Massachusetts Grants Permits for Cape Wind Project

June 04, 2009

The first offshore wind farm in the nation has gotten a green light from Massachusetts. Early last week, the state's Energy Facilities Siting Board granted all of the state and local permits for the 454-megawatt (MW) Cape Wind project to proceed to construction in Nantucket Sound.

The seven-member board voted unanimously on May 21 to grant a Certificate of Environmental Impact and Public Interest, or composite permit. Undersecretary for Energy Ann Berwick, who is chair of the board, signed the revised certificate on May 28. The action completes more than seven years of environmental review and permitting for the project.

Cape Wind Associates, the project developer, is proposing to construct, operate, and maintain the project, which would comprise 130 wind turbines, each rated at 3.6 MW, arranged in a grid pattern in the Horseshoe Shoal region of Nantucket Sound. A 115-volt, submarine transmission cable system would connect the project to the mainland at Yarmouth, about 12 miles away.

"Massachusetts has done its job to give this project a long and thorough review on the merits, and the federal review process is winding to a close," said Governor Deval Patrick. "The time has come to see the first offshore wind farm in America rise off the Massachusetts coast, a powerful symbol of our commitment to a clean energy future."

In January, the U.S. Department of Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) published a favorable environmental review of the Cape Wind project, a prerequisite for the agency to grant a lease for the project. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) named significant benefits from project and identified no major environmental impacts. The MMS also noted that the proposed location is superior to alternative sites, that the project will generate jobs and support businesses in New England, that it will help Massachusetts to meet its renewable energy requirements, and that it will significantly reduce regional emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants.

For more information, see the May 28 press release from the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the January 21 article published by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

To read more about renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Massachusetts, see: