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Groups appeal Cape Wind power rate

Two parties have filed an appeal with the state Supreme Judicial Court of the decision approving the rate for half of the power from Cape Wind.

The Associated Industries of Massachusetts and the TransCanada Corp. have filed the appeal of the state Department of Public Utilities’ November decision, said DPU executive director Tim Shevlin.

The DPU ruled in favor of the first-year rate of 18.7 cents per kilowatt-hour for power from Cape Wind, which was agreed to by utility National Grid for 50 percent of the power output.

The decision marked a major approval for the proposed 468-megawatt Nantucket Sound wind farm, which would be the first major offshore wind project in the United States.

The project had seen the power rate hotly contested by opponents, who called it too expensive. The contract allows for the cost of the power to rise by 3.5 percent per year during the 15-year term of the contract, which National Grid said would add about $2 to the average ratepayer’s bill.

AIM, an association of Massachusetts employers, has been outspoken in its disapproval of the power rate for Cape Wind. TransCanada, which develops renewable energy projects, has also criticized the state’s handling of renewable energy contracts and previously signaled it would challenge National Grid’s deal with Boston-based Cape Wind Associates, developer of the Cape Wind project.