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PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WPRI) — The company seeking to build 149 wind turbines off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard is trying to get out of a power purchase agreement with Massachusetts.
SouthCoast Wind made the announcement in a recent filing with the Rhode Island Energy Facility Siting Board.
Although the proposed wind farm is expected to generate power for Massachusetts utility companies, the issue is before the Rhode Island Energy Facility Siting Board because the wind farm proposal seeks to put underwater transmission cables up the Sakonnet River and through Portsmouth.
The energy board is now deciding whether they should move forward with the licensing of the transmission lines after SouthCoast Wind’s announcement.
“What we’ve seen in the period of time since the [power purchase agreements] were executed is a very significant deterioration of the project’s economics driven by inflation, supply train constraints, war in Ukraine and also very dramatic rises in interest rates,” SouthCoast Wind CEO Francis Slingsby explained at Monday’s hearing.
Despite financial challenges, Slingsby reaffirmed the company’s commitment to the project, which has yet to be constructed.
If approved, transmission lines would bring that power from the wind farm up the Sakonnet River, cross Portsmouth underground, feed into Mount Hope Bay, and end at Brayton Point in Somerset.
“Once a contract is approved, ratepayers should not be exposed to the ebb and flow of economic conditions,” said Ronald Gerwatowski, chairman of the Energy Facilities Sitting Board.
The transmission cable plans are reportedly causing a lot of concern for Portsmouth residents.
No action was taken by the board during Monday’s meeting, and a public hearing will be scheduled in the coming weeks.
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