Cape Wind has reportedly dropped its appeal to extend permits for an electricity transmission line connecting its proposed – and long-embattled – offshore wind project to Massachusetts’ grid.
According to a local report from the Cape Cod Times, attorneys from Cape Wind were supposed to attend a hearing with Massachusetts’ energy facilities siting board in which they would argue their case in favor of extending the transmission permits, which would connect the power generated by the Nantucket Sound project. However, the company reportedly withdrew the appeal before the Thursday brief.
Back in March of this year, the siting board denied an extension of nine local and state permits, which were granted as one “super permit” in 2009. The developer had applied for a permit extension until May 1, 2017; however, the siting board ruled that Cape Wind would not have been able to prove that construction on the project would commence by then.
The board cited the termination of two 15-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) with National Grid and NSTAR: In January of last year, the utilities, when canceling the PPAs, claimed that Cape Wind missed financing and construction commitments it was required to meet on Dec. 31, 2014. The utilities had agreed to purchase 77.5% of the project’s output: National Grid at 50% and NSTAR at 27.5%.
In another recent roadblock to the project, a federal court ruled earlier this year that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management were not in compliance with the Endangered Species Act or the National Environmental Policy Act, respectively, when they issued a lease for Cape Wind’s proposed project off the coast of Massachusetts.
Jim Gordon, CEO of Cape Wind, maintained in July that the case would not bring forth “substantial delays” in bringing the project to fruition. And it’s been a long time coming: The company first applied for federal approval back in 2001 for the 130-turbine, 468 MW project.
However, Charles McLaughlin, an assistant town attorney for the Town of Barnstable, Mass., told the Cape Cod Times that this latest blow could signal rough roads ahead, considering although the project still holds a federal lease, re-applying for the local permits could take considerable time.
“For all intents and purposes, this is it,” he said.
Cape Wind did not respond to NAW‘s requests for comment.