STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
CAPE WIND FACES NEW FEDERAL LAWSUIT
Opponents and critics of the Cape Wind offshore wind energy project filed another suit Tuesday, alleging the state discriminated against out-of-state power companies with lower costs by pressuring NSTAR to buy power from an in-state company, Cape Wind. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court by the Town of Barnstable, businesses like the Keller Company and Hyannis Marina, and the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, alleges commerce clause violations and illegal regulation of wholesale electricity sales under the U.S. Constitution. The suit alleges that state regulators refused to support NSTAR's merger with Northeast Utilities until NSTAR contracted to buy energy from Cape Wind. "We understand the need for green sources of energy, but it is unfair to be forced to pay three times the cost of other green energy for Cape Wind," Keller Company President Joe Keller said in a statement relating to the suit against Massachusetts regulators, NSTAR and Cape Wind. In April 2012, the Department of Public Utilities announced its approval of the NSTAR-Northeast Utilities merger. Among the merger settlement agreements was a provision requiring NSTAR Electric to purchase 129 megawatts of electricity from Cape Wind. "This is a frivolous legal complaint with no merit. The opposition group was unsuccessful in challenging a nearly identical power contract between Cape Wind and National Grid and they will fail again here," Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers said in a statement.
RETURNS PROPEL STATE PENSION FUND BALANCE TO NEARLY $58 BILLION
Led by a 24 percent return on global equity investments, the state pension fund's bottom line surged $7.9 billion last year, capping 2013 with a record $57.9 billion balance. The Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board reported Tuesday that the fund returned 15.2 percent last year and outperformed its benchmark index by 2.64 percent. The fund's hired investment managers met or exceeded their portfolio benchmarks in five of seven asset classes, according to the PRIM Board, with the returns helping to reduce the fund's long-term unfunded liabilities. PRIT's hedge fund portfolio was up 12.6 percent last year and its real estate investments generated a 10.8 percent return. PRIT's three-year return rate is 9.54 percent, its five-year return is 11.94 percent and its 10-year return is 7.65 percent. - M. Norton/SHNS