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When Will the First U.S. Offshore Wind Project Be Built?

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced this week that he signed the lease for the country’s first offshore wind project. The Cape Wind project, in Massachusetts, has been mired in years of regulatory delay, but the lease signing was hailed by renewable energy advocates as a significant milestone in building a U.S. offshore wind industry.

But how long will it be before the project is completed?

I posed this question to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, the mouthful of a federal agency that oversees offshore energy development. The wind turbine, they say, will take several years to construct.

The lease is for 28 years and the average wind turbine lasts for 25 years, so that gives Cape Wind Associates (CWA) three years for construction, BOEM says.

At the same time, the project must still receive a number of approvals, including the company’s Construction and Operations Plan, BOEM says.

According to BOEM:

CWA will be required to submit necessary plans, reports, and other information, such as the COP, and receive BOEM approvals before undertaking operational activities on the lease area.

But Texas could beat Cape Wind to the punch. The state doesn’t need to get Interior Department approval and there are a couple projects in the state that are moving forward quickly.

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