With Cape Wind partners recently reinvigorating talk of their stalemated offshore wind farm, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound is likewise breathing new life into its campaign against the the project.
Alliance Director Audra Parker amped up efforts against the wind farm after hearing recent comments from a Cape Wind vice president, who blew some fresh wind into his own project at a recent industry conference.
Parker issued an email blast, seeking donations against the project, as well as appearing on a recent radio spot on Cape station WXTK.
The Cape Wind project, a 130-turbine endeavor planned for Nantucket Sound, was dealt a heavy blow back in January when its two local energy buyers – National Grid and NStar, the former Eversource – backed out of their power deal with the turbine operation.
And the time, critics called it the project’s death knell.
But, Dennis Duffy, vice president of regulatory affairs for Cape Wind, recently told the American Wind Energy Association’s Offshore Windpower 2015 conference in Baltimore that the project was not dead, according to NAWindPower.com.
In fact, Duffy went on to explain how the company is still poised to move forward with the project. Similarly, Cape Wind President James Gordon spoke to The Boston Globe earlier this week, buoyed by legislative calls for more green energy and by the pending closure of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, both of which could set the stage for more wind power in the commonwealth.
Cape Wind and spokespeople for former investors Natixis, Rabobank and The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UJF Ltd. would not respond to questions about the current state of project financing. Duffy declined to comment additionally, and Gordon did not return a call for comment.
The Alliance’s Parker did have plenty to say, however, advising all Nantucket Sound wind farm opponents the project isn’t dead.
“Yes, we’re winning, but it’s not over yet,” said Parker. She cautioned that the long-term lease held by Cape Wind might be spun off to another wind power giant, such as Dong Energy, which is slated to build the world’s biggest turbine farm off the coast of Britain. “As long as Cape Wind holds development rights, we have to remain vigilant and continue the fight to stop Cape Wind permanently.”
Parker said Duffy’s comments at last month’s energy conference were a clear call to continue the alliance’s push to stop the project.
At the conference, Duffy cited that Cape Wind has received a project extension from the commonwealth’s Energy Siting Board, which will terminate when the board issues a decision about the project; the project is also still in the queue for ISO-New England, which operates the power grid.
Duffy also noted the receipt this past summer of a suspension of its federal lease from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management granted on July 24. The lease suspension expires on July 24, 2017, when the lease is again in effect. The bureau denied Cape Wind’s request to suspend lease payments during the suspension.
At the conference, Duffy also noted how Cape Wind still has federal approval to do the work, and has nearly completed all of its planning and design requirements.
Beyond its lack of financial backers and energy buyers, however, the project is tied up in a federal appeals court case, in which the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound is arguing against the government’s approval of the project.
The alliance maintains that approval of the project will “upend vessel safety on Nantucket Sound.”
As the sounds stands, it’s already a challenge for vessels to navigate the area safely, the alliance states in its appeal; the introduction of 130 turbines over 26 acres would make it even more treacherous, according to the alliance.
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