By Audra Parker
To date, 2015 has been a pivotal year for those of us who want to stop Cape Wind from building an industrial-scale wind plant in Nantucket Sound. In January, Cape Wind was stopped in its tracks when two Massachusetts utilities, NStar (now Eversource) and National Grid, terminated their contracts to buy Cape Wind’s high-priced power. While this development is a significant turning point for our cause, the battle is far from over.
Cape Wind still holds long-term development rights to 46 square miles of Nantucket Sound. Every indication right now is that Cape Wind intends to continue trying to put 130 massive industrial turbines — plus a transformer substation holding 30,000 gallons of oil — in the middle of Nantucket Sound. We must remain ever vigilant, or they could still succeed.
With the terminations of their power contracts, Cape Wind now has no customers and no way to finance the project. Because of this, the private developer continues to struggle. Cape Wind’s lease options for staging and construction sites in Quonset, Rhode Island, and New Bedford were canceled; they backed out of an agreement to buy a marina in Falmouth for an operations and maintenance center; they were suspended from participating in New England’s wholesale electricity markets; and their long-time spokesman and key team member, Mark Rodgers, resigned.
Yet Cape Wind has not given up. Cape Wind’s leadership is vowing to pursue the project and taking concrete steps to do so. The best ally they could find to meet their objective is a public that assumes the battle has been won, drops its guard, and allows Cape Wind to move forward in new directions to exploit Nantucket Sound without challenge.
Cape Wind’s leaders continue to claim their recently terminated power contracts remain valid, and the project will move forward. Recently, Cape Wind filed for a two-year extension of an expiring state permit, which would allow them to build electrical transmission lines through Nantucket Sound for the purpose of connecting the wind turbines to land. This is a move that would likely have been abandoned if the project were truly dead in the water.
More importantly, Cape Wind continues to hold a valuable lease to 46 square miles of Nantucket Sound. The development rights to that seabed were issued to Cape Wind in 2010 by the federal government and last for 28 years. As long as the company holds that valuable lease, the prospects of construction — either by Cape Wind or a better-funded company that could buy the lease — remain alive.
In other words: This fight continues.
Reprinted via Cape Cod Times – the news service is not affiliated with the Alliance