Is Cape Wind Dead?

Last week, with little fanfare, the Cape Cod Commission denied Cape Wind Associates permission to run transmission lines to their proposed offshore wind farm, the Boston Globe reports. The Commission based its decision on Cape Wind's alleged failure to provide sufficient information about its project. Yet there is little doubt the decision was motivated by well-financed local opposition. As the Globe editorialized last week:

The cable has been the focus of so much attention by state and Cape Cod regulators because it is the one part of the project under their purview - the turbines themselves would be in federal waters and under jurisdiction of federal watchdogs. . . .

There is evidence that the Cape Cod Commission is finding fault with the cable proposal because some commission members or residents of the towns they represent do not want the turbines, which at their closest point would be about five miles from the Cape, in their viewscape. At the same time the commission was dealing with the cable proposal from Cape Wind, it approved without benefit of any review at all a new electric cable linking Nantucket with the Cape. At 26 miles, that cable has already been built, and it is double the length of Cape Wind's.

Cape Wind can appeal the decision, or seek to satisfy the Commission's information request. Either course may involve further delay, and further cost increases. If local NIMBYs defeat this project, it could produce an ill wind for offshore wind projects nationwide.

I previously wrote on regulatory obstacles to wind power and other alternative energy sources here.