BOSTON (AP) — Opponents of a proposed wind farm in Nantucket Sound have filed a federal lawsuit saying the state overstepped its authority when it brokered an agreement for a major utility to buy power from the project.
The suit filed Tuesday by the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, the town of Barnstable and several Cape Cod businesses and individuals argues that by brokering the deal between NStar and Cape Wind, the state discriminated against out-of-state power companies with a deal that will drive up electricity costs.
The suit alleges that state regulators exceeded their authority in setting wholesale rates for the contract in violation of both the Federal Power Act and the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which reserves that power for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
"These are all ratepayers that would be forced to pay much higher rates as a result of Cape Wind," alliance president Audra Parker said. "They would basically be harmed by an increase in electricity bills."
Parker said she is confident about the prospects of the suit given recent court decisions in Maryland and New Jersey that found state requirements for local utilities to sign long-term contracts with independent power producers unconstitutional.