Energy companies Northeast Utilities and NStar have agreed to buy more than 25% of the power produced by the Cape Wind offshore wind farm as a condition of a proposed deal that unites the companies. So reports the Boston Globe.
The Globe says the announcement from Massachusetts officials is a big boost for the 130-turbine Cape Wind project, which would be located about 5 miles off Cape Cod in Nantucket Sound. It would be the nation’s first offshore wind farm.
The Cape Wind project has sold half its power to the state utility National Grid but has struggled to find buyers for the remaining power, which, in turn, has been a major obstacle in its efforts to secure financing.
As part of the new deal, the combined company would buy 27.5 percent of the electricity Cape Wind produces under a 15-year contract.
Massachusetts officials stressed that the Cape Wind provision represents only one portion of a broader agreement that Attorney General Martha Coakley said would save an estimated $217 million over four years for Massachusetts utility customers.
The agreement calls for a four-year freeze on base energy distribution rates, a one-time $21 million credit for ratepayers and a requirement the combined company be subject to an independent audit.
Cape Wind was initially proposed in 2001 but has met strong resistance since then. Opponents say the power is overpriced.
The price NStar and Northeast Utilities will pay for Cape Wind’s power is still subject to negotiation, NStar spokeswoman Caroline Allen told the Globe.
Environmentalists, however, praised the agreement as the next step toward making Cape Wind a reality, the Globe adds.
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