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Cape Wind considers options

468MW project shut out of Massachusetts’ offshore legislation

Cape Wind considers options image

Developers of the 468MW Cape Wind project are “disappointed” after being shut out of Massachusetts’ groundbreaking offshore wind legislation.

A comprehensive energy bill approved by the state legislature this week requires utilities to procure 1.6GW of offshore wind power by 2027.

However, only projects that hold a federal lease issued on a competitive basis after 1 January 2012 are eligible, effectively excluding Energy Management Inc’s (EMI) Cape Wind proposal.

“It would take a long book to describe our disappointment, given the effort and perseverance our Massachusetts-based company invested in validating the benefits of offshore wind for the Commonwealth, while contributing to evolving its federal and state regulatory framework,” said EMI president and founder Jim Gordon.

The project has faced many regulatory, legal and financing hurdles since EMI first proposed to build 130 turbines on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound more than a decade ago.

More than 24 lawsuits slowed progress and the project lost power purchase agreements in early 2015, when it failed to complete financing on time.

“The influence of fossil fuel billionaire Bill Koch and other wealthy NIMBYS and the decision by the legislature and Baker administration to exclude a bona fide competitor with the most advanced, developed offshore wind project unfairly and arbitrarily subverts a long and comprehensive regulatory and judicial process,” said Gordon.

“Our company will evaluate our options for Cape Wind and continue our ongoing efforts of implementing a variety of clean energy solutions,” he said.

Dong Energy and OffshoreMW, meanwhile, hold commercial leases for a pair of 1GW sites in federal waters about 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.

The legislation requires utilities to hold the first competitive solicitation by June 2017 and sign long-term contracts of 15 to 20 years.

A bid process may be coordinated and issued jointly with other New England states. Solicitations may be staggered with a minimum of 400MW in each tranche.

Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker is expected to sign the legislation into law this month.

Image: impression of Cape Wind offshore project (Cape Wind)

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