STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS - AFTERNOON EDITION - TUESDAY, OCT. 11, 2016
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE: CAPE WIND DROPS APPEAL IN TRANSMISSION FACILITY CASE
Cape Wind has given up on its appeal of a state board's denial of its request to extend critical subsea and on-shore transmission facility approvals. The Supreme Judicial Court on Sept. 16 announced it was soliciting amicus briefs in the case brought by the offshore wind farm project against the Energy Facilities Siting Board, which handed down its denial in April. But in an Oct. 6 letter, Cape Wind attorney Charles Dougherty filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the appeal. The wind farm planned for leased waters in Nantucket Sound has faced steady opposition and legal challenges, and project officials have also encountered financing problems. Cape Wind officials did not respond to request for comment about the project's future. In the board's April 6 decision, siting board presiding officer James Buckley wrote, "While Cape Wind insists that May 1, 2017 remains a reasonable extension period, it cannot provide any project schedule that it considers reliable." The "lack of progress, and indeed regression" on the project over the past year was "instructive," he wrote. More than 12 years have passed since the record closed on the board's original approval of project requests in 2005, he wrote, and "at this time, Cape Wind needs a lengthy, almost open-ended extension period." A state law signed over the summer by Gov. Charlie Baker encouraged the development of deepwater offshore wind energy. Cape Wind officials protested the legislative effort on Beacon Hill to block the project from competing for wind energy contracts under the bill. In April 2010, former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar approved the 130-turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound, calling it "the final decision of the United States of America" and saying he was "very confident" the verdict would withstand opposition. Former Gov. Deval Patrick joined Salazar at the State House for that announcement and said at the time that he expected construction to begin "within a year." In an Oct. 6 article about the dropped appeal, the Cape Cod Times on Thursday said it "might be the most definitive sign that Cape Wind officials have given up on the long-running and seemingly unattainable dream of building a wind farm in Nantucket Sound." - Michael Norton/SHNS
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This article is reprinted from Statehouse News Service, which is not affiliated with the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound.