Foes look to zap Nstar, Cape Wind deal
By Jerry Kronenberg
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - Updated 1 hour ago
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Business groups plan to make a last-ditch push today to kill a roughly $300 million deal Boston utility Nstar has reached with controversial wind-power provider Cape Wind.
“We believe Cape Wind will turn into a big boondoggle for ratepayers,” said Robert Rio of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, a trade group that opposes the deal.
Cape Wind supporters and opponents plan to testify about the agreement today at a state Department of Public Utilities hearing.
Nstar agreed last month to buy power for 15 years from Cape Wind, which plans to erect offshore wind turbines in Nantucket Sound.
The utility had long-resisted state arm-twisting to work with Cape Wind, arguing that the wind project wanted too much money for electricity.
However, Nstar finally relented as part of a deal to win regulatory approval for its planned $4.7 billion merger with Connecticut’s Northeast Utilities.
The firm plans to buy 27.5 percent of Cape Wind’s output for an estimated $231 million to $382 million.
Backers say the deal will boost Cape Wind, making Massachusetts a “green energy” leader. But critics say the pact will stick Nstar’s 1 million Bay State clients with overpriced juice.
AIM estimates Cape Wind will charge about 25 cents per kilowatt hour —way above the roughly 4.5 cents that conventional electricity costs.
Rio said even power from land-based wind farms only costs about 9.5 cents per kilowatt hour.