend also.
The company selected to build a $1.5-billion wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island has never constructed an offshore project. But yesterday, Governor Carcieri said he was confident that Deepwater Wind, the three-year-old New Jersey firm chosen to build the privately financed project, had the experience and the financial backing to get the job done. "They've done projects, not offshore, but they've done projects in Hawaii, Maine and New York so they know how to do wind, they know what's involved," Carcieri said yesterday.
Rhode Island has granted a New Jersey-based renewable energy firm the right to develop a wind farm miles off the coast that would generate 15 percent of the state's electricity needs in the coming decade, officials said. DeepwaterWind LLC estimates the project, being formally announced Thursday, will cost $1 billion to $2 billion and benefit New England, which pays some of the most expensive electricity bills in the nation because it is heavily dependent on natural gas. ...DeepwaterWind CEO Chris Brown said his firm builds turbines on large platforms originally designed for offshore drilling rigs, which means they can operate in deep waters and ideally out of sight of land.