OCEAN WIND SEES OPPORTUNITY
Utility merger could end up helping 1st offshore wind farm sell its power, get financing
Jay Lindsay, September 25, 2011 AP via Minneapolis Star Tribune)
"…The nation's first offshore wind farm…Cape Wind…needs to attract big power customers to obtain the financing to fully build out its 130-turbine project in Nantucket Sound…[because] the utility NStar has taken a tepid public stance on Cape Wind…[but a] pending merger between NStar and Northeast Utilities has become a possible pressure point to get NStar to buy Cape Wind power.
"Since the merger was announced last year, regulators added a requirement that such deals must advance the state's clean energy goals, which include developing offshore wind. The state also made a request, still pending, to stay proceedings for a review of the merger's effect on rates — a lengthy process that could lead to a merger-killing delay."
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"The moves are obvious attempts to pressure NStar to buy power from a favored private developer, [opponents say]… Robert F. Kennedy Jr. accused Gov. Deval Patrick's administration of ‘trying to hold hostage the proposed NStar-Northeast Utilities merger unless the two electric companies agree to buy Cape Wind's power.’
"But the state says it's just upholding the law and protecting the public interest…The state is now in discussions with NStar about the utility buying Cape Wind's power..."