Offshore wind farm approved by US government

The US government today approved plans for a controversial wind power project off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, which, if built, would be the nation’s first wind farm located offshore of the coast.

Offshore wind turbines near Copenhagen

The company responsible for the project, Cape Wind, received a permit from the federal government to commence construction of the wind farm, which was announced by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in Boston.

Salazar said in statements at the event that he was “approving the Cape Wind project,” which would “be the first of many projects up and down the Atlantic coast.” Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick said that “America needs offshore wind power, and with this project, Massachusetts will lead the nation.” He also commented that “Cape Wind is good for our environment and good for our energy needs,” despite opposition from some groups.

Construction of the wind farm in the near future is not certain, as there are additional regulatory procedures the company must complete, and opponents have threatened to take the project to court. According to the leader of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, a group opposed to the wind farm’s construction, numerous permits related to the project were being appealed, and close to a dozen parties intend to sue the project, claiming it violates environmental regulations.

Supporters of the project say that it will provide up to 75% of the power for the region, and will benefit the environment by providing a clean and renewable source of power, as well as providing hundreds of new jobs in the area during construction of the wind farm. Opponents, which included deceased US Senator Ted Kennedy, claim it will destroy the natural beauty of the region, and will raise the costs of electricity in the area.

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