Status of Cape Wind
More than 15 years after it was first proposed, Cape Wind is close to defeat. However, the developer still retains a lease to 46 square miles of Nantucket Sound issued by the U.S. Department of the Interior in November 2010. This long-term lease is valid until the year 2041.
Cape Wind has no customers:
In early 2015, both Eversource and National Grid terminated their contracts with Cape Wind, leaving the developer with no customers for its high-priced power. In July 2016, the state passed an energy bill, which requires Massachusetts utilities to solicit bids for power from offshore wind projects, but excludes the Cape Wind project.
Cape Wind has lost key state and federal permits:
- In mid-2015, the U.S. Department of the Interior suspended Cape Wind’s lease through July 2012, extending the developer’s rights to build or transfer the lease through the year 2041.
- Cape Wind’s No Hazard Determination from the FAA expired in August of 2015.
- Cape Wind’s Air Permit from the EPA expired in September of 2015.
- Massachusetts approvals for transmission lines needed to connect Cape Wind’s turbines to land were denied by the state in April of 2016.
Cape Wind continues to face legal challenges from numerous parties:
- In July of 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the government violated federal law in issuing Cape Wind’s lease and vacated Cape Wind’s 2009 EIS, the foundation of the lease. The court vacated both the Environmental Impact Statement issued by the U.S. Department of Interior and the Incidental Take Statement issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The outcome of this review will be for Interior to either rescind the lease or reinstate it.
- In March 2017, the U.S. Department of the Interior began supplemental review and in September issued a final decision to keep Cape Wind’s lease in place. The Alliance expects to take further legal action to challenge this decision and the inappropriately narrow scope of review.