BOSTON, April 19 After years of delay,
construction of what is expected to be the first U.S. offshore
wind farm, located off Massachusetts' picturesque Nantucket
Sound, could begin as early as this fall.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said on Tuesday the
federal government has approved a construction and operations
plan submitted for the Cape Wind Energy Project.
"The department has taken extraordinary steps to fully
evaluate Cape Wind's potential impacts on environmental and
cultural resources of Nantucket Sound," Salazar said during a
visit to Boston.
Michael Bromwich, director of the Interior Department's
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement,
said the environmental impact of the project had been reviewed
The project, which is being developed by Energy Management
Inc, calls for 130 wind turbine generators, each with a maximum
blade height of 440 feet (134 meters), to be arranged in a grid
pattern several miles off shore. German conglomerate Siemens AG
(SIEGn.DE) will provide the turbines. Construction could begin
as early as the fall, the Interior Department said.
The site is tucked between the mainland of the cape and the
islands of Martha's Vineyard, an exclusive vacation
destination, and Nantucket island.
Once fully operational, the wind farm will produce enough
electricity to power about 400,000 homes on Cape Cod, Martha's
Vineyard and Nantucket.
Cape Wind has faced opposition involving everyone from
Indian tribes to fishermen to the Kennedy family, whose 6-acre
family compound in Hyannis Port overlooks Nantucket Sound.
Massachusetts Rep. Edward Markey praised Tuesday's
"Let's get this wind project built and keep this American
clean energy momentum pushing us ahead like a down-east
breeze," Markey said in a statement.
(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Bill Trott)