US approves first offshore wind farm

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2010 (AFP) – The first US offshore wind farm project won government approval Wednesday after nearly a decade of battles involving environmentalists, Indian tribes and others. The big Massachusetts project approved by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is seen as a giving a major boost to wind power in the United States even though it still may face additional legal challenges.

Salazar said that “the public benefits weigh in favor” of the project as he gave the green light for the giant Cape Wind project in the scenic channel between Cape Cod and the resort islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket off the coast of the northeastern state of Massachusetts.

“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.”

Wind power currently account for around one percent of US electric capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association, which said the new project is likely to provide new momentum to wind projects.

AWEA chief executive Denise Bode applauded the move and added, “Such forward-thinking decisions are necessar