United States

United States

RI attorney general makes Supreme Court appeal over Deepwater Wind

UNITED STATES: Deepwater Wind's ambition to build a 20MW offshore wind farm off Block Island, Rhode Island has suffered a potential setback following the attorney general's decision to request the Supreme Court abolish the project's power purchase agreement.

Rhode Island attorney general Patrick Lynch has teamed up with the Conservation Law Foundation Rhode Island (CLF) to request the states’ Supreme Court overturn the wind farm’s PPA with National Grid. The Public Utilities Commission signed off the PPA earlier this month.

The aim of the Block Island project is prove the commercial viability of the overall project. The higher power purchase price has attracted critics of the scheme.

Under the terms of the new deal, National Grid will pay the same rate. However, the deal sets the price as an upper limit for the first year and leaves the possibility the price will be reduced after that period.

This is not the first time Lynch has voiced his opposition to the deal. When the revised PPA was signed off, the attorney general described it as a "sweetheart deal".

In June, Rhode Island governor Donald Carcieri has signed a bill allowing the commission to take into account other factors besides price when making a decision on a PPA. Lynch believes this broke RI constitutional rules.

Lynch commented: "As I’ve repeatedly said, I’m all for green energy. But in this case, green energy translates into greenbacks for the developers of an anti-competitive project with a limited scope that will force us to buy overpriced electricity for the next 20 years in order to subsidize one company, rather than jobs that are so desperately needed."

The CLF, which refers to itself as a "long-time champion of renewable energy done right" believes the amended law was designed to favour Deepwater and could hinder other renewables companies who are seeking to develop their own projects.

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