Patrick Administration deal with NStar will boost Cape Wind

Patrick Administration deal with NStar will boost Cape Wind

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The Patrick administration has reached a deal with NStar for the purchase of more than a quarter of the power expected to be generated by Cape Wind as part of an agreement to facilitate the merger between the company and Northeast Utilities.

Gov. Deval Patrick announced agreement terms between the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and NStar on Wednesday at a press conference outside his statehouse office. Details still require approval from the Department of Public Utilities for the merger to move forward. “It’s good for rate payers, for the environment, and for our economy,” Mr. Patrick said.

As part of the deal, the new company will also agree to a cap on electricity rates for the next four years, and to share half of the savings projected as a result of the merger, or $21 million, with businesses and households in the form of rate credits for NStar electric and gas customers and Western Massachusetts Electric customers.

According to Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard Sullivan Jr., the average household would see a one-time savings of $12 to $15 and any job reductions as a result of the merger would also be prohibited under the agreement from disproportionately impacting Massachusetts.

“Today’s announcement by Governor Patrick represents a major step forward in making Massachusetts a leader in offshore wind power and attaining the jobs, clean air and energy independence benefits that Cape Wind will provide,” Jim Gordon, President of Cape Wind, said in a separate statement. “By including Cape Wind in this utility merger Settlement Agreement, NSTAR and the Patrick Administration are helping ensure that Cape Wind will supply up to 500,000 homes with locally harvested renewable energy and create hundreds of new jobs.”

Audra Parker, the president and CEO of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, said clean energy alternatives to Cape Wind were available for a fraction of the price of offshore wind.

“Gov. Patrick has forced NStar to agree to this purchase as a condition of approving a merger between NStar and Northeast Utilities over the repeated objections of NStar CEO Tom May. It is obvious, it is anti-consumer, and it ought to be illegal,” Ms. Parker said.