Offshore wind project has FAA determination revoked

A federal appeals court revoked the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) determination Oct. 27 that the planned $2.6 billion, 468 MW Cape Wind project would not present a flight hazard in Nantucket Sound. The appeals court remanded the issue back to the agency for review.

Organizations and area tribes petitioned the court for review, saying that the FAA violated its governing statute, misread its own regulations and arbitrarily and capriciously failed to calculate the dangers posed to local aviation, news reports said. The FAA's review could reportedly take up to two years.

Mark Rodgers, communications director with Cape Wind, said in a statement that the ruling should not push back any project schedules.

"The essence of today’s court ruling is that the FAA needs to better explain its Determination of No Hazard," Rodgers said. "We are confident that after the FAA does this, that their decision will stand and we do not foresee any impact on the project’s schedule in moving forward."

Rodgers also said in the statement that the Determination of No Hazard was set to expire in 90 days and Cape Wind would have had to reapply anyway.

In May 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy denied a $2 billion loan guarantee for the project. The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities approved a power purchase agreement in 2010 for National Grid to purchase half of the output from Cape Wind, but project owners have not secured a buyer for the remaining output.

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