Articles from Rhode Island
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.
The Town Council Monday authorized the expansion of its new Wind Energy Committee from five to seven members because of the availability and willingness of at least 11 specially qualified residents to serve, and because of the growing interest in wind energy. The four councilors attending the meeting agreed to the expansion even though Council President David Long and Councilman William Kelly spoke briefly about a generic preference for smaller committees. Council Vice President Julio DiGiando and Councilman Michael Schnack endorsed the expansion without caveat. Councilwoman Barbara Szepatowski was absent. Next Monday, Dec. 18, is the deadline for applications for the new committee. No members have yet been named.
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. The town received permission last week from the Internal Revenue Service to issue the interest-free bonds as part of a program created under the federal Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005. The IRS has approved the borrowing of $800 million in bonds by 610 renewable energy projects across the country.
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.
New England will need to add power plants capable of generating 4,300 megawatts, and $3.4 billion of additional transmission investment, by 2015 to avoid blackouts, the region’s grid operator says. The area will need 170 megawatts of new power before the summer of 2009 to assure adequate supplies, according to ISO New England Inc., the power grid and wholesale market operator that serves the region’s 14 million people........ If a 1,000 megawatt coal or nuclear power plant had been installed in 2005, buyers in the wholesale market would have saved $600 million in power costs, the report said.
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?”
Saying New England holds tremendous opportunity for wind energy development, Connecticut-based Noble Environmental Power today announced that it is teaming up with Vermont-based Vermont Environmental Research Associates (VERA) to explore potential windpark locations throughout the region.
Under the agreement, ISO New England will project regional power needs three years in advance and hold annual auctions to buy power resources, including new and existing power plants. Incentives would encourage private operators to respond to power system emergencies, and operators that don't make extra capacity available would face penalties.
After years of warning that New England's electric grid was on the brink of having to impose Third World-style rolling blackouts, top power officials now cautiously predict the region may have enough power for the near future. Since February, thanks to recent policy changes, proposals for 21 new power plants that could deliver enough electricity for about 3 million homes have come before regional power grid administrators. Those include a $1.5 billion NRG Energy Inc. plan for multiple new generators in Connecticut and a single generator that would burn methane gas from a dump in Westminster, near Fitchburg. The Holyoke -based organization that runs the six-state power grid and wholesale markets, Independent System Operator New England, plans to discuss the projects in a two-day Boston conference starting today .
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.
COVENTRY -- Governor Carcieri yesterday unveiled a state initiative to develop several small hydroelectric generators along major rivers. Carcieri said that harnessing the water's energy could generate up to 10 megawatts of power, or roughly 1 percent of the state's overall electricity consumption...........The wind-power initiative is on track, Carcieri said. Applied Technology & Management of Newport has been hired to complete a feasibility study that will recommend potential sites, both on- and offshore, for wind turbines, he said.
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.
The New England power grid will have 30,345 megawatts available today - use is expected to peak at a record 28,030 megawatts, even after energy companies have put out a call for people to voluntarily reduce power consumption, she said.
But........ even he acknowledged that turbines have some drawbacks. "You can't totally rely on wind power because it's so fickle," he said, adding that energy production dips during the less-windy summer months. This makes turbines inefficient, according to Mr. Ratti. "One of the huge costs of windmills is that the wind does not always blow. In order to provide for continuity of service, National Grid has to have available at all times a same-size backup generator to switch on to the lines," he said. "It's just like your second-string quarterback. He's sitting on the bench idle and collecting a million dollars. You have the same thing with the generator. What they are now is a parasite on the grid. When the windmill doesn't feel like turning, the grid has to pick up the slack."
WORCESTER— Absent interest in lower-priced fuels, New Englanders should brace for continued high electricity prices, the byproduct of a regional system heavily dependent on oil, natural gas and coal, the head of the region’s power grid said yesterday.