Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Rhode Island
The newly appointed Wind Energy Study Committee held its first meeting at the Town Hall on April 3. The seven-member committee appointed officers and reviewed its charge from the Town Council, with direction from Town Clerk Arlene Petit.
Town councilors last week held an election and chose by paper ballot seven members for two year terms on the town's new wind energy committee. The seven were chosen from among 16 applicants and one nominated member. The council invited and urged applicants not named to the committee to attend and play active roles in the committee work. Selected for the committee were; William "Bucky" Brennan and Robert Bowen, who independently and simultaneously urged the council to pursue study of wind energy, and Clayton Carlisle, William W. Smith III, Don Wineberg, Abigail Anthony and Michael Larkin. Public Works Director Steven Goslee and Town Engineer Michael Gray will serve as ex-officio members.
TIVERTON - A meteorological tower designed to test the breezes has just been erected at Sandy Woods Farm adjacent to and south of the Bulgarmarsh recreation area. If the direction, speed and constancy of the winds are right, there could well be a wind generator at the location two years or so from now that would be capable of meeting most of the electrical energy needs of an artists' community now being proposed for the site. After a small number of trees had been cleared in a rocky pasture on the farm, and a concrete footing for the structure had been set in place, the 132-foot tall "met tower" was hoisted intact in just a few hours on Thursday morning last week. It is visible looking south from Bulgarmarsh Road on the hill and curve just west of the recreation area. The so-called tilt-up "met tower" system, consisting of interlocking galvanized steel tubes that slide together without bolts or clamps, was hoisted from the ground with a ginpole and winch. It is held in place by cable guy wires that run in four directions at several levels.
BARRINGTON — The explorers of wind power here gathered around six tables pushed together and focused on questions that might determine whether it’s worthwhile to power some Barrington buildings using a wind turbine or turbines. There are many questions to tackle, and the Wind Power Exploratory Committee agreed last night at its meeting at the public library to create four subcommittees made up of its members. A siting subcommittee will look at potential locations, among other things, and other subcommittees will focus on technology and engineering, cost, and the stakeholders in town. Subcommittees were slated to meet on different days over the next week and a half and report back when the full exploratory committee meets again in two weeks.
Portsmouth is one step closer to asking the General Assembly to approve putting a $3 million wind-turbine referendum on the local ballot - that is, if studies show the turbines would be worth the money. While the town has yet to decide if it wants wind turbines at local schools, Portsmouth’s Economic Development Committee sought support from local leaders for putting the special-election request to state lawmakers. They must approve enabling legislation for special elections, and such requests are due by February, the deadline to submit legislation for inclusion in this General Assembly session. Both the Portsmouth Town Council and the School Committee last week approved resolutions supporting a local vote on issuing bonds for the turbines. But a referendum won’t go to voters unless data shows the turbines would be economically viable.
Following in the paths of Portsmouth and Bristol, Barrington officials will investigate whether to use wind power to provide power for municipal buildings. The Town Council agreed this month to advertise for people who would like to serve on the Wind Power Exploratory Committee. Jeffrey Brenner, the council president, said that after a presentation by Lefteris Pavlides, a Roger Williams University professor and wind energy expert and advocate, some council members wondered whether the alternative power source on a limited scale could save on electrical expenses.
PORTSMOUTH — The town has received approval to borrow up to $2.6 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds to finance the proposed purchase and installation of one or two wind turbines at the public middle and high schools to offset their use of electricity.
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.
Renewable-energy groups from throughout Rhode Island will meet here Saturday to discuss ways communities can install wind turbines that would be used to offset the cost of electricity. The meeting, at Roger Williams University, was organized by Bristol Wind Power, a local group that formed in support of a nonbinding referendum on wind energy that won overwhelming approval from voters last month. The referendum capped a two-year study of wind power in Bristol that has yet to produce a concrete proposal to erect a turbine in town. The Town Council decided to hold the vote to gauge the sentiments of townspeople before moving forward with any plan.
The council delegated Keiser to advertise for volunteers for a wind energy committee, send a letter to funding sources to hold a place for the town to apply for grant money, and otherwise prepare for an appointed and functioning committee before the end of January. The approval provides for a five-member committee working with Public Works Director Steven Goslee and Town Planner Lisa Bryer.
Local voters in the Nov. 7 general election will have a chance to register their views on pursuing a plan for harnessing wind power in town. Officials have talked for the past two years of trying to install a wind turbine in town. They’ve worked with wind power experts to identify possible sites but haven’t taken the plan any further. In a nonbinding referendum, they will gauge residents’ sentiments. Question 11 on the ballot will ask, “Should the Town pursue the installation of a wind turbine in Bristol provided an appropriate site is identified?”
WARREN - John Rosenthal has his eyes on the heavy current pulling hard underneath the Warren River Bridge. The president of Meredith Management — the company planning to develop the 14-acre former American Tourister property into hundreds of condominiums — wants to harness the river's tidal energy and use it to supply electricity to the proposed residential complex. The state's Office of Energy Resources is already on board with Mr. Rosenthal's idea. In late August, the agency awarded a $20,000 grant to Meredith Management to fund a feasibility study. On Thursday, Sept. 14, the same day Mr. Rosenthal formally submitted the plan for the redeveloped Tourister property, the company president said work had begun on the tidal energy study, and that he was optimistic about its potential. "We hope it will be fiscally feasible," he said. "This is better than wind energy ... water is denser than air, and it is invisible to the public."
Meanwhile, the state has hired Applied Technology & Management, of Newport, to recommend onshore and offshore sites for wind turbines -- a vastly underused source of energy for electricity generation, especially in coastal areas. The firm's David Mendelsohn says that the governor's goal of producing 15 percent of Rhode Island's electrical power from wind by 2016 is "probably" achievable.
With the commitment to clean power, however, come increased costs in the short term. The costs come from investments in renewable energy certificates or building alternatives such as wind turbines, Wall said. Extra costs could also come if, like residents have already done, the town turned some buildings over to clean energy through the utility company, he said.
``The problem we're having with all these wind farms is . . . they're proposing to put them in all the worst places," said Thomas W. French , assistant director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. ``If they could do what the Russell Biomass plant did, which is to find a preexisting, historical industrial district, we'd be applauding them." As part of the ongoing state permitting process for the plant, French's division worked with its developers to reroute proposed power lines to reduce their impact on wildlife.
A study released yesterday envisions a waterfront drive, bike path, marina village, housing and the opening for development of 350 acres that may be relinquished by the Navy. NEWPORT -- It is a plan that could change hundreds of acres along Narragansett Bay, transforming an area once dominated by the Navy into exclusive waterfront property open to public and private development.
Ground is broken for the first substantial wind turbine in the state. It is expected to go on line in March and will provide enough electricity to power about half of Portsmouth Abbey's campus.