Today the Oregon Supreme Court held in favor of a coalition of nine conservation organizations, invalidating rules adopted in 2017 by the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) that had dramatically reduced transparency and discouraged public participation in permitting decisions for large power plants throughout Oregon. Today’s legal victory is also expected to terminate the previously issued permits for two controversial power projects, the Summit Ridge Wind Farm proposed in Wasco County, along the Deschutes river, and the Perennial Wind Chaser Station, a natural gas power plant proposed in Umatilla County.
Atlantic Wind, a subsidiary of developer Avangrid Renewables, plans to erect 25 wind turbines for its 101.4-megawatt project in the towns of Pinckney and Harrisburg. Before construction can begin, however, the developer must earn a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need from the state through its Article 10 review process.
“The environmental and economic costs of offshore wind energy are greater than one can expect. A large amount of square kilometers is needed for this industry, which translates into habitat destruction and a direct loss of fishing grounds due to the prohibition of fishing in the wind farms itself but also in the surrounding large buffer zones. The same grounds where fishermen were solely making use of the sea’s resources in the most sustainable way possible are now used and subsidized by governments to build offshore wind farms. As a consequence, fishermen are forced to displace from these areas and concentrate fishing effort in the already limited space left, increasing safety risks.”
One section of the proposed cable route passes through the Muskeget Channel about a mile from Chappaquiddick, and therefore falls under the auspices of the Edgartown conservation commission. In a 5-1 vote, the commission denied Vineyard Wind a permit to lay cable in the channel. Vineyard Wind has since appealed to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
Collins, citing an agency white paper, said customs officials are concerned. “They are confirming the threat is not only real, but it would be devastating to know what’s coming across from Canada into the U.S. because this would be blocking all the way to the Canadian border,” Collins said. “These wind turbines would basically create a blackout area that would be a very large percentage of what we would be able to see all the way to the Canadian shore.”
"Officials from Homeland Security confirmed to me that the major shadows cast by these incredibly large structures would make their radar systems useless in that Southtown’s coastline,” Jacobs said in a statement. “The frequency of illegal drug smuggling and human trafficking in this corridor is reason enough for me to oppose this wind turbine project."
The United States Department of Commerce has launched antidumping and countervailing duty investigations of utility scale wind tower imports from Canada and three other countries. The investigations will determine if the towers are being dumped in the U.S. and are receiving unfair subsidies.
Last December, seven of the 12 board members indicated they would support a turbine setback of 2,250 feet from property lines to protect nonparticipating residents from the nuisances turbines can create, such as noise or shadow flicker, or the dangers associated with turbines catching fire or breaking. During a meeting of the board’s zoning committee on Monday night, however, two board members said they feel such a setback should only apply to residential land, not nonresidential properties.
Vineyard Wind already agreed to a nearly $17 million mitigation package in Rhode Island. But it doesn’t look like that will be enough. The fishing industry still has many issues. For example, the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association is worried about the effect these giant towers could have on boat radar, and the impediments that transmission cables could cause.
Bell said there was enough pushback on a version passed June 24 by the House Committee on Energy and Public Utilities to convince him that a deal can’t be worked out this session. ...Bell said he expected to revisit the bill during the legislature’s short session next year.
Advocates and legislators gathered Monday to discuss the threats facing North Atlantic right whales and to call for more conservation efforts.
BOEM spokesman Stephen Boutwell said NMFS is required to co-sign the project’s Record of Decision, a formal decision document, for the permit to be issued. The final environmental impact study and record of decision had originally been expected in April but were later delayed to June and then early July. Boutwell said the agency does not “have a date for these publications at this time.”
The National Marine Fisheries Service is refusing to sign off on an environmental impact report originally expected July 7, Reuters said, citing previously unseen federal documents. Fishing industry representatives want proposed wind turbines farther apart than the currently planned 0.75 nautical mile, want the turbines aligned east-west instead of northwest-southeast, and want compensation for any damage to their livelihoods, according to Reuters.
Apex Clean Energy has proposed constructing 80 to 120 wind turbines in rural Morgan County for the Lincoln Land Wind project, but was waiting on updates to a Morgan County ordinance that came Monday. The Morgan County commissioners approved an updated ordinance addressing wind farms after more than a year of work on details of the regulation.
A company that planned to revive a large wind farm in northwest North Dakota is pulling back for now. ...NextEra acquired the former Hartland project and had conducted wind monitoring in and near the gooseneck of Ward County as well as in Mountrail and Renville counties. The company also had initiated lease opportunities with landowners.
Electricity bills could double to bail out new wind farms that have massively underestimated their operating costs, a former adviser to the World Bank has claimed. Two offshore wind projects secured contracts to supply renewable energy at reduced costs in 2017 and it was hailed the result of huge strides made in technology and engineering, sparking hopes of a green jobs boom.
According to its findings, more than 70 percent of the legal objections are based on species conservation, especially the threat to endangered bird species and bats. ...In addition to species protection, it is primarily conflicts with noise protection that are leading to legal objections against wind power projects. They are responsible for 17 per cent of legal cases. Monument protection are behind six percent of lawsuits.
LEEDCo describes Icebreaker Wind as a “demonstration project” and states among its other missions as an organization are to drive future offshore wind projects in the Great Lakes, creating thousands of jobs and contributing to clean air and water. The problem with the project for the Lake Erie Foundation and others opposed to offshore wind farms here is the potentially devastating impact it could have a migrating birds that traverse the lake.
Burke’s lawyer, Eric Gillespie, says roughly 80 families have been impacted by the contamination, which he alleges occurred when deposits of black shale in the soil were disturbed during construction of the project. “When you put up very large wind turbines that are 100 metres high, they require very large foundations,” he said. “Once they started developing these projects it became clear they were interfering with the drinking water supplies for many of the residents.”
Locally, Massachusetts and Rhode Island commercial and recreation fishermen continue to be concerned about the lack of habitat and fish studies before development starts in wind farm lease areas.