First U.S. Offshore Wind Farm Approved off Cape Cod

Earlier today Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the approval of the nations first offshore wind farm to be located in the Nantucket Sound.  A press release from today by the U.S. Dept. of the Interior tells us:

BOSTON, Mass – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today approved the Cape Wind renewable energy project on federal submerged lands in Nantucket Sound, but will require the developer of the $1 billion wind farm to agree to additional binding measures to minimize the potential adverse impacts of construction and operation of the facility.

“After careful consideration of all the concerns expressed during the lengthy review and consultation process and thorough analyses of the many factors involved, I find that the public benefits weigh in favor of approving the Cape Wind project at the Horseshoe Shoal location,” Salazar said in an announcement at the State House in Boston. “With this decision we are beginning a new direction in our Nation’s energy future, ushering in America’s first offshore wind energy facility and opening a new chapter in the history of this region.”

The Cape Wind project would be the first wind farm on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, generating enough power to meet 75 percent of the electricity demand for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island combined. The project would create several hundred construction jobs and be one of the largest greenhouse gas reduction initiatives in the nation, cutting carbon dioxide emissions from conventional power plants by 700,000 tons annually. That is equivalent to removing 175,000 cars from the road for a year.

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  • The project calls for 130 turbines to be placed, reduced from the original number of 170, and is to be located about 5.2 miles from the mainland shoreline, 13.8 miles from Nantucket Island and 9 miles from Martha’s Vineyard as seen in the map below.

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    At average expected production, Cape Wind could produce enough energy to power more than 200,000 homes in Massachusetts and includes a 66.5-mile buried submarine transmission cable system, an electric service platform and two 115-kilovolt lines connecting to the mainland power grid.

  • Department of The Interior Press Release
  • MMS Press Release
  • Download Cape Wind Fact Sheet