NStar Merger Agreement an Historic Win for Cape Wind, Clean Energy

Governor Patrick announced an agreement with NStar allowing their merger with Northeast Utilities (NEU) to move forward, and providing a rate freeze for ratepayers for the next four years.  Most importantly, the announcement also represents an historic win for Cape Wind allowing it to move forward as the first off-shore wind farm in the United States.

Under the agreement NStar would purchase 27 ½ % of Cape Wind’s energy.  In addition to the 50% of Cape Wind energy earlier contracted by National Grid, the NStar contract allows Cape Wind to now finance the development of 100 off-shore turbines.   Cape Wind has already received all state and federal permits required to commence construction.  NStar has also agreed to fully support the intent of the Green Communities Act (GCA), passed in 2008, calling on utilities to increase their purchase of renewable energy and increase their customers’ energy efficiency.  Furthermore, NStar agreed that large-scale hydro should not qualify for incentives under the GCA, an important determination insofar as large-scale hydro from Quebec is a mature industry not needing further incentives and would undermine the creation of local renewable energy companies in Massachusetts.

Beyond Cape Wind, NStar will provide ratepayers a 50-50% split of anticipated savings from the merger, resulting in a one-time $21M credit to ratepayers.  The agreement will also protect Mass. workers  should NEU seek to move jobs to Connecticut.  The agreement calls for complete transparency and justification of NStar rates prior to final approval by the Mass. Dept. of Public Utilities.  The agreement has the support of the Attorney General and has now been filed with the DPU for further review. 

“This is a win-win-win.” said George Bachrach, President of ELM.  “The Governor, Secretary Sullivan and their team deserve great credit for negotiating a critical settlement that protects ratepayers, protects the workforce and insures the Commonwealth’s national leadership in renewable energy with Cape Wind.  NStar is to be commended for coming to the table and understanding the importance of this merger and the utilities role in preserving fair rates and development of clean, renewable energy.”  Bachrach added. 

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