24 cents per kwh Block Island, RI Wind Project Gets Underway

With the conventional generators providing the New England grid with wholesale prices around 5-6 cents per kwh, it is absurd that Deepwater Wind in the shallow waters between Block Island and mainland Rhode Island will come on line starting at 24 cents per kwh. 

In this article, we see once again, despicable, biased, cheerleading reporting on wind power projects. There is NO journalistic integrity when these articles are written or when the Portland Press Herald publishes them when there is no representation of the enormous criticism this project has had. Worse, the public is left with the impression that there are no problems with projects like these.

A HUGE problem with this project is the heinous Power Purchase Agreement that starts wholesale pricing at 24 cents per kwh when conventional generators are selling to the New England grid at 5-6 cents per kwh.  The PPA also includes a 3.5% annual escalator, meaning it becomes astoundingly expensive.  If we continue to develop wind projects with PPAs like that we will increase the cost of electricity so much that it will ruin our economy and drive lower earning people into "energy poverty", just as happened in the UK.


Lattice towers to be anchored on the seabed of Block Island Sound for the shallow water Deepwater Wind project.

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Comment by Kathy Sherman on July 5, 2015 at 5:46am
once again, a comment got zapped.
the main point of it was that this ugly lattice structure was nowhere in visual impact assessments or anything else about the project. Some significant things were left undetermined but they all related to foundation, not tower and mitigation of construction noise, especially on marine mammals.

is it that lattice is cheaper, better acoustics, and what are any safety issues such as hurricane survival - an advantage that we have in evaluating near and offshore risks that might not be there in 'peer-review' for ridgetops. On the other hand, from tall towers, we should at least know lightning risk and from that, not just fire risk for which Oakfield with new-First Wind-granted Fire truck is totally unprepared, we need to know forest fire risk and risk of unwarranted damage to the software.

Out on open water it will be at least as bad and at least as inaccessible for dealing with it.

Happy Independence- we agree that this is not the path!!!
Comment by Kathy Sherman on July 5, 2015 at 5:05am
Thanks for this Brad. I followed Deepwater Block Island for quite awhile, only in part because of the issue of 'ocean planning' in state waters in a assay led to a 'zone' like RI's off Block Island, for possibly a 25-26 turbine nearshore project on tidal flats, off a state park and mostly an Important Bird Area. Deepwater Block Island is just a 'demonstration', a major reason being to demonstrate 'viability' to investors. You identify the essential ingredient of 'viability' for investors- the power purchase contracts. Only now from SunEd/TerraForm do we know how vital they are to the investment pyramid scheme. Previously it was the bankers who needed the assurances of PPAs that they would get their financing of capital equipment back. An aspect that is not receiving much attention, at least for land-based, is that once it is in the ground it is not just depreciated 30%, it is near worthless and not worth digging back out and scrap or resale value. Sometimes I would wish that all these projects would default and the mortgage (or equivalent) would repossess. That might at least force a little more 'due diligence' on the part of bankers about this peculiar type of 'property' and the ownership schemes, now clearly known to be pretty bogus LLCs for development to be sold after a certain amount of met data and permitting has occurred.

What is different about nearshore is actually pretty enumerator, but looking at price. It is essential to understand that Block Island is just like Vinalhaven with a history of diesel generator with very high cost. The difference is that the Rural Utility Service either paid for or loaned money for connection of Fox Is. Wind to mainland and the ability of FIW to sell to grid is vital. If the deal is anywhere still the same, Deepwater will pay to connect to Diesel-generation dependent Block Island and to mainland grid. The cost of electricity in Vinalhaven or Block Island dependent on diesel generators is NOT the cost you quote, it was more like 60 cents per kWh and so reducing 50% (more like what I thought initial DeepBI deal) or more for FIW looks great - TO THEM. That was the selling point to the seasonally active, local community most of whom on Block a Island, leave or own businesses on the opposite end of this tiny island. Nature Conservency rates it as one of the top 10 pristine places, but that is for conservation on the narrow end toward those five 6 MW turbines in state waters, which means about 2.5 miles for closest.

From a perspective of preserving habitat and access, this always would have violated FWS guidelines, but particularly violates the current fight that leads FWS to argue no turbines inland or offshore closer than 3 miles occurring regarding Great Lakes development of Big Wind. Note that while both Canada and U.S. would love to exploit wind resources supposedly in Great Lakes, they aren't. All costs too high - birds, tourism, human impact.

The thing about this Ocean Zoning that led to the area off Block Island being declared suitable for 'renewable energy development' is that it IS very far from the mainland view, but not users of the impacted space from the mainland or ratepayers, or taxpayers (both of whom will be paying into this) who own property on Block Is; businesses dependent on it; those who would will travel through the outward design to needing to sail through it. Whales may have been considered or this may be exemplary of Environmental groups selling their soul for that seat at the table.

But birds'-eye view: An obstruction like this, that could be 'avoided' by some avians can do so much more easily if the obstruction is along the path of equally suitable MAINLAND coast, rather than islands with restricted flight path. The same arguments apply to up and over the mountain ridge, but if you do the math for 'build out' of Big Wind, I think you will find the issues to be the same. I don't know the translation of miles of ridge to acres of sea

Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."



Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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