PROVIDENCE – The group of stakeholders who are evaluating potential sites for a state-built wind farm had more questions about the project’s impact yesterday, including how it will look from land and how it will affect recreational and commercial fishing.
Governor Carcieri has proposed building a power-generating facility on the scale of the proposed Cape Wind project off Cape Cod that would be large enough to generate 15 percent of the state’s electricity. Depending on where it is situated, it could cost $900 million to $1.9 billion to build.
The stakeholders group is made up of about 35 representatives of various municipalities, agencies and organizations. They were invited to participate by the governor’s office.
The group is charged with identifying which of 11 potential sites would be best to place a wind-energy project, known as RI Winds.
Lanny Dellinger, president of the Rhode Island Lobsterman Association, said that two areas being considered, off the South County shore, are prime areas for several kinds of fishing, including for squid. He said that those areas are just now recovering from the 1996 North Cape oil spill, in which a barge that ran ashore off Moonstone Beach, spilling diesel fuel. Construction of a wind farm would be expected to deplete fishing in that area again.
“There are millions of dollars worth of squid processed” from those waters, Dellinger said. “I would hate to see that area get lost,” he said.
Curt Spalding, executive director of Save the Bay, said the group needed to see how the project would look from land at each proposed site before the stakeholders can make an informed recommendation.
“This is the most important thing – how it looks,” Spalding said. “We can talk all day about everything else but this is it. We all know the Cape Wind issue.”
Cape Wind Associates, which has been seeking permission to build a wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts for several years, has faced opposition from some Cape and island residents, many of whom have said the wind turbines would detract from the view of Nantucket Sound.
Roger Williams University is working to develop photographs to simulate how the wind farms would look from various places, said Daniel L. Mendelsohn, of Applied Technology Management, the Newport consultant hired by the state to move the wind project forward.
Those pictures are expected to be ready by the next stakeholders’ meeting, Wednesday, at the University of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay campus.
Andrew Dzykewicz, chief energy adviser to the governor, says he hopes the group can come to a consensus for a site.
By Timothy C. Barmann
Journal Staff Writer
25 October 2007
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