Will Slow But Steady Win the Race? Cape Wind Clears One More Hurdle

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The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court today affirmed the decision by the Department of Public Utilities to approve the power purchase agreement, or PPA, between Cape Wind and National Grid. (Full disclosure: Foley Hoag represented the Department of Energy Resources in support of the contract before the DPU.) The decision doesn’t mean that Cape Wind will now get built. Given the (one hopes) temporary problems with the federal loan guarantee program and Cape Wind’s failure thus far to sell the rest of the power from the project, the SJC decision is more of a necessary than sufficient condition to construction.

On the merits, the decision is pretty much a standard nuts-and-bolts review concerning whether there was substantial evidence to support DPU’s decision. The SJC made frequent reference to the deference given both to DPU’s application of its expertise and to its interpretation of statutes it is charged with implementing.

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