It’s over for Cape Wind

Audra Parker, left, president and CEO of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, says she's thrilled the project is dead.

Cape Wind, the 130-wind-turbine project proposed for Nantucket Sound, is finally dead in the water, a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management confirmed.

Jim Gordon, CEO of Cape Wind, announced on Friday that he is giving up the company’s lease on the 46 acres by filing an application to relinquish its lease, spokeswoman Tracey Moriarty wrote. The announcement comes as opponents renewed their objections and filed an appeal of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Management decision to renew the lease, despite concerns raised by stakeholders about the viability of the project.

“I’m thrilled,” said Audra Parker, president and CEO of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, a group that has waged a 15-plus-year battle against the project. “I’m grinning.”

Ms. Parker said she’s seen the notice of surrender and abandonment that was signed and sent in to the federal agency that oversees leases in federal waters.

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah also praised Cape Wind’s decision to relinquish the lease.

“We are delighted to hear this news,” Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, the tribe’s chairwoman, wrote in a prepared statement. “While our Tribe is a strong supporter of renewable energy (and of course the environment) this project simply wasn’t going to fulfill its energy and economic benefits promises, so the ancillary and collateral cost was too high. Our tribe opposed this project on all of the practical business model reasons. However, the adverse impacts to our tribal community went even further: to the aquatic environment; to our traditional practices and cultural properties; to the irreplaceable underwater archeological sites.”

Ms. Andrews-Maltais also praised those organizations and individuals that worked to protect Horseshoe Shoal. “I’d like to give special thanks to Audra Parker and Save our Sound for their firm commitment and perseverance in seeing this challenging and expensive battle through to its inevitable and welcomed end,” she wrote. “It will be so nice to look to the first light again, without the worry of the threat of it not being there for our children and future generations to celebrate …”

Two years ago, utilities that made purchase power agreements with Cape Wind decided to walk away from those contracts. While that was considered the death knell for the project, Cape Wind applied and received renewal of its lease, despite the objections from the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, state and local leaders, and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), among others.

When it began in 2001, Cape Wind appeared to be a pioneer in renewable energy, but other projects passed it by as it faced a myriad of lawsuits. It also faced strong objections from powerful politicians like U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, whose family owns property on the Hyannis Port side of Nantucket Sound.

Ms. Parker issued a statement: “For 16 years a coalition of business and political leaders, Cape Cod and Island communities, Native Americans and fishermen, pilots and environmental advocates — all stood united to say ‘no’ to a massive private development that would have ruined the national treasure that is Nantucket Sound. Today, I am thrilled to say that the fight to stop Cape Wind is finally over,” she wrote. “Cape Wind has announced it has abandoned its misguided plan to develop the Sound and is giving up its lease to 46 square miles of seabed.