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Green light for Nstar deal  

Credit:  By Jerry Kronenberg, bostonherald.com 5 April 2012 ~~

Boston-based Nstar’s planned merger with Connecticut’s Northeast Utilities has won final approval – but electricity the state is making the firms buy from green-power company Cape Wind could short-circuit promised savings.

“We strongly object to the state ‘arm-twisting’ Nstar to buy Cape Wind’s wildly overpriced energy,” Audra Parker of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound said yesterday after the Department of Public Utilities OK’d the Nstar/Northeast Utilities tie-up.

DPU approval represented the last hurdle the merger faced, paving the way for the $5 billion deal to close next week.

Critics claim the state held up the merger’s approval until Nstar agreed to buy electricity from Cape Wind, the offshore wind-power project planned for Nantucket Sound.

Considered one of Gov. Deval Patrick’s pet projects, Cape Wind needs long-term contracts from utilities to move forward.

Rival utility National Grid agreed in 2010 to buy 50 percent of Cape Wind’s output, but Nstar had long balked at a similar deal, claiming Cape Wind wanted too much money.

However, the utility relented in February as part of a deal to move the merger’s approval forward.

Nstar’s Cape Wind contract will cost $1.6 billion over 15 years – $940 million more than what the same amount of conventional electricity would have cost.

Critics say that dwarfs the roughly $200 million that Massachusetts consumers will save through a four-year rate freeze Nstar and Northeast Utilities agreed to in exchange for the merger’s approval.

Source:  By Jerry Kronenberg, bostonherald.com 5 April 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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