Opponents of Cape Wind, the 130-turbine wind energy project slated for construction in Nantucket Sound, have filed a ballot question that would require energy companies such as NStar and National Grid to compete for the right to distribute energy from renewable projects
Coming from the administration of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick — who appoints the members of both DOER and DPU — the request to delay the utility merger could be an effort to force NStar to buy power from the proposed Cape Wind renewable energy project, which would financially hurt the NStar electric subsidiary.
Those high costs will mean high costs for ratepayers. The likely cost for electricity from Cape Wind, the controversial wind project located off of Cape Code, will be about $0.21 per kilowatt-hour – if that project ever gets built.
For millions of Massachusetts residents worried about soaring electric bills, the destruction of Nantucket Sound, the loss of commercial fishing and tourism, and the desecration of tribal land - the tide is turning
The few new jobs will likely not go to Cape Codders — just the higher electricity rates, burdensome financial responsibility for taxpayers, and a deleterious impact on the delicate ecological balance of the Sound that no one can possibly predict until it is too late.
State lawmakers gave every Massachusetts utility the same order in 2008: Buy more power from renewable energy sources.
But the state’s two largest utilities came back with vastly different deals, especially in price.
The DOI is initiating the process to offer the first commercial wind lease under the “Smart from the Start” Atlantic Offshore Wind program, off the coast of Delaware. The decision follows a determination that there is no competitive interest for commercial wind energy development in this area of the Outer Continental Shelf, precluding the need for competitive bidding.
There has never been any public input on the 400 square miles of ocean wind turbines agreed to in a memorandum of understanding between Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and former Gov. Donald Carcieri of Rhode Island.
NStar has objected to buying offshore wind power from Cape Wind on the grounds that the price is too high. The project’s rate of 18.7 cents per kilowatt hour — more than double the normal rate from fossil fuel power —has sparked major debate about the cost of renewable power and whether ratepayers should be asked to subsidize it.
In this case, the devil is in the costs: The electricity from one proposed wind farm set to be built off the Massachusetts shore is expected to cost about double the normal rate. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has stated that the cost of producing electricity from wind needs to come down so that it's competitive without subsidies.
The Patrick-controlled DPU has changed the rules of the game at half-time, and established an ambiguous standard that both exceeds the department’s authority and is vulnerable to political influence. The merger should be evaluated as to its costs, benefits and the impact on the safe, efficient and reliable delivery of electricity. Stretching the standard of regulation in an attempt to further the governor’s dreams of a wind-powered world is plain wrong.
Many insiders are convinced the Patrick administration wants to use the decision as leverage to pressure NStar to buy the other half of the power output of Cape Wind, which would allow the offshore wind project to move forward as planned.
Evergreen Solar Inc. will shut its Devens manufacturing plant in the next 10 days, but doesn’t expect to have to repay state incentives for several years, according to chief executive Michael El-Hillow and financial filings. The company also said yesterday that it expects to cut 20 jobs at its Marlborough headquarters by the end of the year. Those cuts, in areas such as sales and human resources, would be in addition to the 800 jobs eliminated at the Devens plant.
Cape Wind opponents, citing NSTAR's contracts with lower cost wind projects, have filed a motion with state regulators requesting that they reopen the agreement between the offshore wind farm and National Grid, the State House News reported. The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound claims the contract with National Grid will force Massachusetts businesses and customers to pay $1.2 billion in above-market energy costs.
The news tells us that now the state is going to mandatethat the proposed merger between “Boston utility NStar and the Connecticut-based Northeast Utilities, will be held to a stricter standard that will probably put more pressure on the companies to increase the use of non-polluting energy sources such as wind and solar power.” Please write Letters to the Editors!
For years we've been hearing how beneficial, and affordable, the electricity would be from the proposed turbines that Cape Wind wants to build in Nantucket Sound.
We now know that this electricity would cost over 75 percent more than from land-based wind turbines and over 150 percent more in 10 years. And that doesn't include the millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies given to Cape Wind to build the turbines. NStar sensibly declined to purchase electricity from Cape Wind at that price.
Cape Wind opponents, citing NSTAR's contracts with lower cost wind projects, have filed a motion with state regulators requesting that they reopen the agreement between the offshore wind farm and National Grid.
The federal government has released a plan for how the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm will be built and operated. Opponents of the project immediately decried the two-week comment period on an environmental assessment for the 871-page plan. Such assessments are used to determine if changes to a project require more extensive review.
Federal regulators released a plan last week describing how the planned Cape Wind offshore wind project will be built and operated, the Cape Cod Times reported today.
The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound — the primary Cape Wind opposition — criticized the two-week comment period on an environmental assessment for the 871-page document. The comment period ends on March 9.
Cape Cod Times: 2/24/11 Stop proliferation of wind turbines
By DONALD DuBERGER
I am 50 years old and have lived on Cape Cod for more than 40 years. I think I know better what is best for Cape Cod than any political appointee from who-knows-where with a cowboy hat and an agenda.
As a sitting planning board member in Bourne, I have been involved with the writing of our initial and since-amended turbine bylaw. I have benefited from many hours of testimony from both applicants and representatives from the turbine industry.
NStar Corp. quietly filed with state regulators late last week three wind-power contracts that will provide electricity at prices that are both competitive with fossil fuels and significantly cheaper than Cape Wind.
A proposal by NSTAR to purchase power from three wind energy companies confirms that Massachusetts utilities can provide plentiful amounts of renewable electricity without saddling ratepayers with expensive projects like Cape Wind.
Energy costsNSTAR sought state approval Friday to buy 109 megawatts of electricity from Hoosac Wind of Massachusetts, Groton Wind of New Hampshire and Blue Sky East of Maine. The competitively bid contracts range between 10 and 15 years and together represent 1.6 percent of the total demand from NStar’s 1.1 million customers in 81 eastern Massachusetts communities.
Comment Talking Points:
● The designation of this area before MSP has occurred is putting the cart ahead of the horse.
● A comprehensive ocean zoning plan would classify areas like Nantucket Sound – where multiple public use values, marine & air navigation safety, and protected resources are at stake – to be off-limits to energy development.
● Under the RFI, developers will now stake out their tracts of the ocean. Given the DOI’s rush to develop renewable energy anywhere regardless of the impacts, as confirmed by Cape Wind, it will then be too late for MSP.
● Action should be withheld on conferring development rights in the RFI until the President’s commitment to MSP has been honored in a meaningful way.
● The issuance of this RFI confirms that an extensive zone is available as an alternative to Cape Wind’s targeted location in Nantucket Sound. This area must now be considered as an alternative site in the federal review of Cape Wind.
● If the DOI wants to be “smart of the start”, it will use the RFI planning process to incorporate MSP at the front end of offshore wind development and, within that context, move the Cape Wind project. Sound ocean management, not meeting an arbitrary megawatt development goal by 2012, should be the guiding principle.
Why did the Patrick administration so avidly pursue Evergreen? Because in Massachusetts, when it comes to spending scarce state tax dollars, it is ideology — not due diligence, the prospect for jobs or even common sense — that is the driving force. Now Patrick is embarked on a new green energy mission that promises to create an even greater financial crater for Massachusetts than the one that’s been left by Evergreen.
As a result of adverse public comments, the bureau is withdrawing the direct final rule and will instead proceed with a more conventional rulemaking process to make the change. BOEMRE expects to issue a proposed rule within the next month and initiate a 30-day public comment period.
Will the Patrick administration hold hostage the proposed merger of NStar Corp. and Northeast Utilities until NStar agrees to buy the rest of Cape Wind’s power output?
Regulators have already approved the sale of half of Cape Wind’s electricity to National Grid, but the nation’s first offshore wind project hasn’t been able to find a buyer for the other half. NStar, which has 1.1 million gas and electric customers in Greater Boston, Worcester County, the South Shore, Cape Cod, and Martha’s Vineyard, has shown little interest in Cape Wind so far. But that may change as it seeks regulatory approval for its merger with Northeast Utilities, the parent company of Connecticut Light and Power, Connecticut’s Yankee Gas, Public Service of New Hampshire, and Western Massachusetts Electric.
Politicians always seem to show up for the green energy ribbon-cuttings but somehow they manage to miss the plant closings. Evergreen Solar is indeed a "symbol"—of the folly of taxpayer green subsidies.
I write to express my outrage that the commonwealth is now electing to pursue wind technology on land on Cape Cod, after already attempting to rob us of our cherished history and legacy in Nantucket Sound.
Don’t be misled by the inflated promises of Cape Wind’s public relations people — construction of this flawed and overpriced project is nowhere near ready to go, and likely never will be. For the sake of all of you who would have to pay for this massive energy Big Dig if it is allowed to go forward, the half-truths and exaggerations made in Mark Rodgers’ op-ed ("The Trickle-Down Effect of Cape Wind," Jan. 3, 2011) need to be addressed.
U.S. Sen. Scott Brown yesterday expressed reservations about a proposal for huge offshore wind farms south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, questioning whether the costs are too high and whether there’s enough local support.
Aided by at least $43 million in assistance from the government of Massachusetts and an innovative solar energy technology, Evergreen Solar emerged in the last three years as the third-largest maker of solar panels in the United States.
But now the company is closing its main American factory, laying off the 800 workers by the end of March and shifting production to a joint venture with a Chinese company in central China. Evergreen cited the much higher government support available in China.
– Eight months after the Obama administration approved what it hopes will be America’s flagship offshore industrial wind energy factory in the waters of Nantucket Sound that are sacred to the Wampanoag nations, the Cape Wind project is swamped in litigation filed by a rising tide of opposition.
Cape Cod Times Letter to the Editor by John Arnold: "I believe Cape Wind is potentially the biggest technical failure in US history, masquerading as a "greening" project but really a ginormous and unfair windfall for EMI investors at the expense of MA taxpayers."
Assembly seeks stricter regulations for wind turbines:
The Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates demonstrated that foresight also can be used wisely to assess the still-evolving controversy over wind turbines for Cape Cod.
They rejected a proposal that would have set standards for land-based turbines under the Cape Cod Commission's Regional Policy Plan. The proposed standards for local wind-energy projects and regulations governing them, they determined, are too lenient.
Massachusetts regulators yesterday approved an electricity rate deal between Cape Wind and National Grid that could force consumers and businesses to pay $1.4 billion extra on their energy bills over 15 years.
“This decision will not only raise costs for our members, but also establishes a dangerous precedent of regulatory rubber-stamping of renewable energy contracts with absolutely no concern for the ratepayer,” said Robert Rio, vice president at the Associated Industries of Massachusetts.
The state Department of Public Utilities is expected to decide this week whether the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm is a good deal for consumers.
Cape Wind and National Grid had asked for a decision by today but sources with knowledge of the proceedings said the agency's ruling is likely to come later in the week.
The DPU first took up the question of whether Cape Wind is cost-effective after National Grid agreed in May to buy half the power generated by the project's 130 turbines.
Since that time, the agency has received an avalanche of filings about the deal from opponents and supporters. In September, the three-person state board responsible for reviewing electricity and gas rates held several weeks of hearings on the case.
Gov. Deval Patrick is preparing to announce that a New Bedford port has been selected by Cape Wind as the staging area for its project, a decision the administration says will cost taxpayers about $35 million
The poll by Boston based Bernett Research is based on telephone interviews with 300 National Grid ratepayers from communities across MA conducted Oct 6 through Oct 9 and has a margin of error of +/- 5.7 percent. 70% want to reject the Cape Wind project.
LOWELL -- The Cape Wind project will feature hundreds of turbines off Nantucket Sound, but thousands of ratepayers in Greater Lowell communities will be the ones seeing their energy bills rise because of the $2 billion offshore wind farm.
All too many have given up since the U.S. secretary of the Interior deemed it a done deal. Not me, nor many of the people who have become aware of what this industrial power plant has in store for Cape Cod, the Islands and the people of Massachusetts.
Falmouth is so troubled today. If, say, each of those 610 turbines Gov. Patrick wants displaces five families, that's more than 3,000 families forced to move away. If they sue developers at $500,000 a home, that's a $1.5 billion problem in Vacationland!
Telegragh.co.uk: 9/25/10 - Thanet wind farm will milk us of billions by Christopher Booker. A crucial first step towards getting some grip on reality must be for those who report on these wind farms to stop hiding away the colossal price we are all now having to pay for one of the greatest scams of our age.
Martha's Vineyard Times Editorial: 9/23/10 It's time to rethink this whole business of turbines, land-based and at sea. There's no benefit to the individual, who often ends up paying higher energy bills; little benefit to the town besides (sometimes) an initial cash payment; a questionable benefit to the grid, especially when you calculate the energy costs of installing these behemoths and the necessity of fallback energy when the wind doesn't blow; but lots of benefits to the developers who are described ... as carpetbaggers, pod people, and traveling salesmen for whom the only green that counts is the color of money."
New York Times: 9/20/10 Opinionator - Windfall in New York by Stanley Fish.There is a David and Goliath aspect to these battles between heavily funded corporate interests and citizen activists who come out and stand in the rain with home-made signs. Will the NIMBY’s — a designation one should wear with pride — really be able to do something, as they did in Meredith, or will the forces of darkness masking as environmental crusaders prevail?
Boston Herald: 9/01/10 Editorial:Of rights and wind - There is enormous wisdom coming out of the Supreme Judicial Court in yesterday’s Cape Wind ruling.Sad to say that wisdom was found in the dissenting opinion offered by Chief Justice Margaret Marshall and will, therefore, be little more than a footnote in the long and tortured history of this project.
Boston Herald: 8/30/10 Cape Wind foes want Grid contracts axed - Cape Wind opponents are urging state regulators to dismiss contracts between the offshore wind power developers and National Grid, citing the state’s recent rejection of three contracts filed by Nstar.