Library filed under General from Rhode Island
...Rhode Island Gov. Don Carcieri's pledge nearly two years ago to bring wind power to a state where there is just one operating wind turbine. His goal was to get 15% of the state's electrical power from wind by 2011 - which would require about 100 turbines. Several major challenges now stand in the way of the small state's big plans. Among them: No one has decided where to put a wind farm, it's not clear how the project will be paid for, and public opposition - a major wild card - is unknown, according to Carcieri's top energy adviser, Andrew Dzykewicz. ...No other state has built an offshore wind farm, forcing Rhode Island's government to invent the process nearly from scratch. One of the state's main environmental regulatory bodies, the Coastal Resources Management Council, has not even decided what it requires from prospective wind power developers.
A New York wind energy company is asking a state agency to let it install four meteorological masts in waters off Block Island, Little Compton and Fishers Island to collect wind data in preparation for building offshore wind farms at some or all of the sites. But despite Governor Donald Carcieri's commitment to establishing offshore wind farms, state officials have so far expressed doubt about Allco Renewable Energy Group's application, saying it doesn't fit the model the state is developing for renewable energy projects. And the coastal agency that deals with offshore permit applications says it doesn't know when it will be ready to make a decision on Allco's application.
Gov. Don Carcieri pledged nearly two years ago to bring wind power to a state where there is just one operating wind turbine. His goal was to get 15 percent of the state's electrical power from wind by 2011 -- which would require about 100 turbines. That goal now seems unlikely because no one has decided where to put a wind farm, it's not clear how the project will be paid for and public opposition -- a major wild card -- is unknown, according to Carcieri's top energy adviser, Andrew Dzykewicz.
The top executive of a Warren-based wind-turbine blade maker said the decision to build a new manufacturing facility in Iowa, rather than in Rhode Island, was based on that state's proximity to the market in which the blades will be used. The blades made by TPI Composites are typically 35 meters to 40 meters long, and can weigh 10,000 to 20,000 pounds each, said Steven C. Lockard, chief executive officer of the company. Transportation costs for these blades, which are typically shipped by truck, can run into the "tens of thousands" of dollars, he said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "In this case, there really wasn't an option for this particular factory to be located in Rhode Island," he said.
Word that a New York firm hopes to build 50 to as many as 84 wind turbines in waters a short distance south of Little Compton has prompted questions and concerns here. Allco Renewable Energy Group Ltd. filed preliminary papers with the state coastal Resources Management Council in late September in which it outlined a proposal to erect perhaps as many as 335 turbines at four Rhode Island coastal sites. Other sites include waters off Sachuest Point and Second Beach in Middletown (85 to 120 turbines in up to 9 square miles of water); just south of Block Island (50 to 84 turbines in up to 6.5 square miles of water); and 50 turbines off Westerly.
Gov. Donald L. Carcieri's chief energy adviser this morning said a New York company's interest in building a large wind energy project off Rhode Island's coast is "extremely premature." At this time, the proposal is not seen as a viable option for alternative energy development in the state. ...The Allco Renewable Energy Group Ltd. - an investment bank that specializes in energy projects - has submitted a preliminary request to erect 235 to 338 wind turbines in state waters just off Block Island, Little Compton and Watch Hill, the Providence Journal reported this morning.
A New York investment company is proposing to erect between 235 and 338 large wind turbines to generate electricity in state waters just off Watch Hill, Block Island and Little Compton. The Allco Renewable Energy Group Limited says it may erect Danish turbines whose blades are 295 feet in diameter, mounted on towers that would rise 262 to 345 feet above the water. Allco’s proposes to start construction in the first quarter of 2009 and go into commercial service a year later.
The group of stakeholders evaluating sites for a state-sponsored offshore wind-energy project concluded its meetings yesterday without coming to a consensus on which of the 11 potential sites would be best suited for the development. ...But after four meetings, several group members said they still didn't have enough information to pick out just one site, while others said it would be unwise to throw out particular sites this early in the process.
The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources recently gave thumbs up to the island's pursuit of a wind energy generation program. The unofficial nod followed town council approval for $15,000 to be spent on a wind turbine feasibility study. ...Pichs also noted that turbine manufacturers had backorders which took anywhere from 16 months to three years to deliver. "They are catering to the larger projects now. Money that was available for Portsmouth is no longer available," he warned. Pichs said that a company like General Electric might be interested, "but they have so much demand from wind farms that they're not interested in small projects."
New England ISO (NE ISO) control area includes the six states of New England (CT, RI, MA, ME, NH, VT).
Councilor Peter Baute passed out copies of a map showing possible sites for offshore wind farms under the governor's ambitious plan, two of which lie off Block Island. The two near the island have the highest wind velocities, he said, but there are two other sites near Newport and Little Compton that have winds almost as strong. Baute and a visitor from Roger Williams College toured the areas of the island that face the sites and took pictures, he said. Facsimiles of the turbines will be superimposed onto the pictures to approximate how they will look from the island.
Will military-submarine traffic get in the way of the wind-turbine towers? Will lights on the turbines blind ship captains? Will wind turbines suck away the energy from the wind, leaving sailboats stranded? These are some of the questions and concerns that arose yesterday at a meeting of Governor Carcieri's offshore wind-power stakeholders' group.
Wind energy on Jamestown could take several forms, according to Jamestown's Wind Energy Committee. However, in order to determine the best option, the town is being asked to allocate upwards of $50,000 in funding for a wind energy feasibility study.
The town may ask Block Island residents to fund a paid energy advisor who could help organize an effort to bring the island's energy future under its own control, including, as a first step, polling community sentiment about erecting huge wind turbines.
The Portsmouth Economic Development Committee sent out about 1,000 surveys last weekend seeking public input on plans for the local construction of wind turbines. About half the surveys were sent by random selection and the rest were sent to residents with property adjacent to Portsmouth Middle School or Portsmouth High School.
Central Maine Power and Maine Public Service have asked the ISO New England to review the feasibility of a transmission line that would link northern Maine with the regional grid and create a path for wind power to flow to load centers in southern New England. Tim Brown, MPS director of corporate planning and regulatory affairs, said Thursday that the line, expected to be in excess of 100 miles, would allow transmission of more than 500 MW of wind power, most of it still in planning. While the idea of connecting northern Maine to the regional grid has been discussed for years, it has taken on a new significance given the difficulty utilities and merchant generators have encountered when they've attempted to build plants in the high-demand southern New England states. In addition to growing demand, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have renewable portfolio standards, which create pressure for more large scale wind. But no major projects have been built in southern New England. In northern Maine, about 42 MW of wind is operating and an additional 500 MW has been proposed. If the line is not built, Brown said wind electricity in northern Maine could be routed into Canada then into southern New England. That, however, would require major upgrades to grid interface between MPS and New Brunswick Power. Brown said the utilities expect the ISO impact study to be completed by the end of 2007.
The Wind Energy Committee voted last week to ask the Town Council for $50,000 for a wind energy feasibility study. The committee also voted to recommend that the town begin the process with an invitation for suppliers to submit proposals for the study.
Legislators in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic passed a number of bills applying to the electric power industry, with several states committing to emissions reductions through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and other states making broad organizational changes to their regulatory processes.
Governor Carcieri's wind-power initiative suffered a significant setback Friday when the General Assembly failed to pass a bill that the governor said was needed to support the project. The legislation would have created the Rhode Island Power Authority, a quasi-public agency that would have had the authority to issue bonds to finance renewable energy projects, such as the proposal by the governor to establish one or more wind farms capable of generating 15 percent of Rhode Island's electricity usage. The project, comparable in scope to the proposed Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound, could cost $900 million to $1.9 billion to build, depending on where the turbines would be located, how many were erected and several other variables. Without the power authority legislation, the wind-energy project is essentially on hold, said Andrew Dzykewicz, the commissioner of the state Office of Energy Resources.
Technical, environmental and financial considerations were focuses of presentations by consultants at the June 12 meeting of the Wind Energy Committee. The committee listened to expert advice on proceeding with a feasibility study to bring the renewable energy source to Jamestown.