Cape Wind Opposition Groups To Argue Before Mass. Supreme Court

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Several groups will appear before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to make arguments against the Cape Wind offshore wind project.

The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound (ATPNS) – along with the Associated Industries of MA, New England Power Generators Association, and TransCanada Power Marketing – will argue that the contract for Cape Wind ‘sets a risky precedent by allowing utilities to negotiate expensive power agreements outside of the competitive bidding process and to allocate the costs of those contracts unfairly to residential and commercial customers,’ according to a statement released by the ATPNS.

In addition, the ATPNS will argue that renewable energy projects need to compete effectively with other renewable resources on the basis of price. Therefore, promoting the most economical projects is the best way to ensure the development of renewable energy in the commonwealth and take effective steps to address global climate change, the ATPNS says.

"A decision by the court to allow the Cape Wind-National Grid contract to stand would sentence ratepayers to increased electric bills, a future of skyrocketing renewable energy costs, and give the green light for future renewable energy decisions to be based on political considerations rather than price," says Audra Parker, president and CEO of the ATPNS.

‘If the overarching goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, Cape Wind is the wrong choice. Ratepayers could get more than twice the emission reductions and more than twice the power for the same amount of money from a variety of far-lower-priced renewable resources,’ she adds.

"The Cape Wind power purchase agreement is exactly the kind of contract that we need to avoid if we are serious about combating global climate change without unduly burdening Massachusetts households and businesses," Parker continues. "Cape Wind and National Grid deliberately entered into the contract without the benefit of competitive bids, and now ratepayers are saddled with a contract that is well more than double that of other renewable energy resources."

According to the ATPNS, Cape Wind's contract with National Grid has a starting price of $0.19/kWh, with an annual rate increase of 3.5%, resulting in a price of over $0.30/kWh in the contract's final year. By contrast, NSTAR has signed three contracts with developers of land-based wind projects that are fixed at a price of less than $0.10/kWh, the ATPNS adds.

The ATPNS will also argue that the power purchase agreement amounts to an unconstitutional restriction on interstate commerce because lower-priced out-of-state renewable energy projects were excluded from consideration.

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