Cape Wind now has another in a growing list of obstacles to overcome in its seemingly fatally stalled quest to construct a 130-turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound, which has already cost the company about $100 million.
The state Energy Facilities Siting Board unanimously voted Wednesday to deny the company’s request to extend nine state and local permits related to construction of an electricity transmission line from its proposed offshore wind farm to the shore.
The permits, bundled as a so-called super permit, were granted to the offshore wind energy developer in 2009 and set to expire May 1, 2015 unless work on the transmission line had begun. They allowed Cape Wind to build the transmission line through state-owned territory in Nantucket Sound to a regional transmission grid in Barnstable.
A month before the May 2015 deadline, Cape Wind Associates filed a request to extend the permits to May 2017. The energy siting board granted an interim extension until it could decide on the request.
Following Wednesday’s vote, Cape Wind Vice President Dennis Duffy expressed disappointment but said the company “is pressing on.”
“We still hold off-shore federal leases and the project is moving forward,” he said.
Cape Wind will simply file a new application for the electricity transmission permits.
“It’s been studied extensively so the process won’t be nearly as complicated as when we first applied,” Duffy said.
The state Energy Facilities Siting Board expressed doubt Wednesday that Cape Wind could make any significant headway on the project by the requested 2017 extension date, based on the obstacles it faced.
Several federal permits for the project have lapsed or expired, and the wind company continues to lack buyers for the power it would generate, wrote siting board presiding officer Jeffrey Buckley.
National Grid and Eversource, which had previously agreed to purchase the power, terminated those contracts in January 2015 when Cape Wind fell short of agreed upon financial benchmarks.
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