Library filed under Energy Policy from Rhode Island

MA DPU Chairman memo and comments to the ISO New England

Hibbard_draft_eswg_comments_july_18_2008_thumb Memo from the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities Chairman, Paul Hibbard, to the ISO New England. Chairman Hibbard expresses his concerns over the push to regionalize costs for building expensive transmission lines to service renewable projects (wind) built far from load centers. Current FERC rules are unclear on how to justify distribution of the costs across all ratepayers within the region unless it can be shown such transmission is needed to ensure the reliability and integrity of the grid.
11 Jun 2008

Fish Juice: N.J. Fisherman angling to develop offshore wind

File this one under if you can't beat ‘em, join ‘em. A group of commercial fishermen wants to get in on the rush to build offshore wind farms to generate electricity. It's an interesting about face for the fishing industry, which has traditionally fought offshore industrialization - other than their own floating seafood factories, that is. ...The effort is attracting attention in New Jersey, where the state is looking to provide grants for a pilot offshore wind farm. ... Meanwhile, if Trenton doesn't take the bait, perhaps Providence will. Last Friday, Fishermen's Energy filed one of seven proposals to build a windfarm off the coast of Rhode Island.
3 Jun 2008

R.I. Senate OKs bill renewable energy bill

Rhode Island's major power company would be required to buy renewable energy for at least 10 years at a time under a proposal adopted unanimously Tuesday by Senate lawmakers. ...Bill supporters say the proposal is designed to fix a problem holding back green energy projects: a lack of large customers willing to buy the power. The bill will affect National Grid, the state's largest electricity distributor, which supports the proposal. Without a big customer willing to pay for wind or solar energy over the long run, banks and investors will not fund renewable energy projects, said Matt Auten, an advocate for the nonprofit group Environment Rhode Island, which supports the bill.
3 Jun 2008

7 bid to build wind farm

Seven developers, one as far away as Houston, have submitted proposals to build an offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island. Yesterday was the deadline for private developers to respond to the state's "request for proposals" that sought bids to finance, construct and operate a wind farm big enough to supply 15 percent of the state's electricity usage. ...It was unclear up until yesterday's deadline how many companies would make proposals, he said. There were 64 firms that registered their names with the state in order to download information about submitting a proposal, according to a list provided by Moynihan. The seven bids were not received until Thursday and yesterday.
31 May 2008

Energy challenges on horizon regarding demand and supply

The [New England] region's power system has had a long history of dependability, but electricity costs have been an issue for businesses and residents for decades. As the region plans ahead, New England's policymakers face a series of decisions that will have an abiding impact on our energy future. ...Economic, reliability and environmental goals are not always perfectly aligned when it comes to electricity generation and transmission. Whatever path policymakers choose to take will require trade-offs. How New England officials balance these sometimes conflicting goals will demonstrate our priorities, impact the regional economy and determine which objectives we can realistically achieve.
12 May 2008

Wind farm gathers steam

Wind farm developers, show us your plans. That's the message Governor Carcieri sent yesterday to private developers who may be interested in building a massive offshore wind farm that would generate at least 15 percent of the electricity consumed throughout Rhode Island -- about 1.3 million megawatts of power a year. At a State House news conference yesterday afternoon, Carcieri announced that the state has begun a formal request for proposals process, in which it seeks a partner in the private sector who would construct, finance and operate the wind farm.
4 Apr 2008

Carcieri proposes wind farm off Block Island

Such a project would require an estimated 105 wind turbines, making it about the size of the proposed Cape Wind project off Cape Cod. The proposal would meet Carcieri's goal of securing 15 percent of the state's energy needs through clean-energy sources. But questions remained after his 1 p.m. news conference about the cost of the project and its time-frame. ...The governor's plan appears at odds with a proposal by the staff of the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council - the state agency charged with permitting projects in state waters - for a one-year moratorium on development proposals.
3 Apr 2008

Offshore wind and wave farms still years away

It will take $6.6 million and three years to develop a permitting process for offshore wind and wave farms, said scientists from the University of Rhode Island in a presentation to state coastal officials March 11. The presentation was part of Coastal Resources Management Council's effort to establish rules for renewable energy projects in state waters. The council is pairing with URI in the process. All offshore projects have been put on hold until the new rules are in place. Although meteorological towers to collect data will be allowed before the process is complete, under the suggested framework it will still be another year until the state allows them to be placed offshore.
2 Apr 2008

Lawmakers debate R.I.'s power rules

The fate of a handful of energy bills lawmakers are debating at the State House will shape Rhode Island's energy future, determining what technologies get built, how much it will cost the state's ratepayers and, to a great extent, who gets to decide. ...The bill that would potentially have the biggest impact would require National Grid to enter into long-term contracts to buy renewable energy from developers of large-scale clean-energy projects. ...Perhaps most crucially, the bill would give National Grid discretion to decide what renewable- energy sources are "commercially reasonable" - essentially handing over to the utility the power to set policy about which forms of renewable energy go forward in Rhode Island, Dzykewicz said. Carcieri hopes to rework language in the bill to address those concerns.
31 Mar 2008

Carcieri's energy goal a long way off

A New York-based investment firm that caught state officials off guard last fall with a proposal to build up to 338 wind turbines in Rhode Island waters now says it wants to pay for a meteorological tower needed to draft zoning regulations for development of a wind farm. The proposal was made public last week at a hearing during which R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council - the state agency that regulates Rhode Island's waters voted unanimously to put off a decision about placing a one-year moratorium on all offshore alternative energy projects, something the agency's staff proposed following the New York firm's surprise wind-farm application. ...Gov. Donald L. Carcieri's ambitious goal to produce a minimum of 15 percent of Rhode Island's energy needs through the development of wind-, wave- and solar-energy sources by 2011 is almost certainly not going to happen.
17 Mar 2008

Transmission limits hamper renewable energy plans

State and regional regulators acknowledge the hurdles - especially in northern New Hampshire - but don't have ready solutions. A bill before the New Hampshire Senate would have the state be ready to act if no regional solution is forthcoming. ISO New England, which manages power for the region, is considering changing rules so more of the costs of transmission upgrades could be shared regionally. But as things stand now, backers of projects generally must pay for upgrades needed to connect them to the system. "None of this is a real speedy process," acknowledges Michael Harrington, senior regional policy adviser for the state Public Utilities Commission.
9 Mar 2008

'Green' energy projects get support with proposed renewable power bill

Senate leaders banded for the second time in a week to unveil bipartisan legislation, this time aimed at increasing the development and use of renewable energy throughout the state. ...the bill could fix a problem holding back green energy projects here: a lack of big buyers. Before building an offshore wind farm, for example, developers must convince potential investors that a major customer with money will buy the power over a long period. Lawmakers want National Grid, the state's dominant electricity distributor, to fill the role. The company supports the bill. ...The bill would excuse National Grid from signing contracts it considers "commercially unreasonable," a term that lawmakers defined only vaguely. Ryan said he could not say what contracts National Grid might reject without seeing a specific developer proposal.
8 Mar 2008

Environmental groups oppose moratorium on offshore renewable-energy projects

Two of Rhode Island's most active environmental groups have come out against a proposal by the staff of the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council to put a one-year moratorium on applications from developers to build wind- and wave-energy projects in state waters. Grover Fugate, the CRMC's executive director, has said implementing a moratorium would enable the state agency responsible for regulating Rhode Island's waters and coastline to avoid the risk of costly, drawn-out political battles over wind farm proposals - similar to the decade-old effort by developer Cape Wind Associates to build a wind farm in Massachusetts' Nantucket Sound - while drafting zoning regulations for offshore energy projects here.
6 Mar 2008

CRMC seeks wind farm, wave generator moratorium

The agency that regulates Rhode Island's coastline has proposed a one-year moratorium on wind farms and wave generators in the state's coastal waters so it can develop a special management plan that will determine where such projects will be allowed. Governor Carcieri and two environmental groups are opposing the moratorium. Yesterday, Jeff Neal, Carcieri's spokesman, said he's concerned the decision will slow the state's progress toward developing renewable energy sources. A moratorium, he said, would also send the wrong signal and might scare off potential proposals. "Governor Carcieri wants to remain out front developing wind and wave energy sources," Neal said. "He doesn't believe a moratorium will be helpful."
4 Mar 2008

Big hurdles hinder small state's wind ambitions

...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.
15 Dec 2007

Wind energy firm seeks weather data

Two top executives of Allco Renewable Energy Group Limited - Thomas Melone, president, and Gordon Alter, senior vice president - met with state energy coordinator Andrew Dzykewicz last week to try to answer concerns Dzykewicz raised when the company's plans to install 235 to 338 wind turbines became public two weeks ago. Both sides said the meeting was cordial, but they don't appear to agree on how Rhode Island should develop its potential coastal wind energy.
28 Nov 2007

Offshore R.I. wind power projects proposed

In a release, Allco Renewable, a New York based renewable energy investment firm, said it submitted eight preliminary permit applications to the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) on September 21. The company proposed to install up to 338 wind turbines at the four sites - one south of Block Island, two south of Little Compton in Rhode Island Sound and one east of Fishers Island. ...If all goes well, Wavle said construction could start in the first quarter of 2009 with commercial operation a year later at a cost of $1 billion to $2 billion.
26 Nov 2007

Allco announces offshore wind plans

Allco Renewable Energy Group made official its plans to develop up to four offshore wind projects in Rhode Island at sites including two south of Little Compton. Although it filed preliminary applications with the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council on Nov. 21, the firm did not publicly announce its intentions until Monday, Nov. 26. ...Four of the permit applications submitted to the CRMC request permission to place meteorological masts in four of the offshore districts identified in the governor's wind siting study. The masts would analyze winds strengths for at least a year and a half before. The other four permit applications submitted relate to the actual building of wind projects in each of those areas.
26 Nov 2007

State questions proposal for wind turbines

Governor Carcieri’s chief energy adviser, Andrew Dzykewicz, was dismissive of the New York company that is proposing to bring wind farms to Rhode Island’s coastal waters and said the state plans to continue with its own wind farm project so it can control the power output. ...“You don’t sandbag the top energy official and the governor of a state where you want to do business,” Dzykewicz said. But late yesterday, Allco managing director Jim Wavle returned a call The Journal placed to the company’s New York offices on Thursday. Wavle said the company’s proposal was serious and it plans to be in Rhode Island for the long haul.
17 Nov 2007

Power plants get little-known subsidies

While paper mills close and Cabletron spins off its remnants out of state, power plants from the Seacoast to Whitefield enjoy the perks of a poorly understood, $100-million subsidy program just for energy producers. It has a bureaucratic name: the forward capacity market. ...An unidentified 600-megawatt, gas-fired power plant project somewhere in Rockingham County is blocked behind half a dozen North Country renewable energy projects in the ISO-New England regulatory queue. The waiting list policy is first-come, first-served. A plant like that would typically pay its host community $4 million or more in property taxes, with few smokestack emissions. But those wind- and wood-fired projects at the front of the line are all in limbo. The Public Service power lines in the region are too small. Most of the players can't even bid into the upcoming ISO auction, because yet-to-be-built plants have to ante millions of dollars as a sort of performance bond. And the ISO doesn't make forward capacity payments for transmission line upgrades.
28 Oct 2007
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