Late last year the Patrick Administration's Department of Public Utilities determined that a power purchase deal between National Grid and Cape Wind was reasonable and in the "public interest," despite a price tag that will force National Grid rate payers to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars above what they would otherwise pay for electricity.
upheld the DPU's determination.
Cape Wind's developers are hailing the ruling as a major victory in their long slog to construction. In truth, however, the court's decision is entirely unremarkable. In finding that "there was clearly sufficient evidence on which the department could base its conclusion that the special benefits of (the Cape Wind power deal) exceeded those of other renewable energy resources," all the court did was confirm that the Department correctly followed its procedures and arrived at a subjective decision that is within its broad statutory authority to regulate energy rates in the Commonwealth.
What is remarkable about all of this is the same thing that has always been remarkable about it: our state government is forcing consumers (us) to pay a huge premium on the cost of our energy - already among the highest costs in the nation, by the way - to buoy a project that is politically popular on the left, but increasingly untenable without government support.
Listen to Richard Sullivan, Governor Patrick's Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The DPU ruling upheld by the Court, he said, “assured that ratepayers could get renewable power at a fair price.” The unspoken addendum to that statement? "... a fair price hundreds of millions more expensive than energy from other available sources, including renewable sources."
Read carefully, and buried in the news of the SJC's pro-Cape Wind decision you will also learn that developers have pushed back construction by another year, to 2013. Why? Because more than a year after National Grid agreed to buy half of the project's power output, developers have been unable to find a buyer for the other half.
And why is that?
Because no other utility is yet willing to follow National Grid's example and impose a huge rate hike on its consumers merely to make some politicians feel good about themselves.