The Corner

The End of Massachusetts’ Offshore Cape Wind Project?

Massachusetts may be unable to proceed with its ambitious offshore Cape Wind project after two major purchasing partners terminated their agreements yesterday, citing missed deadlines for financing and construction.

National Grid had earlier agreed to purchase half of the energy generated by Cape Wind, while NStar would buy an additional 27.5 percent. But without a buyer for any energy Cape Wind would generate, the project may not be able to go forward, said both an IHS Energy expert and a former Massachusetts secretary of energy and environmental affairs.

The agreement would have forced New Englanders to pay for energy generated by the offshore project, which costs at least three times more than current residential rates, according to the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, a nonprofit that has opposed Cape Wind. Overall, the project “represents a $4 billion rate hike to [Massachusetts] households, businesses and municipalities,” the group has claimed.

The offshore project’s supporters are now blaming legal challenges brought by the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound for this new setback, also complaining that William Koch is a board member for the group.

But in criticizing the nonprofit, one local editorial page unintentionally reveals the validity of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound’s argument that Cape Wind is bad for Massachusetts’ economy and consumers:

Cheap Arabian oil, cost-effective hydraulic fracturing extraction and booming domestic oil production sustain not only the Koch empire, but the entire system of consumption by keeping that fossil-fuel-based economy profitable, and encouraging the market to ignore the renewables. . . .

We need projects like Cape Wind. We need Congress to support its development with reliable financing tools, because the market — which is looking more and more like it’s rigged against progress — isn’t helping right now. And we don’t have time to waste.

But technology hasn’t advanced enough to make the price of wind energy competitive with more traditional energy sources, including natural gas, which has resulted in a major decrease in carbon emissions in the U.S. Never mind that, Cape Wind’s supporters say: If the market can’t sustain lofty renewable endeavors, the government should simply force taxpayers to support them.

— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for National Review as a Thomas L. Rhodes Fellow for the Franklin Center. She is also a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.

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