Money Gone With the Cape Wind

by Greg Pollowitz

Power from the Massachusetts wind project will only cost $2 billion more than from conventional power:

Nine years into the approval battles for the Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound, the project is now facing four new challenges in the state’s highest court.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the 7,000-member business group that is the state’s biggest business lobby, and three other groups asked the Supreme Judicial Court Monday to throw out a contract the Department of Public Utilities approved last month for utility giant National Grid, on behalf of its basic-service customers, to buy half of the electric output of the 130-turbine project. 

AIM general counsel Robert J. Rio says for his business members, most of whom buy power from competitive suppliers rather than from the utility directly, stand to be whacked with millions of dollars in increased costs. “They’re not receiving power from Cape Wind, yet they have to pay for Cape Wind, and we think that is fundamentally unfair,’’ Rio said.

Compared to current rates, it’s estimated that Cape Wind power — at 18.7 cents per kilowatt-hour, rising 3.5 percent annually — will cost about $2 billion more than conventional power under the National Grid contract.

But don’t worry. If things go Cape Wind’s way — meaning global economic catastrophy — the wind power will be competitive. . .

. . .supporters say it’s likely fossil-fuel prices could soar, making Cape Wind competitive or even a bargain, and it delivers many other benefits that justify the cost, including bolstering a small but growing Massachusetts wind-power sector.

Um, note to “supporters”: natural gas prices are really low right now. Please tell me the price that will make this boondoggle competitive.

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