August 28, 2010

Cape Wind foes want Grid contracts axed

By State House News Service. 28 August 2010

Cape Wind opponents are urging state regulators to dismiss contracts between the offshore wind power developers and National Grid, citing the state’s recent rejection of three contracts filed by Nstar.

An Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound motion with the Department of Public Utilities, announced yesterday, claims the state failed to engage in an open solicitation process to consider out-of-state renewable energy alternatives required under the department’s new emergency regulations.

Project officials ripped the motion as a delay tactic.

The alliance cited failure to comply with that regulation, based on a provision of the state’s Green Communities Act, as the reason behind the department’s rejection on Aug. 13 of the Nstar contracts.

“There is no basis for treating the contracts differently. In fact, it sends the message that a utility which uses a competitive bidding process to find the best deal for Massachusetts ratepayers is held to a higher standard than a utility that picks a high-priced, no-bid deal,” Audra Parker, CEO of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, said in a statement.

During a recent gubernatorial debate, Cape Wind opponents Tim Cahill and Charles Baker opposed the project, describing it as a boon for the developers and likely to push electric rates higher.

Gov. Deval Patrick, a project supporter, said during the debate that the project had not been given preferential treatment, had been extensively vetted and “has been treated like every other generation project that has come before the commonwealth in the last 15 years.”

Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers said, “This is yet another in a long series of attempts by this coal- and oil-funded opposition group to try to delay Cape Wind’s benefits of hundreds of new jobs, greater energy independence and cleaner air to the people of Massachusetts.

“The fact is that we followed the procedures laid out in the Green Communities Act and that the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities approved our negotiations with National Grid.”

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