Massachusetts Energy Siting Board Approves Cape Wind Certificates

In a unanimous vote at the end of last week, the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board voted to grant Cape Wind a Certificate of Environmental Impact and Public Interest. The Board’s decision effectively rolls up all nine state and local permits related to the projects electric cables into one “composite certificate”. The agency was created by the State’s Legislature to shepherd the siting of energy facilities that are needed in the state and to ensure those facilities have the least environmental impact possible.

In its decision, the Siting Board instructed Cape Wind to work with the Towns of Yarmouth and Barnstable on Cape Cod to reach an agreement for conditions on town permits related to Cape Wind’s buried electric cables and to present this agreement to the Siting Board.

In the event that the parties cannot agree on conditions, the Siting Board will decide on what conditions are reasonable to include in such an agreement. The Siting Board expects to complete this process and take its final vote within 60-days which will conclude Cape Wind’s permitting at the state and local level. Cape Wind was forced to file for this Certificate following a denial by the Cape Cod Commission in 2007.

“This decision represents a major victory for the people of Massachusetts who are waiting for the clean energy jobs from Cape Wind which will help us become more energy independent and make Massachusetts a global leader in clean offshore wind energy production. I am grateful for the assistance that the attorneys representing Clean Power Now and the Conservation Law Foundation provided as participants in the Siting Board process,” said Jim Gordon, Cape Wind’s President.

In 2005, the Siting Board approved Cape Wind’s electrical interconnection at the conclusion of a 32-month review of unprecedented length that included 2,900 pages of transcripts, 923 exhibits and 50,000 pages of documentary evidence. The Siting Board found that Cape Wind would meet an identified need for electricity and would provide a reliable energy supply for Massachusetts, with a minimum impact on the environment.

To read the official transcript of the Siting Board’s Hearing, click here.

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