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Although the decision removes a major obstacle in the path of the wind farm - which had been delayed during the court case - it does not guarantee that the project will reach fruition. Deepwater will use the contract to help secure financing for the $205-million wind farm.
The Town Council Monday night extended its moratorium on new wind turbine applications for another 90 days while it considers a new ordinance governing wind energy. The original moratorium, passed Jan. 10, was due to expire July 10.
The company explains that vertical axis turbines have some benefits over traditional turbines, as they can be placed lower to the ground and do not harm birds or bats. The three members of the task group present, Bill Penn, Everett Shorey and Barbara McMullen, had lots of questions.
On Tuesday, North Kingstown sent DePasquale a letter revoking the permit once more, this time requiring that Wind Energy Development provide the town with the make and model of the turbine, a revised site plan, and information regarding anticipated decibel levels.
At a meeting Tuesday night at the Wickford Middle School, the commission voted 5 to 1 that Wind Energy Development LLC's decision to replace a 427-foot, 1.8-megawatt turbine made by Danish company Vestas with a 389-foot, 1.5-megawatt turbine made by Chinese manufacturer Goldwind represented a significant change in Wind Energy's application to the town.
In 5-1 vote, the North Kingstown Planning Commission deemed that turbine developer Wind Energy Development LLC's decision to replace a 427-foot Vestas V100 with a 389-foot Goldwind was a "significant change" to the application, thus constituting a new application.
Roberti said he wonders in a time of tight budgets how a state can create a new economy based on electricity rates "five times the cost" of what was before the Marcellus shale gas discoveries in recent years began to put downward pressure on power prices. "Unfortunately for the East Coast states, offshore wind is not going to bring the economic development we so sorely desire," Roberti added.
The lawsuit (Wind Energy Development LLC v Nicole Newcombe et al) follows the Apr. 8 revocation of the North Kingstown Green building permit by the Town of North Kingstown, halting construction on the wind turbine slated for completion later this year.
The price Deepwater offered to the Long Island Power Authority for electricity from the larger project, however, would be in the "low teens," according to Deepwater chief executive William M. Moore. A price in that range would also be lower than the price of 18.7 cents per kilowatt hour that National Grid agreed to pay for power from Cape Wind, an offshore wind farm planned in Massachusetts.
So last year, when National Grid, Rhode Island's dominant utility, signed a deal to buy electricity from an offshore wind farm proposed near Block Island, Toray was taken aback by details of the arrangement. Even though it buys no power from National Grid, under the deal, Toray would still have to pay some of the cost of the electricity generated by Deepwater Wind's project.
In a filing with the R.I. Public Utilities Commission, the utility said that depending on the forecasting model used, electricity from the Deepwater Wind farm would cost $409 million or $415 million more than power from traditional sources such as natural gas plants.
Because wind power drains money from our economy, it doesn't, and won't in the future, create jobs. It will actually cost jobs. The money, much of which will go overseas, will no longer be available to spend on food, clothing, shelter and medical care in Rhode Island. Where does the money go?
The Rhode Island Supreme Court has ruled that two large manufacturers have legal standing to challenge a key approval for a wind farm proposed in waters off Block Island, but the court majority decided that a regional environmental group does not have standing and cannot continue in the case.
Friday's decision, allowing the companies to continue the lawsuit, could be bad news for Providence-based Deepwater, which wants to build five to eight turbines about three miles off of Block Island. Company officials initially wanted the farm to be operational by the end of 2012. .
The town has revoked the building permit for a 427-foot wind turbine slated to be constructed at the North Kingstown Green housing development on Ten Rod Road.
According to Town Manager Michael Embury, the permit was revoked after the town solicitor's office found that a required lot swap at the subdivision had not occurred and, therefore, the subdivision requirements were not completed.
The land-based study also aims to take a comprehensive look at resources and weigh comments from stakeholders. It comes after proposals for wind turbines in Charlestown, North Kingstown and other towns have stirred objections, bringing hundreds of residents to meetings with concerns about the effects of the large structures on their communities.
Middletown Councilor Bruce Long proposed the measure as a way to give the town some cover while planners look to strengthen the town's existing wind turbine ordinance, now more than a year old, to address such issues as identifying sites for industrial grade turbines outside residential areas, safe setback distances and other design considerations.
The order comes after new state Attorney General Peter Kilmartin recently pulled out of the appeal, which his predecessor, Patrick Lynch, had initiated with CLF and the other two appellants. Kilmartin, a longtime member of the General Assembly, supports the wind farm, proposed for within three miles of Block Island, and agrees it will be an economic plus for the state.
The project would have to be underway by March 31, 2012, which the Town Council decided was not possible given the many decisions and approvals such an effort would entail. The state would not allow the town to use any of the funds for a feasibility study.