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PUC approves Deepwater/National Grid contract waiver

Deepwater Wind is free to go ahead with research to prepare for its five-turbine wind farm off the south shore of Block Island after a legal challenge failed this week.

The Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously Tuesday morning, November 29, to approve a waiver requested by National Grid that would preserve its power purchasing agreement with Deepwater Wind.

Toray Plastics, a Rhode Island manufacturer that has opposed the increase in electricity costs that the agreement would bring, had filed an objection to the September waiver request, arguing that the contract had expired at the end of June.

A “sunset” provision of the contract stated that it would expire at the end of June if PUC approval and subsequent appeals had not been concluded at that time. An appeal at the state Supreme Court was concluded on July 1 – one day after the contract was set to expire.

The request by National Grid and upheld by the PUC waives the sunset clause, preserving the contract.