By Jim Snyder
WASHINGTON - The Cape Wind Energy Project won U.S. Interior Department approval of its construction plan in Massachusetts for the nation’s first offshore wind farm.
Cape Wind Associates said building the wind turbines in the water, a project in development for about a decade, may begin as early as the fall. Federal officials said approving the plan is a milestone in developing clean-energy sources that will help lower carbon emissions and create jobs.
“After a thorough review of environmental impacts, we are confident that this offshore commercial wind project - the first in the nation - can move forward,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement.
Cape Wind plans to install 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound off the Massachusetts coast. The project has been opposed by homeowners whose ocean view would be affected by the windmill towers and by local lawmakers as a threat to a sensitive ecosystem.
Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement approved the construction and operations plan.