Featured Letter: Deepwater Wind is a product of greed and politics
To the Editor:
For the past four years, I have monitored and participated in the regulatory process that has governed the advancement of Deepwater’s proposed windfarm planned in state waters just 2.5 miles to the Southeast of Block Island. I have done so because I personally don’t like our island’s need (a cable to the mainland) being leverage by capitalists (Deepwater and DE Shaw) at the expense of the island’s preservation history and natural condition.
In some cases, I have participated as a formal intervener or presented position papers in front of the New Shoreham Town Council, R.I. Senate Committees, R.I. House Committees, R.I. Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the R.I. Coast Resources Management Council (CRMC). As a result of these formal and informal activities, I am familiar with the content in most all public filings made by various parties under oath in front of the PUC, the CRMC, and other permitting bodies.
I am an advocate of private and publicly-funded alternate energy pursuits, public advocacy and good government. I am most interested in public awareness however. Additionally, I believe that blind faith in our leaders will permit lobbying influence to go unchecked and that neutrality from the public becomes the ally of the special interest. Therefore, I have set forth below what I consider to be the most important and relevant facts and analysis of testimony and information provided by parties of interest in such forums. I have provided specific reference notations so that you may, if interested, do additional research to satisfy your own curiosity or launch your own fact-based advocacy. It is my opinion that the path on which the Block Island Wind Farm has been sheparded is unnecessarily flanked by greed and political influence. The end here (a cable for us) should not justify the means. The end can be reached alternatively.
Public facts about Deepwater’s Block Island wind farm
Joint Development Agreement (JDA) between State & Deepwater was signed in January 2009.Deepwater designated the “Preferred Developer”, but missed Every One of the Initial Timeline Milestone in the JDA
Initial Decision of RI PUC determining the project NOT Commercially Reasonable circumvented by Deepwater lobbying effort to change the law after the PUC’s initial ruling rejecting the project
Deepwater’s Revised Power Purchase Agreement (“PPA”) with National Grid sets construction costs for Block Island Windfarm at $205 Million, excluding cable
Block Island Windfarm will be just 2.5 Miles offshore and a “Demonstration Project” or “Stepping Stone” to the profits of the Utility Scale Windfarm planned for 20 Miles offshore
Of the 40,000 in Megawatts of offshore windpower installed or under development in Europe, fully 98.8% of European offshore turbines are more than 3 miles offshore and the average distance from shore is 31 miles
National Grid has estimated that power from the Block Island Windfarm will cost the Rhode Island public $497.5 million more than market costs for power
Windfarm will create just 6 permanent Jobs, only a modest impact compared to the massive costs
41% of RI Ratepayer Payments for power generated by the Block Island Windfarm will fund pre-tax profits to Deepwater and its capital providers. In total, $175,000,000 in exchange for just 6 Permanent Jobs.
The regulatory process involving the Deepwater Wind Farm has demonstrated how fast & easy it is to make huge profits off of the citizens of Rhode Island
This information was provided by the letter writer.
1 Joint Development Agreement between The State of Rhode Island and Deepwater Wind Rhode Island, Inc. dated January 2, 2009 (the “JDA”). See an executed copy at http://www.cfcri.com/Joint_Development_Agreement_1-2-2009_1.pdf.
2 See JDA Section IV.
3 See RI Public Utilities Commission Docket 4111; http://www.ripuc.org/eventsactions/docket/4111-NGrid-Ord19941(4-2-10).pdf See also Rhode Island General Laws §39-26.1-7, as amended by 2010 Senate Bill 2819 Sub A as amended and 2010 House Bill 8083 Sub A as amended.
4 See RI Public Utilities Commission Docket 4185, Deepwater Wind Block Island LLC Response to RI Division of Public Utilities & Carriers Data Request DIV 1-4; http://www.ripuc.org/eventsactions/docket/4185-DWW-DR-DPU1(7-13-10).pdf See also http://www.ripuc.org/eventsactions/docket/4185_DR_DWW_C1(7_21_10).pdf
5 See RI Public Utilities Commission Docket 4185, Deepwater Wind Block Island LLC Response to RI Division of Public Utilities & Carriers Data Request DIV 1-2; http://www.ripuc.org/eventsactions/docket/4111-Deepwater-DR-DPU1(12-31-09).pdf
6 See RI Public Utilities Commission Docket 4185, Direct Testimony of Robert McCullough Exhibit RM-2, July 20, 2010; http://www.ripuc.org/eventsactions/docket/4185-Citizens-McCullough(7-20-10).pdf
7 See RI Public Utilities Commission Docket 4185, National Grid Response submitted on January 26, 2012 to RI Public Utilities Commission supplemental request Comm-1.
8 See RI Public Utilities Commission 4111, Deepwater Wind Block Island LLC Response to RI Public Utilities Commission Data Request Comm 2-6; http://www.ripuc.org/eventsactions/docket/4111-Deepwater-DR-PUC2(12-16-09).pdf
9 See RI Public Utilities Commission Docket 4185, Pre-filed Testimony of William M. Moore, CEO Deepwater Wind Holdings, LLC Exhibit 1; http://www.ripuc.org/eventsactions/docket/4185-DWW-Moore(7-15-10).pdf