Nation’s First Off-Shore Wind Farm Wins Court Battle
A Massachusetts court this week ruled in favor of the nation’s first off-shore wind farm planned for Nantucket Sound.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a ruling that affirmed the May 2005 decision of the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board approving the construction and operation of undersea transmission lines to serve the Cape Wind Project.
The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound appealed the Siting Board’s decision to the Court.
The Court issued a unanimous decision in favor of Cape Wind, acknowledging the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board, MEFSB, for its “eminently reasonable and practical approach” in determining that the transmission lines were needed to serve the wind farm, even though the wind farm itself will ultimately require the approval of federal agencies.
Cape Wind President Jim Gordon said, “The state’s highest court has now confirmed the validity of the original agency decision, which said emphatically that Cape Wind’s power is needed, that Cape Wind will reduce air pollution and that the project is a needed part of our state’s energy mix.”
The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound said today, “The decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, SJC, upholds a conditional permit for the Cape Wind project allowing the transmission cable across state waters. The SJC decision does not confer legitimacy for constructing 130 turbines adjacent to a state ocean sanctuary and does not appreciably advance what remains a very controversial use of our public waters.”
The Court’s opinion states, “The record shows that the wind farm will tend to reduce market clearing prices for electricity… The savings would accrue to electric customers, and are estimated to be $25 million per year for New England customers, including $10 million annually for Massachusetts customers over the first five years of operation.”
“The record clearly documents significant and lasting air quality benefits resulting from the wind farms displacement of other, primarily fossil-fueled, generators,” the Court found.
“Overall, the Siting Board concludes that the air quality benefits of the wind farm are significant, and important for Massachusetts and New England.”
But the controversy is far from over. The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound said today that the Cape Wind project is “far from a done deal, and this decision represents but one of over 20 local, state and federal approvals and permits that the developer must get before this project could advance.”
“We remain confident that the Cape Wind project will not be permitted because of its unprecedented and inappropriate industrial use of 24 square miles of heavily trafficked and environmentally sensitive waters in Nantucket Sound,” the Alliance said.
Provided by the Environmental News Service.