Associated Industries of Massachusetts is supporting a request to have state regulators revisit their approval of the Cape Wind/National Grid power sales agreement now that other utilities are seeking to purchase wind-generated electricity at less than half the price of the proposed offshore project.
AIM submitted a letter Friday to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) supporting a motion by The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound for DPU to reopen the Cape Wind/National Grid case to admit new evidence. That evidence includes filings by the utility NSTAR, which is seeking permission to buy 109 megawatts of land-based wind power for a price experts estimate at less than 10 cents per kilowatt hour.
The NSTAR price compares to the 24 cents per kilowatt hour on average over 15 years that businesses and residents in the National Grid territory will pay for Cape Wind electricity.
AIM is currently appealing the commonwealth’s approval of the Cape Wind/National Grid agreement to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. AIM has argued for months that customers of National Grid face needless increases in their monthly bills because the utility has decided to pay a premium price for electricity from Cape Wind instead of buying much cheaper renewable power available from other sources.
The association also seeks in its Friday letter to include similar renewable power agreements from Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECO) in the Cape Wind/National Grid case.
“Again, the new and timely evidence from the NSTAR filings provides invaluable information, data and insight about a number of facts currently in the record, shedding new light on the availability of renewables, the timing of such supply, and cost. The Department would be remiss in not admitting the NSTAR filings, and hopefully the WMECO filing, because of the facts and decision-making value they bring to the proceeding,” AIM wrote.
The letter cites three reasons for opening the Cape Wind decision:
- The NSTAR filings were executed under Section 83 of the Green communities Act, the same section under which National Grid executed the Cape Wind contracts.
- The NSTAR filings contain information that is germane as to whether National Grid testimony was accurate about the cost-effectiveness of the Cape Wind contract and the availability of other less expensive renewable projects region wide.
- Since one of the NSTAR filings was executed with a wind project in Massachusetts (D.P.U. 11-06), the NSTAR filings contain information that is germane as to whether the National Grid testimony about cost-effectiveness of the Cape Wind contract and the availability of other less expensive renewable projects in Massachusetts was accurate
The numbers confirm that AIM has been right on the money to identify Cape Wind as an overpriced project that represents one of the largest potential transfers of wealth from productive sectors of the economy to a single private developer. The recent competitive electricity bids provide the good news that Massachusetts can move toward a future of wind and renewable power without bankrupting the rest of the economy and the jobs that go with it.