Cape Wind: All Ready to Build, No Buyers

Utilities turn noses up at half project's potential power
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 19, 2010 4:22 PM CST
A study released in December 2010 shows New England's onshore and offshore winds blow strong enough to supply up to 24% of the region's total annual electricity needs by 2020.   (Robert F. Bukaty)
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(Newser) – After years of review, lawsuits, and opposition, Massachussetts' Cape Wind is still, well, twisting in the wind: Even though it scored its first contract last month, half its power is still up for grabs with no buyers in sight. The controversial offshore wind farm, fiercely opposed by everyone from fishermen to the Kennedy clan, now faces the prospect of being smaller—and more costly—in scale, reports the AP. "It's not that we're for or against Cape Wind," said a spokeswoman for the state's second-largest utility. "We just want to make sure that we are ... being mindful of costs for our customers."

Offshore power is pricier, notes the AP, due to construction and maintenance costs involved at sea. Cape Wind's only customer is set to pay 18.7 cents a kilowatt hour, with a 3.5% increase annually—a figure roughly twice what it pays for fossil fuel-derived power. But the $2 billion project, set to go online in late 2012, would pump green energy into the East Coast's power grid years before any other offshore project, and proponents say its steady rates would help offset volatility with fossil fuels. One advocate is sure utilities will come around: "Really, are they going to choose to be on the wrong side of history here?"

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