U.S. backs its first offshore wind farm

April 20, 2011 at 8:19 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, April 20 (UPI) -- Construction for the first offshore wind farm in the United States was approved by federal regulators, the U.S. Department of Interior announced.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement approved the construction plan for the Cape Wind energy project off the coast of Nantucket Island on the eastern seaboard.

Michael Bromwich, director of the BOEMRE, said the project would accelerate the development of the renewable energy sector in the United States.

"After a thorough review of environmental impacts, we are confident that this offshore commercial wind project, the first in the nation, can move forward," he said in a statement.

The project calls for 130 wind turbines capable of generating about 3.6 megawatts of energy each. The BOEMRE said its environmental assessment of the proposed wind farm found any potential impacts were properly examined.

"The department has taken extraordinary steps to fully evaluate Cape Wind's potential impacts on environmental and cultural resources of Nantucket Sound," said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The Cape Wind project could produce enough energy to meet the energy demands of more than 200,000 homes.

The turbines will be installed about 5 miles off the Massachusetts coast. Construction could begin in the fall.

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