BOSTON, April 28 (UPI) — U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced approval Wednesday of the $1 billion Cape Wind renewable energy project off Massachusetts but included a caveat.
Salazar said the developer of the wind farm that will be built on federal submerged land in Nantucket Sound must agree to minimize the potential adverse impacts of construction and operation of the facility.
“After careful consideration of all the concerns … I find the public benefits weigh in favor of approving the Cape Wind project at the Horseshoe Shoal location,” Salazar said in an announcement made at the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston. “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.”
Officials said the wind farm — the first on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf — will generate enough power to meet 75 percent of the electricity demand for the Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island areas combined. It will create several hundred construction jobs and be one of the largest greenhouse gas reduction initiatives in the nation — the equivalent to removing 175,000 cars from the road for a year.
“After almost a decade of exhaustive study and analyses, I believe that this undertaking can be developed responsibly and with consideration to the historic and cultural resources in the project area,” Salazar said. “Impacts to the historic properties can and will be minimized and mitigated and we will ensure that cultural resources will not be harmed or destroyed during the construction, maintenance, and decommissioning of the project.”
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