Menu Bar

Home           Calendar           Topics          Just Charlestown          About Us

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Feds rebuff Deepwater critic

By TIM FAULKNER/ News staff
Newport resident Benjamin Riggs Jr. had one of his two complaints against wind energy in Rhode Island turned back Thursday.
His Aug. 22 complaint filed against the Deepwater Wind project off Block Island was denied by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Riggs had urged FERC to reject the 20-year power-purchase agreement between Deepwater Wind and National Grid because of an alleged violation of the Federal Commerce Clause.

FERC responded with a “Notice of Intent Not to Act,” meaning the commission declines an enforcement action but allows Riggs to take legal action in Rhode Island. Riggs said he is considering how to proceed. He estimated that a court decision would take six to nine months.
Deepwater Wind issued a statement soon after FERC's decision. "We are pleased that FERC acted so quickly to dismiss this baseless complaint. The Block Island Wind Farm and Transmission System will lead to significantly lower power prices on Block Island, something that is very important to the residents of that island. We are moving full speed ahead to make that a reality, and we hope that the opponents of clean energy will move on too," wrote Jeff Grybowski, chief administrative officer for Deepwater Wind.
Riggs has filed another complaint against a wind-energy project. On Sept. 11, Riggs filed a complaint with the attorney general’s office alleging fraud and corruption involving the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the East Bay Energy Consortium (EBEC) and the town of Bristol. Riggs requested an investigation into an “unlawful scheme” to “tax” Rhode Island utility bills in order to benefit the nine EBEC communities — there are now eight; the Bristol Town Council recently voted to leave the consortium. Riggs also alleged that private wind developers have been unfairly excluded from a project to construct an eight- to 10-wind turbine project in the Tiverton Industrial Park.
The attorney general’s office said the complaint is being reviewed. “Our office is still trying to figure out what the complaints are,” said Amy Kempe, spokeswoman for Attorney General Peter Kilmartin.
In 2010, Riggs challenged the power-purchase agreement between National Grid and Portsmouth for its sale of electricity from the high-school turbine. In October 2011, the state Division of Public Utilities and Carriers disagreed with Riggs and allowed the net-metering purchase agreement to stand.
Riggs is a retired manufacturing executive. He actively opposes wind turbines because of their cost to ratepayers and his assertion that they lack environmental benefits.