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article imageGiant Offshore Wind Farm Approved

By Carolyn E. Price     Mar 30, 2007 in Environment
Cape Cod has been approved by State authorities to have the first offshore wind-powered farm in the US. However, there is opposition to the project from state politicians and business leaders who have homes on Cape Code, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
Massachusetts authorities have approved a plan to build the first US offshore wind-power farm. However, the plan must still be pass several federal regulatory hurdles.
A privately funded Boston-based energy company, Cape Wind Associates, is proposing to build 130 wind turbines over a 62 square kilometer area in Nantucket Sound. This would mean that views from the wealthy Cape Cod resort region of Massachusetts could soon include giant windmills turning in the wind.
The company is saying that the farm would be able to meet the energy needs of around 400,000 homes. The wind farm would consistently generate 170 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 75 percent of Cape Cod and the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. At peak times, it is estimated that the wind farm could generate more than 400 megawatts.
State environmental affairs secretary, Ian Bowlessays that the farm "adequately and properly complies" with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is one of its main supporters and he says that the project would save residents millions of dollars in energy costs and would help the United States reduce its reliance on foreign oil at a time of high crude prices.
"We have work to do as we build a clean energy economy - let's get on with it", said Patrick, a Democrat.
Opponents, including some Massachusetts politicians and business leaders with homes on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, say that the proposed 75-metre-tall turbines could kill migrating birds and will threaten the region's lucrative tourist industry.
The lead federal agency needed to approve the project is the Minerals Management Service, a bureau in the US Department of the Interior that manages the nation's natural gas, oil and other mineral resources on the outer continental shelf. Cape Wind expects a decision from MMS in early 2008.
An early indication of the federal agency's position on Cape Wind could come at the end of next month when it is expected to release a draft environmental impact report.
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