The manager of New England’s electric grid has hedged its bets in declining to include the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm as part of an April auction for future power supplies.
Independent Systems Operator New England Inc., the organization responsible for the region’s power market, does not believe Cape Wind Associates will have the 130-turbine project in operation by June of 2015, according to a filing with federal energy regulators.
“Each year we hold an auction to procure the amount of electricity or resources we believe we’ll need 3 years in the future,” said Marcia Blomberg, a spokeswoman with ISO New England. “Resources that clear in this market are required to be available when we call on them.”
April’s auction is for the so-called “forward capacity market” for the period of June 1, 2015 through May 31, 2016, Blomberg said.
Although critics pounced on the filing as another indication that Cape Wind will never be built, company officials and Blomberg said the estimate was conservative because of the stringent requirements that resources in the upcoming auction must meet.
“I think it’s significant that the operators of our electricity grid in New England say that Cape Wind won’t be done by at least 2015,” said Audra Parker, president and CEO of the anti-Cape Wind group, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound.
Cape Wind last year lost out on a $2 billion loan from the federal government, has no known financial backers, has no buyer for half of its power and is facing serious problems surrounding the revocation of a permit from the Federal Aviation Administration, Parker said.
ISO New England decision not to include Cape Wind in the April auction for the 2015 to 2016 forward capacity period is not surprising and “not a big deal,” Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers said.
The company fully expects to be either fully or partially operational by 2015, he said, adding that it would be able to sell its power into the forward capacity market soon thereafter.
“This is not something that we require in any sense to move forward,” he said.
The company still expects to begin construction within the next year, he said, adding that a recent decision by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court in favor of an approval of Cape Wind by state utility regulators provided a big jolt of momentum for the project.