The statements and views expressed in the postings on the Ocean & Offshore Energy Projects and Policy Blog are my own and do not reflect those of Nixon Peabody LLP. This Blog does not provide specific legal advice. Reading or visiting this Blog does not create an attorney client relationship. This Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Big News Day for Offshore Wind: Cape Wind and Major Federal Announcement!

Stay Tuned for a Major Federal Announcement Regarding Offshore Wind Regulation and Permitting!!

US Department of the Interior ("DOI") Secretary Ken Salazar is slated to announce “a major new initiative to accelerate the responsible siting and development of wind energy projects along the Atlantic coast” at 2pm today at the Ft. McHenry National Monument in Baltimore, Maryland. Although the DOI and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management ("BOEMRE") have not released official details on the substance of the announcement, there is speculation that the DOI will be authorizing a new, more streamlined permitting process for offshore wind and hydrokinetic energy projects that could eliminate some of the duplicative requirements that are presently mandated.

Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael Bromwich, Delaware Senator Tom Carper, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Jim Lanard, president of the Offshore Wind Development Coalition are also expected to be in attendance during the announcement today.

Check back here after the announcement for more specifics!

More Progress for Cape Wind!

On Monday November 22, 2010, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities announced that it has issued a final approval for the 15-year Power Purchase Agreement ("PPA") between National Grid and Cape Wind. This approval signifies another hard-won victory for the proposed Cape Wind offshore wind project.

Under the PPA, National Grid, one of the main electricity providers in Massachusetts, will purchase 50 percent of the power generated by the Cape Wind project. The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities has approved rates starting at 18.7 cents per kilowatt hour beginning in 2013, with a planned gradual increase of 3.5% to be introduced over the next 15 years. This will results in an average increase of one to two percent for most consumers' electric bills.

In its press release, Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities chair Ann Berwick stated: "It is abundantly clear that the Cape Wind facility offers significant benefits that are not currently available from any other renewable resource. These benefits outweigh the costs of the project."

The Cape Wind Offshore Wind project, which will involve the installation of 130 wind turbines in the waters of Nantucket Sound, still must obtain additional federal permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before construction can begin.

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