Court on Cape Wind: MA DPU Was Right – Cape Wind’s Costs are Reasonable, Massachusetts Ratepayers Will Benefit

Sue Reid

The Cape Wind offshore wind project moved one big step closer to construction yesterday when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) affirmed the MA Department of Public Utilities’ (DPU’s) finding that the project’s costs are reasonable in light of the many benefits it will bring.

Massachusetts’s highest court upheld the November 2010 decision of the DPU, which approved a critically important contract between Cape Wind and National Grid in which the electric utility agreed to purchase half of Cape Wind’s output. Cape Wind opponents had appealed the DPU’s decision— the latest in an endless stream of ill-fated maneuvers intended to block the nation-leading clean energy project from being built.

CLF intervened in the appeal proceeding with fellow environmental groups NRDC and Clean Power Now, making the case that the DPU’s extensively-researched decision showed clearly that Cape Wind’s benefits would outweigh its costs. Among these benefits is the project’s close proximity to areas of high electricity demand, which gives it logistical advantages over obtaining power from more distant energy projects that have been proposed.

The High Court’s validation should make it easier for Cape Wind to secure a buyer for the other half of the wind farm’s output and attract project investors to help finance construction. When built, after more than a decade of exhaustive reviews, Cape Wind will be the nation’s first offshore wind project.

Encouraged by yesterday’s decision, Jim Gordon, president of Cape Wind, spelled out some of the benefits Massachusetts residents could anticipate when Cape Wind is built, including, “creating up to 1,000 jobs, providing Massachusetts with cleaner air, greater energy independence and a leadership position in offshore wind power.”

We at CLF say, “Bring it on…not a moment too soon!”

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