New England Ratepayers Association

Advocacy for Ratepayers Across New England

Support for Cape Wind Project Has Collapsed Since 2007

Majority now oppose project over high costs,
rate impacts and concerns about economy

CONTACT: (603) 369-4301
March 27, 2013

CONCORD, NH — Support for Cape Wind is collapsing in Massachusetts, according to a survey sponsored by the New England Ratepayers Association. The survey, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, asked questions to 503 Massachusetts residents about energy in the region and the Cape Wind project.  After learning more about the project, including the high costs of the Cape Wind power, the production tax credits, the loan guarantees and the potential impacts on Massachusetts, more respondents opposed the project than supported it – 46% opposed to 41% support. In addition, a majority of the respondents thought the project should be halted (50%). While a majority of those surveyed favor the general concept of renewable energy projects, that support collapses when it comes to the particulars of projects like Cape Wind, with nearly two thirds saying utilities should be buying market-rate power, not overpriced, uneconomical electricity.

“The Cape Wind project should be halted right now,” said Marc Brown, President of the New England Ratepayers Association. “If this is a model for this country’s offshore wind potential, ratepayers can only hope that it never gets off the ground. The power costs more than three times the price of wholesale power in New England, which cannot be justified even when accounting for the costs of renewable mandates. State and federal authorities have an obligation to put this project on hold unless there can be assurances that ratepayers won’t pay for this huge mistake.”

Previous surveys that were promoted by the Cape Wind developers showed support around 80% in 2006 and 2007. A survey done by the University of New Hampshire in 2010 showed support falling to 69%, with half the respondents not supporting paying additional money for Cape Wind electricity.

“This survey builds on the undercurrents from the UNH survey in 2010. When individuals learned more about the high cost of Cape Wind power, the tax credits and the loan guarantees – when they were given real information about the project – a majority thought the project should be halted. Ratepayers should be very concerned about the growing political support for the development of offshore wind energy throughout New England without fully examining the costs and impacts to consumers and businesses. ”

Other questions in the survey show the concern of ratepayers in the region. New England has the highest regional costs for electricity in the country. When given the choice, 59% of the respondents want to get their electricity from less expensive alternatives like natural gas and hydro, while only 25% want to get their power from more expensive sources like solar power and wind.

“When the public learns about the extraordinary subsidies a project like Cape Wind receives while simultaneously charging ratepayers three times more than the average wholesale cost for electricity, support for the project blows away in the wind,” continued Brown. “As an organization devoted to policies, laws and regulations that help ratepayers, NERA wants to ensure regulators and elected officials understand how little support exists when the public learns the true costs of projects like Cape Wind.”

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About NERA: The New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) is a non-profit advocacy group focused on promoting sound public policy that protects utility customers, both families and businesses, and lowers the cost of regulated services. Lower cost energy, water, and telecommunications services in New England will be an important driver for keeping the region’s economy competitive and retaining and returning manufacturing and high tech jobs for the 21st century.

Updated: January 22, 2020 — 3:58 pm

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