PROVIDENCE – Gov. Donald L. Carcieri’s chief energy adviser this morning said a New York company’s interest in building a large wind energy project off Rhode Island’s coast is “extremely premature.” At this time, the proposal is not seen as a viable option for alternative energy development in the state.
“This was an unsolicited proposal that apparently came in,” Andrew Dzykewicz, executive director of the R.I. Office of Energy Resources, told Providence Business News. “These people are trying to find out what the process is. That’s all it is.”
The Allco Renewable Energy Group Ltd. – an investment bank that specializes in energy projects – has submitted a preliminary request to erect 235 to 338 wind turbines in state waters just off Block Island, Little Compton and Watch Hill, the Providence Journal reported this morning.
On Sept. 21, the company submitted an informal plan and an $8,000 application fee outlining its intentions to the Coastal Resources Management Council, which regulates the state’s waters.
Dzykewicz said he learned two weeks ago that the application had been filed, but he hasn’t seen it yet.
“I was aware that some people had filed sort of a fishing expedition permit application. It doesn’t really rise above that level,” he said.
But based on what he already knows about the proposal, Dzykewicz said the Allco plan probably wouldn’t be considered, because the company wants to sell the electricity it generates in Rhode Island on the open market.
“We’re looking for wind power in Rhode Island for Rhode Island, which means we’re not going to be looking favorably on any sort of a proposal that includes a pool-sale of the generated electricity,” he said.
Dzykewicz said he is concerned that news of Allco’s proposal could undermine the “fragile” work of a group of stakeholders who were assembled by Carcieri to pick a site in Rhode Island waters for a wind farm and participate in shaping the project.
On Oct. 31, the stakeholders group – which includes business people, environmentalists and community leaders – met for the fourth time to choose among 11 potential locations for a wind energy project. Although Oct. 31 was their self-imposed deadline to narrow the choices, no decision was made.
“I just want to assure everybody that’s involved in this thing that what I’ve been telling them is absolutely correct – we’re going to keep them involved through the design process and though the permitting process,” Dzykewicz said.
“We want a Rhode Island process for Rhode Islanders. That’s the bottom line.”
Additional information about Rhode Island energy programs and policies is available from the R.I. Office of Energy Resources at www.energy.ri.gov.
By David Ortiz
PBN Staff Writer
16 November 2007
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