The Rhode Island Manufacturers Association has filed a brief with the state Supreme Court that opposes a power-purchase agreement signed between the state’s largest electric utility and an offshore-wind power developer.
The association submitted the amicus brief last week but has yet to learn whether it will be accepted as part of the case against the power agreement.
In August, the state Public Utilities Commission approved the 20-year agreement between National Grid and Deepwater Wind, a Providence-based company that has proposed installing up to eight wind turbines in waters within three miles of Block Island. The attorney general’s office, the Conservation Law Foundation and two Rhode Island manufacturers that oppose the contract appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.
Objections include the high price of power in the deal. National Grid agreed to pay a starting price of up to 24.4 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity generated by the wind farm. The price would increase by 3.5 percent annually. The utility currently pays 9.5 cents per kilowatt-hour for power generated by fossil fuels.
The Rhode Island Manufacturers Association, which says it represents nearly 300 companies that employ 40,000 people, argues that the cost of wind power would have a negative impact on economic development in the state.
“The decision to approve this project will certainly add to the manufacturers’ cost base and will clearly make their ability to compete in the global markets they serve more difficult,” RIMA chairman Al Lubrano said in a statement. “This, in turn, will mean less jobs in Rhode Island and could potentially cost jobs that are already here.”
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