Editorial: Scouting a better path

Scouting a better path

Posted 10/31/19

At 210 feet long with 53 foot beam, the big ship that squeezed past Stone Bridge and into Tiverton Basin last week looked out of place and far too big for such close confines. Maybe it’s in …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


Editorial: Scouting a better path

Scouting a better path

Posted

At 210 feet long with 53 foot beam, the big ship that squeezed past Stone Bridge and into Tiverton Basin last week looked out of place and far too big for such close confines. Maybe it’s in trouble, spectators wondered, as it turned about, ever so slowly, out off Standish Boat Yard.

It turns out that this crew knew precisely what they were up to, and their visit is one more sign that our region is finally — and belatedly — facing up to energy realities.

The shallow draft ship Conti is here to conduct a geotechnical survey of waters from Brayton Point on Mount Hope Bay, out the Sakonnet River to beyond Martha’s Vineyard.

It’s been hired by Bay State Wind to assess and map those waterways as a potential route for cables linking a proposed 110-turbine offshore wind farm to the mainland. Such a farm, the company says, could power up to a half million homes.

Another smaller vessel did similar work in the river a couple of years ago, and Conti has also been mapping routes for possible wind farms off Long Island and New Jersey.

It’s an especially pleasant irony that Brayton Point, once among the filthiest of all coal-fire power plants, the single biggest polluter of air in New England, might someday serve as a terminal for offshore wind and other clean alternative energy — tidal power has also been mentioned.

It makes sense. In mid-demolition, Brayton Point is a mess at the moment, but the location is well-suited to this new role. It is blessed with deep-water access and comes with a link to the regional power grid already in place. That’s a rare combination.

Not everybody is a fan of offshore wind. Fishermen worry about its impact, and President Trump is not a fan — he’s called wind turbines “ugly, “disgusting, “stupid” and has said their noise causes cancer (The American Cancer Society says that’s not true). It’s said he has hated wind power ever since turbines went up years ago within view of his golf club in Scotland.

But most understand by now that we must find better ways to power our planet than burning fossil fuel. Wind, sun, tide — these are the keys to our future and there’s no time to lose putting them to good work.

This ship, and all it represents, was a most welcome sight.

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.