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Anti-Cape Wind group blasts company’s extension request

The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound is blasting an attempt by Cape Wind to obtain a a two-year extension from the state for its transmission facilities – a request the opposition group says the state should deny.

“This is a clear indication that Cape Wind has not given up its plans to build 130 massive wind turbines in the Sound,” said Audra Parker, president and CEO of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, in a statement on Wednesday. “So long as they are seeking permit renewals and still hold a long-term federal lease to part of Nantucket Sound, the threat is serious.”

The alliance statement was in response to an April 7 request by Cape Wind for a 24-month extension of state approvals of electrical power lines that would run through the Nantucket Sound waters. A spokesman for the wind turbine company on Friday confirmed it had made the request back in April.

The extension request could breathe life into the almost dead $2.6 billion off-shore wind turbines project.

Cape Wind proposes to construct two new 115 kV electric transmission lines, about 18 miles in length, which would travel partly beneath Nantucket Sound and Lewis Bay, and partly underground in Yarmouth and Barnstable on Cape Cod, according to the state Energy Facilities Siting Board documents. Its vice president, Dennis Duffy, said the turbine company had asked for the extension to give it time to resolve pending legal cases.

The deadline for approvals for transmission facilities was to expire on May 15. The state extended the approval date while it considers the new request.

The alliance urged the Siting Board to deny the request because the transmission facilities are not needed, it says. The alliance argued “Cape Wind has not provided and cannot provide evidence that it has sufficient funding to commence construction, let alone sufficient financing to achieve commercial operation.”

“EFSB must realize that the chances of this project being built grow dimmer every day, and so these facilities are unnecessary,” Parker said.

Cape Wind has until June 4 to reply to opposition comments.

Cape Wind still hopes to use the southern terminal in New Bedford, Duffy said.

After the state invested $113 million in state funds building the 28-acre New Bedford terminal, Cape Wind planned to use it as a staging area. But Cape Wind had to cancel its $4.5 million lease with the South Coast Marine Commerce Terminal in New Bedford after it lost its contracts to sell power to National Grid and Eversource.

While Mayor Jon Mitchell said he was not familiar enough with the details of Cape Wind’s request for an transmission line extension to comment, he said he remained optimistic for the city’s future in the market.