Massachusetts, United States — A month after a positive legal ruling allowing the developers of America’s first offshore wind farm to begin construction, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed a 28-year lease of federal waters to Cape Wind.
The lease was signed at an American Wind Energy Association conference on offshore wind in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Salazar had already given his approval to the planned 420-MW offshore wind project in April. The signing of the lease makes the deal official. The lease is for 25 square miles in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Massachusetts. Cape Wind will pay around $88,000 each year for access to the federal waters. There will also be an operation fee of up to 7% based upon how much energy the project produces.
Cape Wind has been in legal limbo for nine years. Since 2001, a small group of opponents called The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound has been fighting the project. But after a number of positive legal rulings in favor of Cape Wind, it’s looking increasingly likely that it will be built.
It’s not over yet though. The Department of Public Utilities is deliberating a power purchase agreement between Cape Wind and the local utility National Grid. Both parties say that bills would only be increased by $1.59 per month for the average homeowner. However, a number of politicians and regulators have raised concerns about any increase in rates.
The DPU will make a decision on the PPA by mid-November.