A Newport resident filed a complaint with a federal agency last week charging that electricity generated at a wind farm off Block Island’s southern coast would be too expensive, a burden that would unfairly fall on mainland ratepayers.
The agreement that would allow Deepwater Wind to sell its power to National Grid also violates federal laws by giving one company exclusive rights to develop wind farms in state waters, says the complaint by Ben Riggs.
“The result is a project that will charge rates that are nearly double that of Cape Wind, and will double again over 20 years,” said Riggs.
Jeff Grybowski, Chief Administrative Officer of Deepwater Wind, called Riggs’ complaint frivolous. “He has long been a project opponent,” Grybowski said. “Based on his complaint, he seems to oppose any energy source that does not pollute our air by burning fossil fuels. We are very confident that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will reject his complaint. In fact, it appears that he filed at least one previous complaint with FERC on an unrelated energy issue that was rejected. We are moving full steam ahead on both our wind farm and transmission projects for Block Island.”
The $204 million, five-turbine Deepwater Wind project would generate up to 30 megawatts, more than Block Island could use. Excess power is to be sold to National Grid and transferred to the mainland on a 15-mile cable that will be laid under the ocean floor. It’s the first of two projects the company plans in the region; the second, much larger project would lie further offshore in federal waters.
The Block Island project just passed a federal regulatory hurdle for its cable and is about to start the state permitting process. It’s the first offshore wind project planned in Rhode Island and a contender to be the first in the country if construction starts next year, as the company has said it plans.
The project would reduce Block Island energy costs, which are currently almost eight times those in the rest of Rhode Island. But at a starting price of 24.4 cents per kilowatt hour and annual increases of 3.5 percent, its power would start off almost three times more expensive than the conventional sources where National Grid buys most of its power. The net effect would be a roughly 2 percent increase for mainland ratepayers as soon as the wind farm goes online, with more increases to follow.
Continue reading in The Block Island Times.
By the way:
ENRON is not dead - you just can't see it with so many of its faces planted firmly in the public trough:
Wissemann is Chief Operating Officer of Deepwater Wind Holdings. Wissemann manages the company’s development activities, planning and strategy. He founded Winergy Power, one of Deepwater Wind’s predecessors, and was the primary architect of the deep water — beyond visual impact — strategy. Wisseman’s engineering background has been important in determining that technology could be utilized to find a more acceptable solution than shallow water foundations that force projects to be near shore. Wissemann has pursued a career in alternative and renewable energy that spanned 25 years including positions ranging from engineering to business development to chief operating officer. His career in energy has included positions at companies from entrepreneurial start-ups to Fortune 500 firms, including Turner Construction, Energy Investment, ENRON and Northern Power Systems. Wissemann’s focus has been on non-traditional power development — from solar and wind to cogeneration and independent power production. He is conversant in technical aspects of power generation technologies as well as economics, permitting and finance. He has particularly focused on conforming implementation and contract structures of non-traditional power projects to fit within traditional project finance standard. He has negotiated and implemented dozens of long-term contacts with utilities and customers — both for power generation and efficiency-derived capacity. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Energy Studies from Brown University.
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