LOCE Wind and Wave Energy Weblog

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

Monday, October 04, 2004

Another New Renewable Energy Blog

We've just learned about a new weblog, Renewable Energy Law Blog which "provides up-to-date news and commentary on the things you need to know about now – from the publication of new legal decisions and changes in state and federal regulations, to articles on new methods for evaluating site impacts and discussion of emergent industry trends." The Renewable Energy Law Blog addresses all renewables issues, not just offshore renewable development - so it makes a worthwhile companion reader to this weblog.

Massachusetts Still Looking for Ways to Expand Jurisdiction Over Cape Wind

This article, State looks at sea boundary with one eye on wind farm , John Leaning,
Cape Cod Online (10/4/04) reports that:
two rocky formations off Cape Cod's southern coast are being evaluated as potential sites from which to measure a new state territorial sea boundary.
If these formations qualify as "baseline points" to redefine the state's three-mile limit, a portion of the proposed wind farm in Nantucket Sound might be included within the new state boundary, opening the potential of more state jurisdiction over at least a part of the hotly contested project.

However, it is unclear how much an expansion of the state boundary will matter, since much of the project will still remain outside the scope of the state. Moreover, a Cape Wind representative quoted in the article said that if the state's three-mile boundary does shift to include part of the project, Cape Wind will simply align the wind turbines to ensure they are outside state territory and jurisdiction.

More Money for Development of Deep Offshore Wind Farms

This press release,
Deep Offshore Wind Farms - Atlantis Power LLC Offers 45% Equity to Raise USD2million in Seed Capital
announces that "Offshore Source LLC of Texas and Innovaxin Consulting of Malta, have today announced their 45% sale in shareholding in Atlantis Power LLC aimed at raising USD2m capital to kick-off the commercial process in launching the first deep offshore wind farm operating in up to 120m of water and sustaining three 2MW wind turbines."

The press release describes:
Offshore wind farms are inherently a permanent structure. Maintenance has to be done out at sea. using specialized heavy lift equipment. Even their construction is a complex civil engineering operation that has to be done offshore. With the Trident Class deep offshore platform, wind farms operators have the possibility to assemble the platform with the wind turbines along dock and tow it to the site using no expensive heavy lift floating cranes. Critical maintenance can be done along dock and eventually decommissioning is a question of jacking down the platforms and towing them away.

"Deep offshore wind farms are the ideal candidate for densely habited
coastal cities or islands. Offshore wind is some 5 to 10% more stronger. Aesthetic effect is minimized. Impact on the environment is nearly negligible. Most importantly the cost of the platform and their siting and commissioning is comparable with that of their onshore cousins when including cost of land acquisition, road building and landscaping. The premium offshore wind tops up the difference and make deep offshore wind farms highly cost effective and efficient operations"

New York Passes Ambitious RPS Target

New York's Public Service Commission has voted to enact an ambitious renewables portfolio standard as reported here (SolarAccess.com)(9/23/04). The new goal of 25 percent, however, will be met mostly through non-hydro renewables like wind power, solar, and fuel cells. The article continues:

"The development and use of more renewable energy resources has been a long-standing policy objective of New York State, and Governor Pataki strengthened that commitment when he proposed the 25 percent goal in his 2003 State of the State address," Commission Chairman William M. Flynn said. "The policy we are adopting today balances a wide range of interests. Not only will it help us meet our growing demand for electricity, but it also will provide additional benefits by increasing fuel diversity for our state's generation portfolio, reducing our exposure to fossil fuel price spikes and supply interruptions, increasing economic development activity from a growing renewable energy industry, and improving our environment.

Still, several important policy decisions remain including:
determining what types of facilities should be eligible for participation in the RPS Program, choosing an appropriate procurement structure, and identifying issues that must be addressed during the RPS implementation phase. Other key policy decisions include establishing two tiers of eligible resources, recognizing the importance of the state's existing green marketing program by relying on it to provide at least one percent of the renewable sales necessary to meet the overall 25 percent goal, and committing to a review of the RPS in 2009.

Kerry Takes No Position on Offshore Cape Wind Project

Kerry is waiting to pass judgment on the proposed Cape Wind Project until he reviews the Corps' EIS, as reported in this article, Kerry Yet To Take A Position on Giant Wind-Power Project , Hal Bernton, Seattle Times (9/30/04). According to the article, Kerry does support renewable energy but for whatever reason, hasn't yet taken a stand on Cape Wind:

"I believe we can — and should — produce 20 percent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2020," Kerry said in a June 2003 speech on energy delivered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "Twenty by 2020 — now that's a clear vision for America."
But Kerry's vision is not yet clear on whether he supports the largest wind-power project ever proposed in the United States. The project would erect 130 turbine-topped towers in the middle of blustery Nantucket Sound, a site touted by the developer as the best wind-power site in New England.

So far, Kerry has balked at endorsing the project, saying he is waiting to review an Army Corps of Engineers draft report expected to be released later this fall.

"I believe that wind energy can, and should play an important role in supplying a portion of our future energy needs," Kerry said in a written response to The Seattle Times. "The Cape Wind project is the first of its kind in the nation. And like ... major environmental groups, I will wait until the Environmental Impact Study is complete before making a final decision on the project."

Korea to Build Tidal Power Plant

This article,
Construction of Shihwa Lake Tidal Power Plant Begins Next Month
, Jae-Seong Hwang, (9/30/04) reports the following:

This November, the construction of the world’s largest tidal power plant will begin at Ansan City’s Shihwa Lake in Gyeonggi Province, and next year, the construction of an experimental current power plant will start in Haenam County at Uldol-mok...The Shihwa tidal power plant will be able to generate 254,000 kW per hour using the flow of seawater into Shihwa Lake, which is above that of the La Rance power plant of France (200,000 kW per hour), the current largest tidal power plant, and matches the total electricity demand of Ansan City’s 500,000 population.
The assumed construction cost is 355.1 billion won, and the Korea Water Resources Corporation will provide the total amount.

Kim Jin-oh, the deputy director of the Korea Energy Economics Institute, explained, “With the construction cost of the Shihwa tidal power plant, you could build a 340,000 kW coal thermoelectric power plant, a 450,000 kW diesel thermoelectric power plant, and a 670,000 kW LNG thermoelectric power plant,” and added, “A tidal power plant has the merit of no additional fuel costs.”

Here in the US, tidal plants have long been regarded as "un-permittable" - falling into the category with that other forbidden source of energy, nuclear power. Thus, it will be interesting to study the environmental impacts of this project are still so substantial as to outweigh the benefits of lowered emissions and no fuel costs.

Wave Energy Project for Rhode Island

Here's a Press Release (9/7/2004) announcing a wave energy project proposed off the coast of Rhode Island, GreenWave Rhode Island. The proposed pilot, which will be located more than a mile off the coast of Rhode Island is an estimated $3.5 million project to convert ocean waves into clean electricity.

According to the press release:
The pilot project, planned to operate for three years, has received $1 million in planning and development funds from the renewable energy funds of three New England states (Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut). Company officials said the facility is planned as a not-for-profit operation intended to demonstrate the commercial viability of its wave energy technology. Research for the project is being conducted by the University of Rhode Island (URI), world-renowned for oceanographic science and education.

Offshore Wind Projects Continue To Be Proposed

According to this article, Wind energy proposals advancing in Mass., N.Y. , Todd Bates, Asbury Park Press (9/26/04), proposals for offshore wind farms in several other states are progressing - though some, like Cape Wind, also face opposition. Among projects going forward, he Long Island Power Authority has selected Florida Power & Light to be the developer of a Long Island offshore wind project, said Michael Lowndes, a spokesman for the Uniondale, N.Y.-based authority.
The LIPA project would include 25 to 50 wind turbines no closer than 2.5 nautical miles off Jones Beach, Long Island, according to a statement on LIPA's Web site.

And off the coast of neighboring New Jersey, a New York company, Winergy, has proposed a development of 98 windmills off the Monmouth County coast in New Jersey, as reported in Opposition pledges no breeze for windmills , Asbury Park Press (10/3/04). But as the article reports, U.S. Rep. Frank J. Pallone Jr., D-N.J., who represents much of coastal Monmouth County plans to introduce a bill setting a moratorium on offshore wind farms in the mid-Atlantic until a comprehensive study of all potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts is done.

More Delays for Cape Wind

The Army Corps has delayed release of its draft environmental impact statement for the Cape Wind Project, according to this article,
Environmental review of Cape Winds project delayed

(AP) (9/24/04). According to a Corps representative quoted in the article, the Corps is ``optimistically hoping [the draft EIS] will come out in October."

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Cape Wind Project to Be Subject to Review By Pentagon

Apparently, the Pentagon will have a say in the Cape Wind Project according to this
article, Pentagon to review Cape Wind project report , Jay Fitzgerald, Boston Herald (9/29/04). A spokesman for the Corps quoted in the article said it's it's not unusual for the Pentagon to seek review big projects in general across the nation, but Seth Kaplan, an attorney at the Conservation Law Foundation disagreed, asserting: "We (at CLF) have worked on a lot of controversial projects, and this a first."