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USA: Attorney General Seeks to Prevent Future LNG Terminals Near RI

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The Weaver’s Cove LNG terminal project was abandoned over a year ago, in June 2011, but Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin continues his effort by seeking standards that would help prevent such a project in the future.

On Wednesday, Kilmartin, joined by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, renewed a request to the federal government for rules for the location and siting of LNG import and storage facilities. Wednesday’s request comes in the form of an appeal filed in connection with an earlier petition for rulemaking directed to the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration within the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT).

This is the latest step in a petition that was first filed in September 2004. In early February, a lower official in the USDOT had denied the original request.

In support of the request, Attorney General Kilmartin stated, “While the State obviously had concerns about Weaver’s Cove’s proposal to construct an LNG facility in a densely-populated urban environment in Massachusetts, with tanker traffic transiting through actively-used Rhode Island waters, within close distance of populated shorelines, Rhode Island’s motives were – and remain – much more broad. Indeed, these motives apply to any number of other locations in close proximity to populated areas and heavily-used waters of Rhode Island on which future LNG developers may set their sights. The petition expresses concern not just about whether a single project goes forward, but over the need for USDOT to set standards that apply to any number of sites that could put Rhode Island’s citizens and natural resources at risk.”

Kilmartin added that “USDOT has continually failed to establish minimum safety standards for determining the location of LNG facilities and has only established minimum federal safety standards for the design of those facilities. We seek to correct this to prevent another unsuitable proposal like Weaver’s Cove in the future.

The Weaver’s Cove LNG facility was proposed in December 2003 and became the target of an 8-year fight waged by the Attorney General’s office and other state officials to protect Narragansett Bay from hazards and closures.

Kilmartin said, “While that fight reached a successful conclusion when the developer withdrew the proposal in June of 2011, we do not want to have to have a repeat of that threat.

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USA: 7 Companies Beside Deepwater Wind Plan to Build Wind Farm off RI

7 Companies Beside Deepwater Wind Plan to Build Wind Farm off RI (USA)

Seven companies in addition to Deepwater Wind have registered interest in developing offshore energy projects in an area of federal waters between Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Providence-based Deepwater announced its application to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management last week for a longstanding plan for a 1,000-megawatt wind farm, but no other companies made public their proposals at the time.

The bureau released a list this week of companies interested in generating energy in waters east of Block Island and southwest of Martha’s Vineyard.

No information was provided on their applications or the scope of their projects.

The applicants include Energy Management Inc., the company behind the 130-turbine Cape Wind proposal in Nantucket Sound; Fishermen’s Energy, a company with plans for a wind farm off the New Jersey coast; and Neptune Wind, which announced in August a plan for a 500-megawatt wind farm in the area between Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Also on the list are enXco, a San Diego, Calif.-based company that says it has developed 3,000 megawatts of wind power and 68 megawatts of solar power in the United States, Mexico and Canada; Iberdrola Renewables, the U.S. division of a Spanish company that describes itself as the second-largest developer of wind power in the United States, with 4,800 megawatts of onshore projects; Mainstream Renewable Power, a company that says it is developing 5,500 megawatts of offshore wind power in England, Scotland and Germany; and US Wind, which has also submitted applications to lease waters in another part of Massachusetts and off New Jersey.

The bureau will review the applications before deciding whether to lease areas for development.

By Alex Kuffner (projo)

Original Article

Deepwater Wind Submits Plans for Nation’s First Offshore Wind Farm

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Deepwater Wind this week officially submitted its plan to develop a utility-scale offshore wind farm off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, in response to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE)’s Call for Information and Nominations for offshore wind energy projects in the federal ocean waters off southern New England.

Deepwater Wind’s project – the Deepwater Wind Energy Center (DWEC) – will be the first of the “second generation” of offshore wind farms in the United States. With a capacity of approximately 1,000 megawatts, DWEC will serve as a regional offshore wind energy center serving multiple states on the East Coast.

“The Deepwater Wind Energy Center is poised to be the first regional offshore wind energy center in the United States with a wind farm and a transmission system serving multiple markets,” said William M. Moore, Deepwater Wind CEO.

DWEC will be sited in the deep ocean waters of southern Rhode Island Sound, where it will be barely visible from the shore. Construction is planned to begin in 2014 or 2015, with the first wind turbines in operation by the end of 2016 or 2017.

With as many as 200 wind turbines, DWEC will be the largest offshore wind farm ever planned in the United States. Because of the economies of scale gained by building a large facility and because of the continuing maturity of the offshore wind industry, DWEC’s power price will also be lower than earlier offshore wind projects proposed in the U.S. DWEC will demonstrate that as the offshore wind industry continues to mature, its energy prices will become increasingly competitive with plants that burn fossil fuels – but without the environmental problems that plague fossil fuel plants.

“This ‘second generation’ of offshore wind farms will be larger and farther from shore, and will produce lower priced power, using more advanced technology than any of the offshore projects announced to date,” Moore said.

Deepwater Wind previously filed an unsolicited nomination to BOEMRE to lease the ocean site where it plans to locate DWEC. Since then, Deepwater Wind, after consultations with area fishing groups and other stakeholders, has refined the ocean lease blocks it has nominated in order to accommodate multiple different project designs. At this early stage of project development, Deepwater Wind believes that additional input from key stakeholders, such as commercial fishers, should be considered before final project siting is determined. Deepwater Wind’s lease block nomination creates this flexibility by including enough area for different project configurations.

Deepwater Wind is also developing a regional offshore transmission network, the New England-Long Island Interconnector (NELI), connecting DWEC to southern New England and eastern Long Island. NELI will allow the wind farm to send power to multiple states in the region. Deepwater Wind plans to market power from DWEC to several states, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and Connecticut.

Most of the turbines will be located 20 – 25 miles from shore. No turbine will be located any closer than 13.8 miles from inhabited land, with only a few turbines located at that distance. At these distances, the wind farm will be barely visible from the shore and the project site can take advantage of the stronger winds found in the open ocean.

Deepwater Wind’s proposal sites DWEC in the “Area of Mutual Interest” between the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. As a result of a competitive bid process held by the State of Rhode Island in 2008, Deepwater Wind is the state’s preferred developer in this Area of Mutual Interest. The utility-scale project is also outlined in the Joint Development Agreement between Deepwater Wind and Rhode Island.

Deepwater Wind will base its manufacturing and construction operations at Quonset Point, in Rhode Island, where the company has over 100 acres under lease option. Deepwater Wind is also exploring port and other facilities in Massachusetts to compliment its Quonset base.

As a 1,000 MW regional offshore wind energy center, DWEC is a first-of-its-kind project in several ways and serves as a model for future Deepwater Wind projects. First, it is the largest renewable energy project ever proposed for the northeast United States.

“Energy independence for our nation is possible only by taking bold steps to wean ourselves off of our addiction to fossil fuels,” Moore said. “Second generation utility-scale wind farms like DWEC can significantly reduce our need to burn fossil fuels, improve local air quality, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – problems that are especially acute in the densely-populated Northeast.”

Second, the projected pricing of the power from DWEC is expected to be lower than that proposed for any offshore wind farm ever planned in the United States. The wholesale price of power depends on the final size of the project, the final configuration of the transmission system, and the continued availability of federal tax incentives, however Deepwater Wind expects the pricing on a kilowatt-hour basis to be in the mid-teens (measured in cents). DWEC will demonstrate that offshore wind is becoming increasingly competitive with fossil fuel plants.

Third, at 1,000 MWs, DWEC may entice both domestic and foreign suppliers to seriously consider establishing significant parts of their fabrication, manufacturing, assembly, and support services in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. According to the Memorandum of Understanding between those two states, they will coordinate economic development to maximize job creation in the region. Before DWEC, the United States market was seen as underdeveloped and not large enough to justify a new manufacturing base for suppliers of components such as turbines and blades.

BOEMRE will review Deepwater Wind’s lease request in consultation with taskforces organized at the state level in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Original Article

Historic Hydrographic Shipwreck Discovery

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17/01/2011

Almost 200 years to the day after her sinking, a couple of Connecticut, USA, scuba divers revealed they had discovered the remains of what appears to be the USS Revenge. At the time of her demise the Revenge was performing important hydrographic survey work in the shallow waters of Long Island Sound. Shrouded in thick fog on that cold winter morning the schooner ran aground on a reef near Watch Hill, Rhode Island.

When the ship went down in January 1811 she was captained by Oliver Hazard Perry, who later become a celebrated war hero.  Perry gained notoriety for his bravery during the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812.  Perry became famous for his proclamation, “we have met the enemy, and he is ours”.  He is also renowned for flying a flag emblazoned with the words, “don’t give up the ship”, which is a symbol still in use by the US Navy today.

Perry was court martialled for the sinking, but exonerated during trial when blame was fixed on the ship’s pilot who had assured the captain he was quite familiar with local waters.  Perry’s reputation was tarnished by the incident, but later redeemed by the courage he demonstrated in the Lake Erie battle.  When the ship he commanded was severely hit and taking on water, the captain jumped in a lifeboat with several surviving crew members, rowed to the nearby Niagra, and fought on to victory.

Recreational scuba diver Charles Buffum had always dreamed of finding a “shipwreck”.  When Charlie’s mother gave him a book titled, “Shipwrecks on the Shores of Westerly”, his dream moved one step closer to reality.  While reading about maritime disasters in local waters, Charlie learned about the wreck of the USS Revenge.  Fascinated by the story, he called his friend and diving partner Craig Harger and asked if he’d be interested in searching for a shipwreck.  Harger jumped at the chance.  The pair enlisted the help of another buddy, Mike Fournier to assist in the operation.  Their first step was to acquire a metal detector.  After picking up a JW Fishers Pulse 8X detector, the trio loaded their gear into Charlie’s 20 foot boat and set off for Rhode Island.  From the book’s description of the grounding, they had a good idea where to begin their search.  When the boat finally reached the Watch Hill reef, the guys suited up in record time.  They hit the water with great anticipation and began the hunt.  After two dives their enthusiasm began to ebb, like the heat from the bodies in the cold New England water.  They decided to make one more dive before calling it a day.  Sweeping the bottom with the Pulse 8X, they swam through the thick kelp surrounding the shallow reef.  Suddenly the detector’s audio began to wail.  Craig’s eyes bugged in his mask as he peered down at a small cannon lying on the ocean floor. In subsequent dives the team went on to find more cannon, a large anchor, and other metal objects.

The divers later determined the small cannon first discovered was a carronade, a type of cannon developed in the late 18th century.  Lighter and shorter than a long gun, the carronade could be used on upper decks, and more could be mounted. This gun was well-suited to the broadside battles fought by sailing ships of the day.  The lower muzzle velocity of the weapon’s round shot was intended to create many deadly flying wood splinters when striking a vessel.

The men have contacted the Naval History and Heritage Command, the office that oversees the salvage of Navy ships.  They hope to convince the Navy to salvage the remains, or relinquish the rights so they can raise the money needed to do it themselves.  Their intent is to have the artefacts preserved and displayed at the historical society.

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