Town to hire La Capra to consult on wind farm issues

Mon, 09/07/2009 - 4:15am

09/05/09 - The Town Council is poised to hire Richard La Capra of La Capra Associates to serve as consultant regarding Deepwater Wind’s proposed wind farm installations near Block Island and its potential effects on island electricity ratepayers. The council will take a formal vote on a contract at its Tuesday meeting, First Warden Kim Gaffett said Wednedsay. La Capra’s scope of service will also be outlined at that meeting.

Deepwater Wind will pay the consultant fees on behalf of the town.

The town has worked with La Capra before on Block Island Power Company rate hearings before the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

Meanwhile, Deepwater Wind submitted two bids to National Grid this week — one for its cost of producing electricity, and another for the estimated cost for an electricity cable from Block Island to the mainland. Deepwater Wind’s CEO Bill Moore recently told a Block Island audience that the negotiated electricity price between National Grid and Deepwater would have no impact island ratepayers’ electricity bills.

However, the cost of the cable would affect island ratepayers: the General Assembly included language in legislation facilitating an agreement between National Grid and Deepwater that calls for Block Island ratepayers to pay proportionally more than mainland grid customers.

Moore said Deepwater did not ask for the caveat, and that in his opinion island ratepayers should pay no more than a penny more per customer.

Andres de Lasa of Deepwater said that the bid numbers would not become public until a negotiated price between Deepwater and National Grid is presented to the PUC on October 15.

The town’s Electric Utility Task Group had hoped to discuss the bid numbers at its next meeting on September 15.