The Block Island Times

Letters to the Editor, February 16, 2013

Feb 18, 2013

This letter was sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and copied to the Block Island Times:

I am writing to strongly support the Deepwater Wind Block Island Project. I am a year-round resident of Block Island and a member of the Town of New Shoreham’s Electric Utility Task Group (EUTG), which was created by the Town Council to evaluate ways to reduce electricity costs on Block Island. Prior to moving full-time to Block Island I worked at National Economic Research Associates (NERA) as a consultant to the electric utility; my area of expertise was the economics of generation alternatives and the deregulation of electricity supply. I have a BS in Natural Resources and a MA in Economics, both from the University of Rhode Island.

The analyses done by the EUTG show that there will be significant economic and environmental benefits from the Deepwater Wind project. Block Island’s electricity costs are among the highest in the country due primarily to our reliance on diesel fuel and lack of connection to the mainland electricity grid. These high electricity costs have a substantial negative impact on the economy of Block Island. Once the cable associated with the Deepwater Wind project is in place, the overall cost of electricity on Block Island will drop from 54 cents/kilowatt hour (at current fuel charges) to 31 cents per kilowatt hour, a 40 percent savings. In addition to lower electricity costs, the island economy will benefit because electricity prices will be much more stable.

Block Island electric rates are extremely volatile because over half the cost is directly tied to the price of diesel fuel, which fluctuates widely. This variability in costs makes planning and budgeting very difficult. An important element in these savings is that the cost of the cable will be shared between Block Island and National Grid customers — the expense of the cable would be greater than the savings if Block Island customers alone bear the cost.

There are also substantial environmental benefits. The island will no longer need to import and store approximately one million gallons of diesel fuel to the Island annually. The diesel engines will run only in a back up capacity and thus their emissions will be almost entirely eliminated. And nearly all of the energy actually consumed by Block Island will come from the wind farm. The R.I. Department of Environmental Management estimated that 3.4 tons of diesel particulate emissions will be eliminated, reducing the risk of cancer and respiratory disease on the island. Additionally, 20 tons of nitrogen oxides, 3.1 tons of sulfur dioxide, 27.5 tons of carbon monoxide and 4.3 tons of volatile organic compounds will be eliminated.

Block Island has searched long and hard for solutions to its electricity problems. The Deepwater Wind project provides us a way to obtain an electric cable to the mainland in an affordable way and to enjoy the benefits of clean, renewable wind energy. These economic and environmental benefits provide clear and compelling evidence that the project should go forward, and I urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to approve it.

Barbara MacMullan

Beacon Hill Road

To: the Editor —

In regard to your article on Haven’s efforts in Haiti, after a review of the original “Build It Week” model, Haven is delighted to announce that we will commence a new Volunteer Programme that will see Haven return to the island of Ile a Vache at the end of May 2013.

The new Volunteer Programme will move away from the typical house building structure and see Haven’s volunteers work with local communities partaking in programmes designed around Haven’s three core developmental areas; water and sanitation, shelter and training and education. Interaction with the community will be one of the key components of the new Volunteer Programme. Volunteers will partake in a broad range of activities suited to multiple skill sets.

In May 2013, 40 volunteers will travel to Haiti to work with the communities of Ile a Vache.

Ile a Vache, meaning ‘Island of Cows,’ is a small island southwest of the mainland, approximately a 5-hour journey from Port au Prince.

The departure date for volunteers travelling from Ireland is the 24th of May 2013 returning to Dublin on the 2nd of June 2013.

Haven is returning to Ile a Vache as a result the devastation of Hurricane Sandy which tore through the island on 23rd of October 2012. Farms were left devastated and livelihoods destroyed. Sandy tore trees by their roots landing on homes and businesses, taking lives. This added with the consequences of the 2010 earthquake is why Haven is returning to the small island.

The 2010 earthquake in Haiti affected more than two million people. Today, thousands of Haitians continue to live in dire conditions, with 347,000 people still living in camps throughout the region.

These families need your help. Your sacrifice of time and comfort, your hard work and your commitment to not only cover your own costs but to raise funds for future work in these communities in Haiti is what will truly make volunteering with Haven a life-changing experience.

Your participation with Haven will not only ensure the success of this project, but will help continue Haven‘s work across Haiti.

Your participation will change lives.

If you are interested in taking part in the new Volunteer Programme please contact Alice at 01 6815 443 or email

Thank you for all your continued support,

Orla Gilroy,

The Haven Team,

Dublin, Ireland

Comments (2)
Posted by: BAYARD DUPONT | Feb 20, 2013 23:47

Thank you Barbara for your voice of sanity!

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Posted by: Michael Delia | Feb 22, 2013 09:09

Today' paper has a letter form Deepwater's President; and its only in the print version; so I am commenting here.

I am not sure how Mr Jeff Grybowski can say that the Proposed project is privately funded. As the Federal Government will be writing Deepwater a check for $$63 million dollars the moment after Deepwater puts a shovel into the ocean floor. Perhaps he just considers The US government as another private source of funds.



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