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Lawmakers eye changes to green power act

A pair of high-ranking Republican state lawmakers has filed a bill seeking to avoid a repeat of a deal to purchase half the power from the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm.

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones Jr., R-North Reading, and Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr, R-Gloucester, filed legislation last month that would require competitive bidding by utilities seeking to buy power under the 2008 Green Communities Act.

Under the 2008 law, which was intended to promote renewable energy used in the state, companies are allowed to reach agreements unilaterally without seeking multiple bids.

The law proposed by Jones and Tarr would require that proposed contracts either “result in net ratepayer savings when compared to current and projected future market prices of energy” or “are least costly in terms of electric service rates,” according to a press release from Jones’ office. Supporters of the Green Communities Act and Cape Wind Associates LLC argue that other factors, such as the impact on global climate change, should be taken into account when reviewing such pacts.

Although the legislation would not affect the deal reached last year between Cape Wind and National Grid for half the power from the 130-turbine project, it could affect any future agreements. NStar has faced pressure from Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration to buy the second half of Cape Wind’s power, including indications that an $18 billion merger between the Massachusetts-based utility and Northeast Utilities could be held up if it does not buy in.