Apr 29, 2010

U.S. approves first offshore wind farm

Mongabay - The Obama Administration has approved the nation's first offshore wind farm after more than eight years of legal challenges, reports the Associated Press.

Speaking Wednesday in Boston, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the $2 billion Cape Wind project marks "a new direction in our nation's energy future."

The 130-turbine, 420-megawatt wind farm will generate enough electricity to power 400,000 houses. The facility will cover 24 square miles (62 square km) roughly 5 miles (8 km) off the Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts. The turbines, which will be more than 400-feet tall, will be visible from the coast.

Until Salazar's announcement, the project had been held up by strong opposition from local residents, who said the turbines would be an eyesore; environmentalists, who worried about the impact on birds and whales; and two Indian tribes, who were concerned that the project would "interfere with sacred rituals and desecrate long-submerged tribal burial sites," according to the AP.

Salazar echoed the sentiment during his speech in Boston.

"I am approving the Cape Wind project. This will be the first of many projects up and down the Atlantic coast."

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