Officials May Lease More Local Waters For Wind Farms

By Sean Corcoran

Dec. 29, 2010

Lilligrund Wind Farm's turbines in the sound near Copenhagen, Denmark.

WOOD'S HOLE —The state and federal governments are testing the waters for interest in erecting more wind turbines off the islands of Martha's vineyard and Nantucket.

Massachusetts and federal ocean management officials are asking wind-energy companies if they're interested in leasing turbine space within a 3,000-mile swath of federal waters south of the islands. 

The officials say the massive wind-farm development area would begin about 14 miles south of Martha's Vineyard and about 24 miles south of Nantucket. The turbines could be placed as far as 35 miles from shore.

The hope is to eventually generate enough wind energy from the area to power 1.5 million households.

Companies interested in erecting turbines will have to go through a formal leasing process and environmental review, which could take several years.

The area is separate from the Cape Wind project in nearby Nantucket Sound, where the closest turbine will be just more than 5 miles from Cape Cod. The US Interior Department approved the 130-turbine wind farm earlier this year. Construction is expected to begin by the end of 2011, although opponents of the project are fighting its approvals in the courts.

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