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Better Choices

ALTERNATIVE SITES

WEAs
An array of alternatives to Cape Wind are available that would have fewer conflicts and/or would be less expensive to the public.  Based on stakeholder input, the federal government has identified offshore Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) up and down the east coast that aim to minimize conflicts and be more suitable for development. Nantucket Sound, by contrast, was chosen by a private developer with no public input whatsoever based solely on technical criteria to maximize profit. 

In 2016, the focus is on developing projects farther from shore in the Wind Energy Areas on the Outer Continental Shelf. Deepwater Wind and Dong Energy have expressed strong interest. In Recharge, May 5, 2016: Jeffrey Grybowski, chief executive of Deepwater Wind, said that "large projects too close to shore" stopped the offshore wind industry from moving forward this past decade. Likewise, in North American Windpower, May 9, 2016, explains DONG Energy's plans to "look for opportunities up and down the east coast."

ALTERNATIVE SITES

Background of WEAs on the Outer Continental Shelf

  • Salazar Launches 'Smart from the Start' Initiative to Speed Offshore Wind Energy Development off the Atlantic Coast (November 23, 2010)
    Since the FEIS, the federal government, recognizing the deficiencies of the Nantucket Sound site and its potential for crippling conflict and litigation, developed a plan that would prevent the rancor and delays caused by locating Cape Wind in this extremely conflicted area.

    In November of 2010, Interior launched an aggressive offshore wind energy development program called “Smart from the Start” to facilitate the siting, leasing, and construction of new offshore projects. Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) have been announced along the east coast from Massachusetts to North Carolina, confirming the current availability of numerous alternative sites all along the East Coast.

Can Cape Wind Relocate?
Despite the fact that historically Cape Wind claimed that there were no viable alternatives for its project, Energy Management, Inc., Cape Wind’s private developer, formally expressed interest in two new lease areas offshore in the joint Massachusetts/Rhode Island WEA.

If Jim Gordon, president of Cape Wind, would move his project to one of these leasing areas, he would be freed of conflict and opposition and could move forward quickly. Any increase in cost would be more than offset by public support.

But, it is NOT too late. It is the perfect time for Cape Wind to move its location from our beloved Nantucket Sound.

In the News

  • September 2014, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held the nation's third competitive lease sale for renewable energy in federal waters, which offered nearly 80,000 acres offshore Maryland for potential wind energy development.  Read More
  • June 22, 2015: U.S. Wind began surveys of offshore wind lease sites off of Ocean City, Maryland. U.S. Wind has begun surveying the sea bottom in two lease areas it won last summer off Ocean City, Maryland, where it plans to install a 500MW project later this decade.  
  • October 28, 2015: Windpower Monthly: America's Lone Offshore Champion; Deepwater Wind's CEO talks about the 30MW Block Island Wind that is currently under construction  and the company's plans for further growth. Unlike Cape Wind, Deepwater Wind used a very deliberate planning process, involving the community - defined quite broadly - from fishermen to local Native American tribes and environmentalists. That allowed them to learn more about the area and find the best location.
  • November 10, 2015: Boston Globe: Denmark's Dong Energy/Baystate Wind Pitches Huge Wind Farm off Martha's Vineyard
  • In 2016, the focus is on developing projects farther from shore in the Wind Energy Areas on the Outer Continental Shelf. Deepwater Wind and Dong Energy have expressed strong interest.  In Recharge, May 5, 2016: Jeffrey Grybowski, chief executive of Deepwater Wind, said that "large projects too close to shore" stopped the offshore wind industry from moving forward this past decade. Likewise, in North American Windpower, May 9, 2016, explains DONG Energy's plans to "look for opportunities up and down the east coast." Wind Energy could get cheaper with newer, bigger projects. Boston Globe

USA's First Offshore Wind Project Completed
Deepwater Wind off Block Island, RI will start producing power by November 1, 2016. Providence Journal

LAND-BASED WIND
Land-based wind projects, which may also have siting impacts, are significantly less expensive than Cape Wind at less than 1/3 of the cost on a per kilowatt hour basis.

Developer

Project

Size

Location

Avg price/kwh

EMI

Cape Wind

468 MW

MA offshore

>26 cents

First Wind

Bingham

186 MW

Maine

8 cents

First Wind

Oakfield

148 MW

Maine

8 cents

Iberdrola SA

Fletcher Mountain

80 MW

Maine

8 cents

Iberdrola SA

Wild Meadows

97 MW

NH

8 cents

Energy Developments

Peskotmuhkati

20 MW

Maine

8 cents

Energy Developments

Passamquoddy

38 MW

Maine

8 cents

Iberdrola SA

Hoosac Wind

29 MW

MA

<10 cents

Iberdrola SA

Groton Wind

48 MW

NH

<10 cents

First Wind

Blue Sky East

32 MW

Maine

<10 cents


HYDROPOWER AND NATURAL GAS
"Massachusetts Is Banking on Natural Gas, Renewables to Replace Retiring Plants." Worcester Business Journal

Hydropower from Quebec
Northeast Utilities will transport 1,200 megawatts of Canadian hydropower to the New England grid. Northern Pass offers green, relatively cheap Canadian hydropower. Over the lifespan of the dam, hydropower adds much less CO2 to the environment than fossil fuels, and the Northern Pass project will help New England reduce its carbon footprint significantly.

Massachusetts could follow Connecticut’s example and count large-scale hydroelectric power toward the state’s renewable-energy portfolio standard — one of the mechanisms by which Massachusetts encourages the use of green energy sources.
Read More

2015-2016, Hydro is gaining favor in Massachusetts. South Coast Today: "Hydro, Windpower Could Face Tug of War in Beacon Hill Energy Talks."
"Cabral said Gov. Baker's energy bill is 'heavy on the hydroside,' as opposed to offshore wind." 

Natural Gas
Natural gas is an extremely important source of energy for reducing pollution and maintaining a clean and healthy environment. In addition to being a domestically abundant and secure source of energy, the use of natural gas also offers a number of environmental benefits over other sources of energy, particularly other fossil fuels.

Natural gas-fired generation displaced substantial amounts of electricity output from coal-fired generation in 2012. Due to low natural gas prices, the nation’s fleet of natural gas-fired combined-cycle plants was more heavily used than at any time in the past decade.

Natural gas-fired generation reached 31 percent of total net generation in 2012, up from 25 percent in 2011. Coal-fired generation fell to 39 percent of total net generation, down from 43 percent in 2011.

Electricity Prices Decline Nationwide: Average on-peak prices for electricity were lower in 2012 than in 2011. The lower prices followed natural gas prices, a major determinant of electricity prices. Low natural gas prices have largely been responsible for relatively low electricity prices since the beginning of 2009.
Read More