US government signs Cape Wind lease

UNITED STATES: The developers behind Cape Wind have signed the first offshore wind energy lease with the federal government.

Cape Wind's meterological tower, the only part of the development that has been built

Cape Wind Associates and interior secretary Ken Salazar signed a 28-year agreement, leasing the company 25 square miles of the outer continental shelf in Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts.

The lease will cost Cape Wind $88,278 a year until the wind farm goes into production. After that, the company will pay an operating fee of 2 to 7 percent of revenues.

The project’s 130 turbines will have a nameplate capacity of 468MW and are expected to have an average output of 182MW.

Other companies have federal leases to put up offshore meteorological towers, but Cape Wind’s is the first for wind turbines.

Cape Wind’s $0.187 per kWh power purchase agreement with utility National Grid is still being reviewed by the state Department of Public Utilities, and has been a prominent subject of political debate in the run-up to next month’s elections for governor.

Salazar and Cape Wind signed the lease Wednesday at the American Wind Energy Association offshore conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey.