Cape Wind survives another court challenge

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected a challenge to the Cape Wind offshore wind farm by a beachfront property owner who wanted to intervene in the power purchase contract state officials approved.

Thomas Melone argued that Cape Wind’s wind turbine farm would have an impact on him, altering the view from his property, overnight lighting and the possibility of oil leakage would diminishing its value. “The construction and operation of the Cape Wind project would specifically and significantly adversely affect Appellant’s use and enjoyment of his property,” according to court filings.

The court ruled on May 9 that the challenge was “beyond the scope” of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities’ standard review of proposed power purchase agreement with National Grid.

National Grid has agreed to purchase half of the power from Cape Wind Associates, which plans to generate power using 130 wind turbines on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound. The court said the department was “well within its broad discretion in denying Melone’s request to intervene in this matter.’’

In previous rulings, the court had upheld the contract itself.

National Grid agreed to pay Cape Wind 18.7 cents a kilowatt-hour for half the output that the project produces. The price will increase 3.5 percent annually for the 15-year life of the contract.

Massachusetts, under its Green Communities Act of 2008 and subsequent regulatory rulings, changed merger review requirements to include “net public benefits” that include environmental goals, which included more renewable energy in utility portfolios.

Cape Wind has spent a decade under review and fending off challenges, so development is by no means certain.