U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar gave the green light for the 130-turbine, 420-megawatt Cape Wind project in Horseshoe Shoal, Nantucket Sound, in what supporters considered a huge step forward for renewable energy in the United States.
“This project fits with the tradition of sustainable development in the area,” Salazar said in Boston.
Although small in terms of its production — the $1 billion facility would produce enough electricity to power about 400,000 houses — its approval raises hopes that other offshore wind projects will follow.
Several projects that could power hundreds of thousands of customers have already been proposed for the East Coast and the Great Lakes.
The turbines, more than 400 feet high, will dot an area of about 24 square miles (62 square km), larger than Manhattan, and be visible low on the horizon from parts of Cape Cod.
German conglomerate Siemens AG will provide the turbines.