After being plagued by major, some say fatal, setbacks over the past several months, Cape Wind is still struggling to hold the ground the offshore-wind energy developer had previously gained.
On April 7, Cape Wind Vice-President Dennis Duffy submitted a written request for a two-year extension of state approvals for 18 miles of transmission lines that will run underwater from the off-shore turbines through Nantucket Sound and Lewis Bay, and then underground from West Yarmouth to a Barnstable electrical switching station.
The extension would allow some time for the resolution of pending legal cases, and give Cape Wind the chance to finalize financing, update its construction schedule and obtain equipment necessary for the project, Duffy wrote in the letter.
But the extension request, like almost everything else the company has tried to do since the project was first proposed in 2001, is being challenged by opponents of the project.
Past approval for the lines and transmission facilities was set to expire May 15. The Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board has temporarily extended the approval date while it considers the request for a formal extension, Duffy said.
The anti-Cape Wind group, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, has meanwhile submitted a lengthy letter to the state urging denial of the requested extension. Cape Wind has until June 4 to produce its response.
“Essentially, the Energy Facilities Siting Board’s test is that transmission lines should not be built unnecessarily,” Alliance President Audra Parker said. “All the setbacks make construction of this project highly unlikely.”
In a statement released Wednesday, the alliance cites the termination of power purchase agreements with Cape Wind at the end of 2014 by National Grid and Eversource, leaving the company with no customers to buy the power its 130 turbines would generate, and its failure to secure financing for the $2.6 billion offshore wind project.
“The EFSB must realize that the chances of this project being built grow dimmer every day, and these facilities are unnecessary,” according to the statement.
But Duffy argued that the project is still alive.
“Our position is the power purchase contracts are still in effect, and we’re still evaluating our options,” he said. “We clearly satisfy all the requirements of the siting board for the requested extension.”
Despite Duffy’s optimism, Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton told Boston Herald Radio on Tuesday that the project “has a difficult road ahead of it” and that he didn’t see a way that it could overcome the many hurdles it faces.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding