October 30, 2009

The Old "Further Study and Hearings"

Justin Katz

Environmentalists needn't be on the same page on every initiative, of course, but there's nothing in Tricia Jedele's letter to the Providence Journal that negates the NIMBYism suggested in their expressed concerns about wind turbines on Black Point:

Some of the signatories to the letter to the governor may ultimately support or oppose particular wind projects or the use of certain categories of public lands. A call for standards and transparent process, however, is not itself opposition. Allowing for a public process and establishing objective criteria to govern site selection will assure both reasonableness and fairness. In the end establishing a process will enable renewable-energy development in places that make sense for Rhode Islanders.

The Projo reported that Save the Bay opposes the project, transparency notwithstanding, as an infringement on a "pristine landscape" (Projo's phrase). Jedele may disagree, but her letter uses the vague language of obfuscation, and one suspects that "places that make sense for Rhode Islanders" will turn out, in the environmentalists' eyes, to be places that are not pristine — which locations, by their nature, have the most room.

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So anyone who would oppose a geothermal plant at Yellowstone is a NIMBY in your book? Hey, how about cell towers surrounding the Statue of Liberty or windmills on the hills at Gettysburg and atop Rushmore? Great ideas!

Posted by: Russ at October 30, 2009 11:47 AM


One of the problems with erecting wind turbines in RI is there must be free space 360 degrees for them to fall down with out endangering people or other buildings. Which means a protection fence must be erected (and how does this affect natural wild-live?).

In the case of New England Tech’s wind turbine, the building inspector wanted the blades painted black so no ice would form and fly off causing damage to cars, people or buildings.

Black Point 44-acres with its 3,500 foot shoreline, is known as one of the best fishing areas in Rhode Island not to mention the bird watchers and others who wander into the bushes.

RIDEM is proposing the erection of a wind turbine to supply RIDEM projects with cheap electrical energy (most likely Scarborough and Scarborough North State Beach).

To my knowledge this has only been a proposal so far. Has a wind study been accomplished? Has a needs study been accomplished? Has cost study analysis of different alternate energy systems been accomplished? Has an environmental impact study been accomplished? Has a geological survey study been accomplished?

What I think is happening is DEM indicated this is what we would like to do and the environmental groups are saying have you done all the studies to support the wind turbine. I don’t think its NIMBY at this point because if you can point to good numbers supporting your case then the NIMBY goes away.

I don’t think RIDEM has accomplished anything other than to put out a survey to find out peoples opinion.

There are certainly other alternate energy systems RIDEM could install that would be lees obvious at maybe lower costs, work as well or even better than a wind turbine with a faster payback depending upon the scope and usage of their alternate energy proposal.

New Jersey seems to be the New England solar photovoltaic state and Maine seems to be the New England on land wind turbine state. The future of offshore wind farms seems to be evolving in Massachusetts with two offshore wind projects closest to deployment which will make Massachusetts the offshore wind state.

Rhode Island will continue to be the wantabe state.

Posted by: Ken at October 30, 2009 8:23 PM
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