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US - Solar executive with ocean views sues Vineyard Wind

A past opponent of the failed Cape Wind project is asking a federal court to oversee a similar outcome for Vineyard Wind, the first major offshore wind facility to be approved in the United States.

A past opponent of the failed Cape Wind project is asking a federal court to oversee a similar outcome for Vineyard Wind, the first major offshore wind facility to be approved in the United States.

In a lawsuit filed yesterday with the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Thomas Melone argued that federal regulators failed to consider Vineyard Wind’s impact on other ocean users, endangered species and onshore renewable developers. He asked the court to vacate the environmental permit for the 62-turbine project.

The lawsuit offers an early test for the next generation of America’s offshore wind farms. The outcome could determine whether they’re able to withstand the type of legal challenges that sank Cape Wind, which was abandoned after more than a decade of litigation.

Melone is president of Allco Renewable Energy Limited, a small-scale solar developer, and a part-time resident of Martha’s Vineyard. He has waged a series of mostly unsuccessful lawsuits in recent years challenging state renewable energy programs.

Allco and Melone are listed as plaintiffs in the case, which cites 18 counts of alleged shortcomings in the federal review of Vineyard Wind. Among them is an allegation that federal regulators failed to evaluate the turbines’ ability to survive a Category 3 hurricane, which it says raises the risk of a turbine spilling oil during a storm.

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