Utility Agrees to Buy Cape Wind Energy, Another Step For Nation's First Offshore Windfarm

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Artists' rendering of Cape Wind, via NY Times

The nation's first offshore windfarm, Cape Wind, gained approval last week from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Now it's gained a utility to buy its power in the form of National Grid PLC, which agreed Friday to purchase 50 percent of the supply from the 130-turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound. The cost? National Grid will pay 20.7 cents per kilowatt-hour, starting in 2013. For consumers, National Grid says that it will cost an additional $1.59 per month for rate payers who uses 500 kilowatt-hours. That figure represents only a 2 percent rate increase for consumers, who can now rest assured knowing that they are using clean and green energy.

The agreement with National Grid PLC is yet another step forward, but the project's developer, Cape Wind Associates LLC, still needs to locate $1 billion in financing. Massachusetts has a mandate for utilities to provide 15 percent renewable energy of their total supply by 2020, adding even more incentive to get this deal done.

Cape Wind was approved at almost the same time as oil began to spill from the Deepwater oil disaster, making it a symbol of our new energy economy. The project will end up being about a 25-square-mile section of Nantucket Sound with 130 generating turbines producing. It could power about 200,000 homes and replace some baseload energy now being generated from coal and natural gas.

More on Cape Wind:
Breaking: US Approves First Offshore Wind Farm

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