Opponents of a plan to build the nation’s first offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound appealed this morning to the state’s highest court to reject a decision last year by the state Department of Public Utilities that approved a deal for National Grid to buy 50 percent of the wind farm’s power.
Among the opponents was the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, which said in a statement that the contract between National Grid and Cape Wind Associates, the developer, set a precedent for “no-bid energy contracts that would sentence ratepayers to increased electric bills, a future of skyrocketing renewable energy costs, and give the green light for future renewable energy decisions to be based on politics instead of price.”
Lawyers representing Cape Wind and the Department of Public Utilities argued before the Supreme Judicial Court that the state’s decision to approve the deal was the correct one and that the justices should reject the appeal.
Supporters of the offshore wind project said the agreement will benefit electricity customers.
“The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities left no stone unturned when it reviewed and approved the contract between National Grid and Cape Wind,” said Seth Kaplan, vice president for policy and climate advocacy at the Conservation Law Foundation, which has long supported the Cape Wind project. “The DPU’s conclusion, based on extensive testimony and other evidence presented by both Cape Wind supporters and opponents, was that Cape Wind’s long-term power purchase agreement is ‘cost-effective’ and reasonable, and will deliver net economic benefits for electric ratepayers and the Commonwealth.”
Last year, US Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar approved the controversial Cape Wind project, which was first proposed a decade ago.
Cape Wind had said it planned to begin construction of the 130 turbines about 5 miles off Cape Cod by the end of last year. That did not happen, and as Cape Wind faces lawsuits and has struggled to obtain financing for the $1 billion project, it remains unclear when construction will begin.
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