Gov. Donald L. Carcieri this afternoon will announce a plan to seek bids from private developers to build and operate a 1.3-megawatt offshore wind farm in state waters.
Carcieri will unveil details of the plan at a Statehouse press conference at 1 p.m., alongside Andrew Dzykewicz, commissioner of the R.I. Office of Energy Resources and the governor’s chief energy adviser, and other guests.
A large wind farm would go a long way towards meeting Carcieri’s goal of securing 15 percent of the state’s energy needs through clean-energy sources.
In seeking a developer capable of starting work to build a wind farm right now, the governor is flouting a proposal by the staff of the state agency charged with permitting projects in state waters to put a one-year moratorium on development proposals.
Grover Fugate, executive director of the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council, has argued the moratorium is needed to give the agency time to draft regulations for wind projects, which would ultimately speed the lengthy permitting process.
State officials were caught off guard last fall when Allco Renewable Energy Group, a New York-based company, proposed erecting hundreds of wind turbines off Rhode Island’s coast.
The company, which earlier this month announced a plan to build in western Coventry the largest solar farm east of Colorado, said it did not oppose the moratorium as long as CRMC developed regulations that streamlined the approval process.
But Carcieri said the moratorium would send the wrong message to the development community. A handful of key environmental groups also opposed the moratorium on grounds that CRMC has not made enough information public about the process it would use to draft new water regulations.
“I think the governor is an unapologetic, forward-thinking advocate for renewable” energy, W. Michael Sullivan, executive director of the R.I. Dept. of Environmental Management and Carcieri’s appointment to the CRMC, said in support of the governor’s planned announcement.
By David Ortiz
PBN Staff Writer
3 April 2008
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