Articles from Massachusetts
After years of fighting, Plymouth has declared several massive wind turbines a public health nuisance. “Thank goodness they’re responding,” said Karen McMahon, who has lived for three years in the shadow of several 500-foot tall wind turbines. “It’s horrible and it vibrates. And it vibrates the windows.”
The four 500-foot ConEdison Solutions wind turbines were installed in June 2016. They sit close to the Bourne border, but because they are located in Plymouth, it has been difficult for Bourne residents to fight through their own town government. Since their installation, the Buzzards Bay Action Committee, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserve and protect Buzzards Bay, has collected approximately 360 complaints from residents in the area. Complaints include shadow flicker, nausea, vertigo, sleep disturbance, headaches, anxiety and sound disturbances. “We have 360 complaints and they go unanswered,” Plymouth resident Larry McGrath said before the vote was taken. “Nobody does anything to protect us.”
“The allegations made by the Massachusetts Democrats are unfounded and uninformed. In reality, the Department of the Interior carries out the appropriate environmental review of impacts of all energy projects – renewable and non-renewable—based on the following: the law, the facts and often after extensive public input.”
Federal agencies assessing the environmental impact of Vineyard Wind are now expecting the long-delayed process to wrap up sometime in December, according to a top Baker administration official. ...That timetable is problematic for wind farm developers up and down the coast, but especially for the two companies that have been awarded power purchase contracts by Massachusetts utilities and are eager to begin construction.
The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance called for the creation of six travel lanes, each one four nautical miles in width, through the entire lease area off the coast of the two states. The offshore wind developers in November had proposed no special travel lanes, choosing instead to let fishermen navigate through turbines set one nautical mile apart traveling north and south and seven-tenths of a nautical mile going diagonally.
With regard to the proposed spacing of one nautical mile, the fishing group wrote, “RODA reiterates, consistent with each of our previous comments on the record, that most fishing vessels will not be able to operate in this array and significant displacement will still occur due to (one-nautical-mile) spacing.”
Seven U.S. senators from New England on Monday urged ISO-NE to “return to the table with stakeholders” and more closely align its fuel security initiative with state policies seeking to speed the transition to renewable energy resources.
The agreement is significant because many Massachusetts politicians, including US Rep. Joe Kennedy III and Sen. Ed Markey, have accused the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Trump administration of playing politics with the process. But the agreement by the five wind farm developers suggests they, and particularly Vineyard Wind, recognized a need to address the consistency of their project designs.
In a bid to work with the commercial fishing industry and other ocean users, the developers planning offshore wind farms in the waters off Rhode Island and Massachusetts have agreed to space turbines one nautical mile apart and lay them out in uniform rows from east to west and columns from north to south.
“Since the business case is being impacted by external delays, we are requesting an extension from the IRS for the originally planned ITCs of the project,” Torgerson told analysts. “We’re petitioning the IRS to get an extension of that ITC at the 24 percent level…through the 2022 timeframe.” The delay means Vineyard may be able to upgrade to longer rotor blades for its 9.5-megawatt MHI Vestas turbines, Torgerson said — jumping from a 164-meter rotor diameter up to 174 meters. Longer blades mean more electricity can be generated.
Few details about the price or the onshore investment were revealed, but Mayflower said in its original bid that the price would be “the lowest cost offshore wind energy ever in the US.” Mayflower is a joint venture of Shell New Energies and EDP Renewables. ...It appears Mayflower was far and away the easy choice. The state’s press release said the company offered a lower price and greater economic development opportunities than the other two bidders – Vineyard Wind, the company that won the first offshore wind procurement, and Bay State Energy, which lost for the second time.
At fall town meeting Nov. 12, Falmouth will again be asked to fund the town’s wind turbine “white elephants.” This, even after Gov. Charlie Baker admitted to the House Committee on Natural Resources in Washington, D.C., that Falmouth’s project failed due to how and where the turbines were sited.
The committee also recommended appropriating $2.5 million to fund the disposition of the town’s two wind turbines. “The $2.5 million is to dismantled and disassemble,” Town Manager Julian M. Suso said. “It is not even to relocate them at this point.”
The commission this summer denied the project's plans to bury two transmission cables in Nantucket Sound and Muskeget Channel areas within Edgartown, and the project appealed to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). After the department issued an order of conditions favoring the project, the commission appealed and the settlement was reached before that appeal was fully heard by another wing of the DEP.
“It’s going to take some time, longer than we expected for this project,” said Bennett, who was asked about the agency’s timetable by Attorney General Maura Healey’s chief of staff, Mike Firestone. Bennett was at the Sheraton Boston Hotel taking part in an offshore wind panel at an eastern region meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General.
This RFQ is part of the town’s effort to relocate and operate its two Vestas 1.65-megawatt, V-82 wind turbines with 80-meter-tall towers from the wastewater treatment plant site on Blacksmith Shop Road to an alternative location outside Falmouth. In June, Mr. Suso said he expected to issue an RFP regarding the wind turbines within 30 days. The matter proved more complicated than expected.
Offers other options with higher prices plus onshore investments
Edgartown conservation agent Jane Varkonda told The Times Edgartown didn’t receive the August 5 superseding order of conditions from the commonwealth in a timely manner. Varkonda said she learned by happenstance the decision had been made during a conversation with a state official. Upon learning Edgartown was without the decision, the official sent it.
BOSTON – Bay State Wind, a 50/50 joint venture between Danish energy company Ørsted and New England energy company Eversource, has submitted a bid for Massachusetts' second solicitation for commercial offshore wind.
Overwhelming, too, for Al Eagles, a lobsterman from Newport, who questioned why the federal government is allowing projects to go forward when so little is known about their effects. “To me, everything you said up here was all unknowns,” Eagles said to Hare. “We could be devastating entire species out there. By the time we realize it, it would be too late.” Lanny Dellinger, also a Newport lobsterman and chair of a board that advises Rhode Island coastal regulators on fishing issues related to offshore wind, said the entire fishing industry is under threat.