Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It Would Be Nice If We Could Pick Up the Pace on Clean Energy Projects, Even Small Ones Like This Proposal for Block Island

I suppose it’s wise to go slowly before we approve new clean energy projects, like the wave energy project that Rhode Island and a company called Oceanlinx are working on for the waters off Block Island. On the other hand, we’re sort of in a global climate crisis, and speed can be a virtue. Here’s how the Block Island Times describes what still has to happen to get this small – 1.5 megawatt – project built:

The state energy office hasn’t yet decided whether it will be the state or Oceanlinx that applies for permits. Once that is decided, there could be a long wait: procedures for permitting by the state’s Coastal Resources Management Council and the federal Energy Regulatory Commission are still being written, although Dzykewicz said federal permitting for a pilot plant has been issued before and should take no more than six months.

Most crucially, it won’t be clear until early next year whether the General Assembly is willing to approve $45 million in revenue bonds to finance the project.

If the state legislature fails to create a state power authority next session, then the state’s Economic Development Corporation could initiate the bonds, said Dzykewicz — but the General Assembly would still need to give its blessing.

We wouldn’t want to act rashly and end up making things worse. On the other hand, as I said once before, if we’re going to move slowly, we need to hurry up about it.

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