Regulators begin consideration of Cape Wind deal

BOSTON – The brawl over a planned wind farm in Nantucket Sound is moving to a hearing room in Boston this week.

Today, regulators at Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities will begin considering whether National Grid utility's contract with the Cape Wind project is a good deal for ratepayers.

Teams of lawyers will present and cross-examine witnesses over 12 days of hearings that have been previewed in hundreds of pages of written testimony.

Opponents of the 130-turbine project say the contract is plainly a raw deal. National Grid has agreed to pay 18.7 cents per kilowatt hour in the first year of Cape Wind's operation. That's twice what it pays for power from nonrenewable sources.

But advocates say Cape Wind's benefits can be seen in pollution prevention and climate change mitigation.