Wind Power News: Rhode Island
These news and opinion items are gathered by National Wind Watch to help keep readers informed about developments related to industrial wind energy. They are the products of the organizations or individuals noted and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of National Wind Watch.
It’s a tiny island with a big claim to fame. “We, the smallest town in the smallest state in the United States, have the very first offshore wind farm and we should be so proud,” Nancy Dodge of the Block Island Power Company Board said earlier this month. Her enthusiastic comments came as Block Island turned off its diesel generators, and started using offshore wind power as its source of electricity. That switch officially happened on May 1 after years . . .
After an Eyewitness News investigation in April revealed a toppled 100-foot wind turbine was “missing bolts” for nearly a year, a state lawmaker is calling for a House Oversight Committee investigation. State Rep. Jason Knight, D-Barrington, said he was livid after our report revealed nothing was done to make repairs to the wind turbine at Salty Brine beach before its collapse. A public records request uncovered an email from an inspection company sent to two R.I. Department of Environmental Management . . .
WEST WARWICK – The town council passed a 6-month moratorium on wind energy projects this week, putting a temporary halt on related development until December 31, 2017. West Warwick Town Council Vice President John D’Amico proposed made the proposal, citing that it would be beneficial to implement until the town finishes revisions for its wind energy ordinance and updates to the Comprehensive Plan. D’Amico said he has been working with zoning board solicitor Albert DiFiore to rewrite the zoning code on . . .
A strong storm last month sent a 100-foot wind turbine toppling over at Salty Brine State Beach in Narragansett. Eyewitness News dug into the turbine’s history and uncovered state officials were warned the tower may have been unstable nearly a year before it fell. Wind gusts up to 60 mph on March 14 snapped the $32,000 state-funded structure in half. Unveiled in 2010, it was built to withstand winds up to 130 mph. In response to a public records request . . .
“The legislation would essentially allow industrial-scale uses — power plants — on properties that are often residentially zoned and may be in close proximity to residential neighborhoods,” Maria Mack, chairwoman of the South Kingstown Planning Board, said during a recent hearing at the Statehouse. Mack said the bill takes away local siting control while omitting standards for fences, view shed, wildlife and decommissioning of the wind turbine or solar array. There is also no requirement for a public hearing for a proposed project, she added. “It appears that the primary beneficiaries of the proposal might be the investors of these facilities,” Mack said.
While Interim President Jeffery Wright of the Block Island Power Company called it “good news” that Block Island’s 2,000 ratepayers will no longer be subjected to the almost daily fluctuating costs of diesel fuel when the island switches over to wind power, he said he was also “disappointed” that unexpectedly revised costs for the new substation and the transmission cable will lessen the hoped-for savings for BIPCo customers. The reason Block Island power rates will stabilize is because the members . . .
COVENTRY – The town has started the process of amending its code of ordinances to allow for the taxation of renewable energy systems like wind turbines and solar panels. The amendment to the tax code would include a standard tangible property tax for commercial operations. Starting in 2017, cities and towns can now collect a tax on renewable installations of $5 per kW, as determined by the state’s Office of Energy Resources. The council considered a draft of the ordinance Monday . . .
New England states have considered imposing economywide carbon fees before, but this year’s efforts have taken on a sense of urgency with an administration in Washington that is rolling back policies to control power-sector greenhouse gas emissions. The states already attack greenhouse gases as members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program for buying and selling pollution credits aimed at ratcheting down emissions across New England and in New York, Delaware and Maryland. Renewed legislative efforts recognize . . .
COVENTRY – Residents in Greene say they are becoming increasingly concerned and frustrated over the effects of the turbines installed in Western Coventry by Wind Energy Development, LLC. A number of neighbors attended the Town Council meeting Monday to speak out about their issues with the turbines, as well as a proposal by CEO Mark DePasquale to to build a solar energy system off of Carrs Trail. Wind Energy Development was originally on the agenda that evening for a proposal by . . .
On Monday, March 20, the R.I. Division of Public Utilities and Carriers (the Division) rebuffed the Block Island Power Company’s request to socialize the cost of connecting two substations on the island. The opinion was sent in a memorandum by the Division to the Public Utilities Commission. Docket 4688 requested that the cost of the interconnection between the new National Grid substation and BIPCo’s existing substation be spread to all of National Grid’s customers in Rhode Island, as opposed to . . .