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Cape Wind Backs Out Of New Bedford Terminal Lease

Citing delays stemming from the termination of two power purchase contracts, the developers of an offshore wind energy project in Nantucket Sound are backing off their planned lease of a public marine staging area in New Bedford.

In a Feb. 12 letter to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, Cape Wind said the project will not be able to occupy terminal space as envisioned under its lease agreement and was therefore "amenable" to the clean energy center's proposal to terminate the lease.

Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers told State House News Service in an email Monday that the center had asked Cape Wind to allow it to seek other users of the facility to bring in revenues and jobs this year.

Cape Wind President Jim Gordon said at a weekend rally in Boston that he hopes to keep the project on track after National Grid and Eversource Energy terminated power purchase agreements. The utilities said the project had failed to meet development deadlines.

Former Gov. Deval Patrick, a Cape Wind supporter, said last month that he didn't know if the long planned project could survive. "They've had any number of setbacks, the most significant of which has been the perpetual litigation for the past, more than 10 years," he said.

Last September, Patrick, Gordon and other public officials touted the two-year Cape Wind lease agreement, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren saying she was "very happy Cape Wind will be built in New Bedford."

The lease accord called for the project to pay the clean energy center $4.5 million in rent for the use of the 28-acre facility, which was specifically designed to handle large cranes and meet the demands required of a wind energy project staging area.

Project officials plan to work with the center on a lease for Cape Wind to use the marine terminal "when our schedule is back on track," Rodgers said.

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