R.I.P., Cape Wind
What a long, slow death it has been for the state’s first proposed offshore wind farm. But now, its proponents are finally pulling the plug.
While others in the energy industry considered the Cape Wind project dead, developer Jim Gordon didn’t quit after losing power contracts he needed for financing in early 2015, or after state regulators yanked permission for a power line connection last year.
Another big blow came later in 2016 when Cape Wind foes worked their magic on Beacon Hill. They successfully lobbied lawmakers to prevent Cape Wind from benefitting from a major energy bill, one that requires utilities to buy large amounts of offshore wind. This was exactly the kind of legislation Gordon needed. But he wasn’t being allowed at the party.
Still, Gordon soldiered on, even renewing the Cape Wind lease rights with the federal government. In my recent conversations with him, he remained unusually quiet about Cape Wind’s fate.
But it’s finally over: Gordon filed a notice this week with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to end the firm’s Nantucket Sound lease. Gordon also issued a brief statement, taking credit for sparking the discussion about offshore wind here. He also took a jab at his opponents, in part for the significant funding they get from wealthy Cape homeowners. Their repeated legal challenges likely played a key role in the project’s demise.
We’re embarking on a new era. Wind turbines are on their way for deeper waters, south of Martha’s Vineyard. They won’t be Gordon’s. But at least he can take some credit, in his defeat, for being a pioneer.