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Miller cites concerns on wind farm


State Senator Josh Miller is rasing concerns about the wind farm project announced by Governor Carcieri last week.

“While the General Assembly has fully supported developing renewable energy projects in Rhode Island, I am concerned that Governor Carcieri has unilaterally moved Deepwater Wind to the front of the line when major questions remain about their experience and background. I am troubled by the lack of disclosure from Deepwater Wind’s CEO about his financial relationship with First Wind,” stated Senator Miller.

“Furthermore,” he added, “I am uncertain who will actually purchase the power produced  by this project and I am worried that either no project will get built, or that ratepayers or taxpayers might get left footing the bill because of an undefined revenue structure.”

Since the Governor’s announcement of the State’s intent to partner with Deepwater Wind, concerns have been raised about the company and its ties. First Wind, located in Newton, Massachusetts, is one of the principal financial backers of Deepwater Wind. First Wind changed its name from UPC in May of 2008. ....

Senator Miller issued a letter today to Governor Carcieri requesting specific and detailed information related to Deepwater’s relationship with First Wind.

The letter asks the Governor to respond to the following questions:

1.      Under what unilateral authority is he granting exclusive ocean development rights to this firm?

2.      Since the state does not operate an energy distribution service, how can the Governor’s office claim that the state will “purchase” the power produced? Is the state of Rhode Island getting into the competitive power business? If so, under what authority?

3.      Does the Governor’s office believe the Deepwater Wind project can sell power in Rhode Island without approval of the Public Utilities Commission?

4.      With the veto of the 2008 Rhode Island Long Term Renewable Energy Contracting Act, what is the means to guarantee the involvement of a distribution company to actual receive and transmit the energy that is produced?

5.      Does the Governor’s office believe the Deepwater Wind project will gain approval from the Public Utilities Commission to sell power to National Grid without first winning a competitive bidding process? If yes, is the administration proposing to circumvent the consumer and competition safeguards embedded in Rhode Island’s General Laws and regulations? If no, what happens if Deepwater Wind does not gain approval from the Public Utilities Commission to sell power to National Grid? 

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