Cape Wind Receives Favorable State Ruling

Opponents of the Cape Wind offshore wind farm proposal took a hit this week when the state’s agency overseeing energy facilities refused to revisit their previous ruling over transmission lines for the project. The previous ruling approved of the wind farm and cited numerous benefits to the state and to New England.

The Massachusetts’ Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) released a 15-page ruling this week that denied a motion filed by the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound that sought to re-open the EFSB hearing to include the Draft Environmental Impact Report. The EFSB issued a Tentative Decision to approve Cape Wind’s electric transmission cable in July, 2004, finding that, “the power from the wind farm is needed on reliability and economic grounds, and to meet the requirements of Massachusetts and regional renewable portfolio standards.” Their Tentative Decision followed a 22-month adjudicatory process that included 2,900 pages of transcripts and 932 exhibits. In the Ruling, Presiding Officer M. Kathryn Sedor wrote, “I find that the Alliance has not established good cause to reopen the hearing in this proceeding and thus has not met the standard for reopening for the purpose of receiving new evidence…” The EFSB Tentative Decision stated environmental benefits that Cape Wind would create, “Overall, the Siting Board concludes that the air quality benefits of the wind farm are significant, and important for Massachusetts and New England.” The EFSB Tentative Decision also found consumer benefits from Cape Wind, “The Siting Board finds that operation of the wind farm would provide average annual savings of $25 million per year for New England customers during the first five years of operation.” “At a time of record high energy costs and increasing dependence on foreign energy, we are pleased that the Energy Facility Siting Board staff issued another positive ruling for this important renewable energy project,” Cape Wind President Jim Gordon said. Gordon expressed the next stage of the EFSB process by stating, “We are hopeful that the Siting Board will convene to vote and adopt the Staff’s Tentative Decision so that citizens can reap the benefits of cleaner air, lower energy costs, new jobs and greater energy independence.”

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