Plans to build the United States’ first potential offshore wind energy farm, Cape Wind, were approved April 28, but the developer will be required to agree to additional measures to minimize the potential adverse impacts of construction and operation of the facility.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said the department is requiring the developer to change the design and configuration of the wind farm to diminish the visual effects of the project and to conduct additional surveys to ensure that any submerged archaeological resources are protected.
Under these revisions, the number of Siemens wind turbines has been reduced from 170 to 130 to reduce the visual impacts from the Kennedy Compund National Historic Landmark, and reconfiguring the array to move it farther away from Nantucket Island. There is also a “Chance Finds Clause” in the lease that requires the developer to halt operations and notify Interior of an unanticipated archaeological find.
“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.”
Cape Wind is expected to have an average output of 182 MW and includes a 66.5 mile buried submarine transmission cable system, an electric service platform and two 115 kV lines connecting to the mainland power grid.
Cape Wind would be one of the first wind farms in the United States, and a number of similar projects have been proposed for other northeast coastal states.