Has Cape Wind Lost the Battle of Nantucket Sound?

Cape Wind Associates has dismissed its appeal against a decision by the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board to deny the company a two-year extension on permits for two subsea cables that would connect a 468MW offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound to the mainland, according to local media.

Cape Wind has reportedly instructed its attorneys not to proceed with delivering briefs on why the board should extend permits, scheduled for Thursday, 6 October, the Cape Cod Times reports.

The board made the final decision not to grant the extension on the permits by May 2017 in April 2016, saying that the proposed 130-turbine offshore wind project was unlikely to enter construction phase by mid-2017, especially following Cape Wind’s loss of two major contracts with National Grid and Eversource Energy in 2015.

Cape Wind filed the appeal against the decision to the state’s Supreme Judicial Court at the end of April 2016, calling for reversal of the board’s decision.

In its appeal, Cape Wind Associates claimed that in reaching the decision to deny the permit extension, the board overstepped its authority and interfered with the United States Bureau of Offshore Energy Management’s (BOEM) exclusive federal authority, as the project is located in federal waters and is”outside of the boundaries and regulatory jurisdiction of the Commonwealth.”

Cape Wind Associates obtained the commercial lease to construct and operate the wind farm in October 2010. The project proposed the installation of up to 130 Siemens 3.6MW wind turbine generators.

The lease area is comprised of approximately 46 square miles in Nantucket Sound, 25 square miles of which make up the project footprint area on Horseshoe Shoal. The lease includes a 5-year site assessment term and a 28-year operations term.

Back in February 2015, the developer submitted a request for a two-year suspension of the operations term of its commercial lease, which was approved by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in July 2015. No construction or installation activities related to the commercial lease may occur during the lease suspension period which expires in July 2017.

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