First U.S. offshore wind farm project moves forward

BOSTON Tue Dec 23, 2008 6:49pm EST

Six 1.5-megawatt wind turbines are pictured at work at the Exelon-Community Energy Wind Farm at Somerset, Pennsylvania, August 10, 2008. REUTERS/Stelios Varias

Six 1.5-megawatt wind turbines are pictured at work at the Exelon-Community Energy Wind Farm at Somerset, Pennsylvania, August 10, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Stelios Varias

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BOSTON (Reuters) - A plan to build the United States' first offshore wind farm took another step forward on Tuesday, after the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection approved its proposed undersea cables to transmit power to the mainland.

The Cape Wind project, which would place 130 turbines about 4.7 miles off upscale Cape Cod, would provide "greater public benefit than detriment," the state review found.

The proposed wind farm, opposed by beachfront homeowners who complain the 247-foot (75-meter) towers would spoil their views, would provide enough power for about 400,000 homes.

Developers of the $1 billion project are still waiting on a composite state and local permit, as well as federal approvals by the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of the Interior and the Federal Aviation Administration, said Mark Rogers, a spokesman for privately held Cape Wind Associates LLC.

Rogers said Cape Wind expects the permitting process to be complete by March.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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