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DCC Minutes 08-19-2009
Dukes County Commission Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, August 19, 2009

5 p.m.
County Administration Building

Call to Order
Chairman Leonard Jason, Jr. called the County Commissioner’s meeting to order at 5:10 p.m.  Commissioners Tristan Israel, Leslie Leland, Carlene Gatting, Tom Hallahan and Melinda Loberg were present.  

Also in attendance were County Manager Russell Smith, Executive Assistant Martina Thornton, County Treasurer Noreen Mavro Flanders, Burton Hamner - President of the Grays Harbor Ocean Energy Company, LLC, Peter Hefler, Peter Cabana, Art Smadbeck, Fred Lapiana – DPW Tisbury, Joe Alosso, David Thompson & Matt Rodenbaage – Edgartown Wastewater Dept.

Presentation of possible offshore wind projects by Burton Hamner

Mr. Hamner introduced himself and made a presentation on possible Ocean Energy Development for Dukes County. See the 38-page presentation attached.
Summary:
Grays Harbor did a 6.5 MW offshore wind and wave combined energy project in the State of Washington. Rhode Island is already active in getting ready to put a wind farm in the waters close to Martha’s Vineyard. They are already operating big wind farms in Europe for 10 years and there are no environmental impacts and it is a strategic source of energy. The bigger the machine the lesser ocean you need and the cheaper the energy gets. The turbines in operation are 3.5 MW, 5-6 MW turbines are being built now and 10 MW turbines are proposed in the near future. One technology is monopole, which is only possible in shallow waters (Cape Wind project). The cost of Massachusetts has very strong and predictable winds, which makes the area ideal for wind farms (possibly the best in USA). Massachusetts announced the draft Ocean Management Plan and the two areas in state water that are ideal for commercial wind projects were identified next to Gay Head (Nomans Land) and Cuttyhunk. Peter Cabana commented that the State identified 6,000 MW that could be developed in state waters, which is enough for MA to be carbon free. Burt continued that Rhode Island is already working on a development for 2 years to put a wind farm in federal waters close to the Islands and released their “Special Area management Plan” and their website has all the maps available. There has been no contact with Massachusetts or Dukes County to discuss their plan. Burt presented maps of wind, geological, boat traffic, coastguard navigational maps, visual buffer zones, fishing overlay maps and a final combined overlay map and explained where it would be most feasible and possible to do an offshore project in federal waters close to Martha’s Vineyard. On a clear day you could see the whole project from Gay Head. The Wampanoag Tribe as a federally recognized tribe might have a lots of opinions on it. The Mineral Management Service issues leases for federal ocean waters. If an applicant applies for a permit and another applicant competes for the same area then the MMS pays for the environmental impact studies that could be costly and take couple of years. If there is no competition the applicant must pay for the environmental impact study. After it’s done there is a public auction for the lease. Lenny asked who could come to the auction. Burt said if the study was done by MMS anybody could come to the auction. The state and counties cannot stop the development offshore if the state already said that it is compatible with their coastal zone management plans, which Massachusetts did. There are no requirements for the federal government or the developer to share any money from the development with the state or local community (all royalties etc.). The project would create jobs and revenue based on the financial set up. To provide 1,000 MW it would need 6 3x3mile blocks of ocean. Small projects are not very interesting financially. If done in 3 miles from state waters the states gets a small percentage of the royalties, if it is further there is no benefits to MA. Peter Cabana commented that he says that until the federal government publishes the areas off the coast of USA designated for these projects nobody can develop offshore wind in federal waters. The MMS did designate 5 areas off of MA beyond the 3-mile limit that could be used for wind farms. Burt said that MMS would accept an unsolicited proposal right now for a minimum of 1/16 of the lease lot (quarter of the quarter block). They charge 25 cents per acre as application fee. The smallest proposal would be 330 acres and cost $37.50. President Obama announced that they would do a Marine Special Planning and look at the whole ocean cost of USA for variety of things and they may announce that they will designate specific areas for certain developments. Peter Cabana commented that he things that the state would like the federal government to designate the area next to the state designated areas that is shown on the draft MA Ocean Management Plan for the offshore wind. Options for Dukes County are either let Rhode Island do something and give up the revenues etc. or to be pro-active and propose a special purpose public-private authority that would allow the partners to have limited liability and share the revenues. Massachusetts allows such entity – the cooperative. The Europeans have lots of US treasury bonds and would like to invest into big projects in US. 2.5 billion US dollars could come from the private sector to finance the projects. Giant American construction company Fluor based in Huston just finished building the newest offshore wind farm of the coast of England – the Greater Gabbard Wind Farm. The Fluor company said they would have the money to develop it but nobody wants to go forward because the permitting and ownership situation is confusing. The MMS study takes 2-3 years in which time the cooperative could raise private and grant money for the project to be ready for the auction. Burt would suggest a phased proposal. First ask for a testing lease and put up one turbine to demonstrate that it could work. Phase two could be a small 10 turbine project to produce enough electricity to cover the use of Martha’s Vineyard, which is 21MW on average (55MW in the summer peak). We would need 1/4 of a block - 12 sq. miles with cable running to New Bedford to the grid and then it would go back to the island. The monopole technology is limited to about 80ft depth. In the future there will be floating technology, but that is not ready yet. In the meantime the better choice is the design of offshore oil drilling technology, which is what Rhode Island is proposing. You need a special ship to build the offshore turbines. There are no construction ships like that in USA and it would cost $200 million to build one. All construction ships in Europe are booked for the next 10 years. Mr. Doug Hines from Texas developed a  “Titan” Mobile Jack-Up Wind Turbine Platform that would not need a special construction ship to be placed offshore. The turbine would be build on top of a platform on land, slide it on a barge, tow it to the site, lower the legs to seabed and fill up the hull with water and the weight would draw the legs to the seabed. Then they remove the ballast water and lift the whole turbine up to its position. This is being done with mobile jack up platforms; it has not been done with a wind turbine on top of it. This technology would support big turbines - the bigger the wind turbine the more stable it is. In UK’s biggest climate change research organization Carbon Trust announced 6 months ago an international competition for offshore wind turbines foundations. They will build the platform of the winner - $10 million dollar project. This technology is seriously considered. We could get exclusive license for this technology for Massachusetts. Burt talked to Greg Watson and Steven Clark from the state and they were interested. He also talked to John Miller, the Director of Renewable Energy Center in UMAss, Dartmouth. He is already trying to get a testing zone shown on one of the presented maps and the MMS told him he might be able to get it for free. Peter Cabana suggested for Burt to contact Dr. James Manwell form UMass, he is the director of Renewable Energy laboratory. Burt proposed to do a testing of this technology off Cuttyhunk - put it there in the summer and leave it there through the winter. It could be moved or taken out in a week if there is a problem. The distance between the two closer legs is 150 feet; the longer distance is about 220 feet. You can level the legs to different depths in a sloping bottom. You could go fish underneath as the platform is above the sea level. The three legs do create a navigational challenge, so does the monopole. But If you would to move the monopole you would have to blow it up. Since the platform is a “v” shape you could get it through the 150 feet sea wall in New Bedford by turning it and there is space big enough in New Bedford Harbor to build it. Peter Cabana commented that there is already Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative created by municipalities on the Cape and the Vineyard, which is a structure already in place for us to take advantage of this. The MA Energy Facilities Siting Board will be one stop shop for MA developers of renewable energy. Burt added that the wind turbines do not produce electricity all the time. MA and RI are trying to bring natural gas into New England. The offshore oil industry is already putting gas turbines to generate electricity on the platforms. We could put gas turbine underneath each wind turbine and when the wind stops you start the gas turbine to produce electricity. This is already being used in the UK. The gas would have to come on a tanker. The profits would go through the roof, as it is 100% efficient as the 1000MW cable would be full all the time and could be used for the base load. Peter Cabana commented that this is a wrong way to go as this is done off Boston with 150 LNG tank that we use in a week. Burt said he would be back in Massachusetts in September as there is a New England’s Marine Renewable Energy Conference in UMass. Tristan said that on September 16th the all-island selectmen’s meeting will have a presentation by Jo-Ann Taylor on the draft Ocean Management Plan and Paul Pimental from the Vineyard Energy Project would also like to make a presentation. He proposed to Burton to come and make the same presentations to all selectmen also. Peter Hefler asked Burt how much of the 1000MW capacity would be generated by wind. Burt said that if you have 100MW turbines at 30% capacity factor, it would produce 30MW at its peak. The further offshore and the higher you get the higher the capacity factor, as it is windier there. The base of the platform they propose is 60 feet above the sea level and then the turbine on top of it. Tristan asked about the mechanisms of a municipal & private cooperative. Peter Cabana said that he should ask Paul Pimental as he is setting up the cooperative right now. He also said that the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative is looking into it and he should get more information on it at the next meeting on September 23rd. Burtons presentation will be available on the county website.

Martina made a comment that we asked the Vineyard Energy Project to come to give us presentation on their project earlier this summer in effort to have more information before me make a decision on joining the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative. They told us that they were not ready to make any presentation at that time. Tristan said that they would be making their presentation on September 16th.

Budget update – Noreen Mavro Flanders
Advisory Board met and approved the budget with a few changes. Noreen went over the additional adjustments and explained the changes. Net increase is about $4,000.

Sheriff’s bill confusions were cleared up. All health insurance transfers would take effect February 1st. It will leave our budget $25,000 in black.

County Seal
Russell said that we need to replace the sign and Martina researched the origin of the county seal and found out that it was created by Charles Banks and voted by county commissioners as the county seal in 1917. She cleaned up the picture – the crown of the Duke of York etc. and we are presenting it to the commissioners for consideration.  

Tristan/Melinda moved to approve the new version of the County of Dukes County. All in favor.

Fundraiser for Animal Shelter
We held a fundraiser for the shelter at the Coyne’s gardens last Friday and it was a big success. We raised over $16K in donations.
Melinda/Tristan moved to send congratulation for the success to the Animal Shelter Board. All in favor.

The Board already thanked the Coynes and the vendors who donated stuff to the party.

The next meeting will be in 3 weeks.

Adjournment:
Carlene/Melinda moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:40 p.m.


Respectfully Submitted by:


______________________________
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts





 
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