Some 13 years into its planning and permitting and Cape Wind hasn’t generated a kilowatt of energy. A lot of hot air, yes. And a lot of lawsuits – now one more.
A gaggle of Cape Wind opponents, including the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, the Town of Barnstable and several local businesses, filed suit in federal court this week against the state, NStar and Cape Wind. The suit alleges the state discriminated against out-of-state power companies by forcing NStar to buy power from Cape Wind at far higher costs than other power generators – such as land-based wind farms.
It’s a poorly kept secret that the Patrick administration engaged in a form of state-sanctioned extortion. Now the lawsuit will seek to prove that NStar was forced to agree to buy that expensive power from Cape Wind or risk having state regulators oppose the firm’s merger with Northeast Utilities.
Of course, it’s consumers who will end up paying the price – estimated at about $1 billion extra over the length of the contract with Cape Wind.
Until recently much of the opposition to Cape Wind has centered on the environmental impact of having a sea of giant windmills in Nantucket Sound. But once the NStar deal was struck it put real numbers to an already problematic project.
The lawsuit charges that Patrick administration regulators exceeded their authority, and in the process violated the Federal Power Act.
This is merely the latest in a long line of lawsuits against the project (not surprisingly Cape Wind officials call it “frivolous”). But the litigants make one very valid point – it has been 13 years and there’s still no wind farm. For which environmentalists and consumers remain grateful.
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