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News and Features: Online exclusives

Gordon: Cape Wind launches this year

Interior Secretary Salazar 'very hopeful'

BY: Bruce Mohl


 

CAPE WIND HONCHO James Gordon on Tuesday invited outgoing US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to the groundbreaking of his proposed wind farm off of Cape Cod later this year.

 “We’re going to make it happen,” Gordon told Salazar after the cabinet secretary delivered a speech in Boston to an offshore wind conference at the Hynes Convention Center.

Cape Wind has received all of its state and federal regulatory approvals, but the project still faces several legal challenges from opponents. Despite the legal challenges, Gordon said he expects to close on a construction loan and begin erecting the 130 turbines this year, qualifying the project for a federal investment tax credit equal to 30 percent of the wind farm’s capital costs.

Salazar, who gave the wind farm a critical federal approval in April 2010, said during his speech that he was “very hopeful” that Cape Wind would begin construction this year. He lamented all the red tape the project has had to endure during its nearly 12-year slog through various regulatory agencies and the courts. He said the nation’s permitting system for offshore wind should be designed to provide some level of certainty for renewable energy investors willing to risk their capital.

“Offshore wind is coming. It’s a very important part of the energy future of the United States,” Salazar said, noting that Cape Wind will be a standard-bearer for the industry.

As for the remaining legal challenges to federal approvals for the project that are being mounted by the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, the town of Barnstable, and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, Salazar had little to say. “At the end of the day, we’re very comfortable with the legal position we have,” he said.

Salazar said he expects the leasing process for other offshore wind sites off the coast of Massachusetts, Virginia, and Rhode Island to begin this year.

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