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Talking points

Tilting at windmills

Peter Dejohng/Associated Press/File

It’s the energy project that refuses to die.

In 2016, state lawmakers killed what seemed like Cape Wind’s last hope by excluding the wind farm proposal from a new energy law.

Flash forward a year, and it’s just like old times: Cape Wind versus the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. Some rivalries never die.

The Alliance blitzed Cape Wind with litigation for years. One result: a federal appeals court asked the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to review an issue involving surveys of the Nantucket Sound seabed where Cape Wind would be built. This is essentially a technical matter, but it created another opportunity for public comment.

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Hundreds of statements flowed in to the agency, many from Alliance members urging it to cancel Cape Wind’s lease for the federal waters in the sound. Plus, some key allies showed up. The Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, for example, argued that the lease should be ended early because Cape Wind lost its power contracts and its permit for a power line connection to the shore.

Developer Jim Gordon is focusing on a solar venture now, but he remains an active Cape Wind defender. He tells me his controversial Nantucket Sound project is needed “now more than ever.” He declined to say whether he’s shopping his lease rights to a buyer, but several deep-pocketed investors have already shown an interest in tapping the wind power south of Massachusetts

And so the Alliance’s Audra Parker says Nantucket Sound remains vulnerable, even though the odds are stacked against Gordon.

That means there’s one thing these enemies can agree on: Cape Wind could come back from the dead after all.


Jon Chesto is a Globe reporter. Reach him at jon.chesto@globe.com and follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.

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