Just because a business deal is legal doesn’t mean it’s a good deal. Take the Supreme Judicial Court’s finding yesterday that the $1.6 billion power-purchase agreement between Cape Wind and the energy company National Grid is, in fact, legally sound. It’s still a raw deal for ratepayers.
The state’s high court ruled that the Department of Public Utilities was within its legal rights to approve the 15-year contract for National Grid to buy half of Cape Wind’s energy output, rejecting claims by opponents of the wind farm and several business groups that the sign-off violated both federal and state law, in particular, provisions of the 2008 Green Communities Act.
The deal will cost ratepayers an arm and a leg – up to $695 million above market prices for energy over the life of the contract, and double the rates that other utilities are paying for renewable energy.
And yet the DPU – controlled by the pro-Cape Wind Patrick administration – determined that the contract is both in the public interest and “cost-effective,” as required by the Green Communities Act. The court essentially confirmed that the state board had the legal authority and the expertise to make those determinations.
It helped, of course, that the Green Communities Act was drafted with Cape Wind in mind.
Yes, the skids have been greased for this heavily taxpayer-subsidized operation from the get-go.
Both the DPU and the SJC said there is reasonable evidence to conclude that the benefits of the deal will outweigh the costs over the life of the contract.
But there are no assurances of that. And it’s appalling that ratepayers – particularly commercial ratepayers, who will see their rates increase by far more than that “cup of coffee” that Gov. Deval Patrick always cites – will be forced to pay the excessive price for a law that is poorly conceived, poorly drafted and rigged to benefit a pet project favored by the political powers-that-be.
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