Even as the ink dries on yesterday’s signing off on two major new solar power plants in California by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar wasted no time in moving on to another large scale clean energy project: the controversial Cape Wind offshore wind farm planned for an area of 25 square miles on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in Nantucket Sound offshore Massachusetts in a location known as Horseshoe Shoal.
Salazar signed with Cape Wind Associates, the developers behind the Cape Wind project, a lease for 28 years which will cost the company $88,278 in annual rent prior to production, and a 2 to 7 percent operating fee during production. The fee is based on revenues from selling the offshore wind energy in regional markets. It is the nation’s first lease for commercial wind energy development in the OCS.
The Cape Wind project, as it is envisioned, consists of 130 planned wind turbines that could generate a maximum electric output of 468 megawatts, with an average anticipated output of 182 megawatts. At average expected production, said the DOI, Cape Wind could produce enough energy to power more than 200,000 homes in Massachusetts while potentially generating enough power to meet 75 percent of the electricity demand for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island combined. The project 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.
Even with the DOI now having signed a lease with Cape Wind Associates, however, the project may still not come to fruition. A number of obstacles still exist, reports the AP, including “lawsuits and a deal with the utility National Grid to buy half the project’s power that is being weighed by state regulators.” Still, proponents of the plan are hopefully all will fall into place to create this offshore wind spectacle.
“We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work building America’s first offshore wind farm that will create hundreds of jobs, increase our energy independence and promote a healthier and more hopeful energy future,” said Jim Gordon, President of Cape Wind, in a statement.
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