LOCE Wind and Wave Energy Weblog

The web's first ocean and offshore wind energy weblog. Continuously renewed, like the ocean itself.

Friday, August 01, 2003

Fishermen Don't Support Offshore Wind

As reported in this piece from Capecodonline.com (7/31/03), local fishermen do not support the Cape Wind project. In fact, as reported, 300 fishermen signed a petition to the Ocean Task force, asserting that the wind farms proposed for Cape Cod and other coastal areas could harm fisheries and create navigational hazards. Fishermen have identified the following issues:
"Our concern is 130 turbines will upset the balance of nature and the environment in the sound," she said, referring to the Nantucket Sound wind farm proposed by Cape Wind associates.

Dave Bergeron of the Massachusetts Fisherman's Project said fishermen are concerned about safety hazards posed by turbines.

"I have never talked to a single fisherman who supports the (Cape Wind) farm in that location," he said. "From our point of view they pose a hazard to fishermen. This is not an aesthetic concern, this is about jobs."

A Proposal for State Approval Over Federally Sited Projects

It's one thing to want to regulate offshore wind but it's another to go so far as to propose broad legislation which would give states the power to approve siting on federal lands managed by the federal government. But apparently, that's what's being suggested as a back handed way to obfuscate or perhaps prevent development of the Cape Wind projects proposed for the Nantucket Shoals, as reported inKennedy May Attempt to waylay Cape Wind Farm
Doreen Leggett, townonline.com (July 30, 2003) and
Kennedy Retreats on Wind Farms, Stephanie Ebbert, Boston Globe 7/31/03. According to the article, proposed amendments would give states the power to influence the siting of wind projects, even in federal waters or federal lands.
"It would give states veto power on a wide variety of wind projects, just wind projects, on federal lands," said Marchant Wentworth, the legislative representative on clean energy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, which opposes any moratoriums on wind farms.
Although Senator Kennedy originally expressed interest in these proposals, he backed off following substantial constituent opposition as reported in the previous articles and detailed further in this piece from
Solar Access.com

As representatives from the federal Bureau of Land Management point out, the proposal flies in the face of the government's own efforts to encourage wind development on federal lands." The Bureau of Land Management has recently come up with a policy that invites wind developers to submit applications for leasing.

Would states then have authority over other federally based projects - thereby adding yet another layer of bureaucracy to the regulatory approval process? But if state approval is limited to wind, why is that so - why do states have more of an interest in regulating federal development of wind than other federally sited projects? And for offshore projects, states are always going to play a substantial role because the power must be brought ashore through transmission lines that will be laid on state lands. Thus, for offshore wind, states already play a greater role in the siting process than with other types of projects sited on federal lands.

LIPA Celebrates Five Year Anniversary; Recognized for Focus on Renewables

This article,
LIPA Marks A Milestone
, zwire, July 31, 2003 reports on LIPA's accomplishments during its five years in existence, including promoting use of renewable and alternative power (such as offshore wind):

LIPA is also exploring alternative-energy sources. It wants an energy company to build the Atlantic coast's first offshore wind farm, roughly three miles off Jones Beach. Thus far, the proposal has found support among many environmentalists and Merrick-Bellmore residents who don't want to see more power plants built because of the health and environmental risks they pose.
The wind farm, however, has raised the ire of open-space advocates who contend that the collection of windmills, which would rise 22 stories into the air, would destroy the view of the Atlantic from Jones Beach.
LIPA also recently oversaw construction of the world's largest commercial solar-energy installation, in Farmingdale. And at a handful of businesses, it has developed small geothermal projects, which use water trapped far below the surface to cool or heat a building.
Alternative-energy technology, however, is in its infancy, and is nowhere near capable of becoming the Island's main power supplier. The Farmingdale solar project, for example, is huge, but can only light the office building upon which it rests, or 1,000 homes.
The power authority has pursued construction of one or more underwater cables to supply the Island with electricity from the mainland, hoping they would reduce the need for power plants. Most notable among them is the cross-Sound cable, which has been built, but its use has been delayed so far by Connecticut lawmakers, who contend that the cable would unfairly siphon much-needed electricity from their state. The authority has also sought a cable or cables on the South Shore, but hasn't yet been able to finalize a deal.

More Review for Wind Farms

Seems like wind farms are becoming the new nuclear power plants what with all the proposed regulation. This article Wind Farms Targeted For Stricter Review , AP (July 26, 2003) reports on new proposals to regulate wind. Apparently one of the criticisms of the existing regime is that "there is no federal regulatory process for approving the gangly producers of renewable energy." Project opponents say local communities should have a say in the projects, which can have a broad impact on the environment and aesthetics. In addition, lawmakers also want the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to have a say in how projects fit into a region's energy needs - even though traditionally, siting of generation has been a matter for state regulatory bodies.

Cape Wind Hoping for Production Tax Credit

According to this report, Cape Wind Eyes Subsidy, Jack Coleman, Cape Cod Online (7/26/03), the proposed wind production tax credit in the Senate Energy bill would provide Cape Wind Associates with $28 million annually for 10 years once the project's 130 turbines were up and running. Cape Wind president James Gordon admits that the subsidy is critical, explaingin that: "It would be tough to do it without the (production tax credit)," Gordon said.

Historian Opposes History Making Wind Farm

That the Cape Wind project might make history as the first offshore wind farm in the United States apparently holds no sway with Historian David McCullough who "denounces" the project as reported in this article by John Leaning, Cape Cod Online (July 26, 2003). According to the article, a radio ad by McCullough, a year-round resident of West Tisbury, asks: "How would you feel if you heard that in one of the most beautiful unspoiled places in all America, a sprawling factory was to be built?" Apparently, McCullough believes that the proposed wind farm - "to call it a wind farm is to romanticize what in fact is a factory" - would transform Nantucket Sound "into a 24-square-mile city with fog horns and hundreds of blinking lights.