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Cape Wind power deal challenged

The primary Cape Wind opposition group is asking the state Department of Public Utilities to dismiss proposed contracts to sell power from the project.

The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound argues in a motion filed Thursday with the DPU that because the contracts with National Grid were not open to competitive bidding by out-of-state sources of renewable energy they should be dismissed.

The DPU is considering whether to approve a deal between National Grid and Cape Wind. Hearings to gather evidence on the deal are expected to begin Sept. 7 in Boston.

The utility has agreed to buy half the power from the wind project for 18.7 cents per kilowatt hour.

In addition, National Grid would be allowed to collect 4 percent of the contract’s price under the state’s Green Communities Act.

The total additional cost to the average residential customer in the state who buys power from National Grid would be about $1.50 per month.

The Alliance contends that the DPU rejected NStar contracts this month because the utility failed to consider out-of-state renewable alternatives as required under new emergency regulations issued by the agency.

“There is no basis for treating the contracts differently,” Audra Parker, president and CEO of the Alliance, said in a statement.

“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.”

The contracts were filed in accordance with the Green Communities Act, and the DPU will consider the act’s requirements when making its decision, Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers said.

“They’ve already said clearly that they’re going to be considering out-of-state generation when they make the decision,” he said, adding that TransĀ­Canada, a company that the Alliance has heralded as a cheaper alternative to Cape Wind, is a full party to the DPU proceedings.

“It doesn’t surprise me that the opposition would do this as they try at every turn to stop Cape Wind,” he said.