It was big news when U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced in Boston in April that he would approve a lease of the nation's first offshore wind farm.
Wednesday morning, the developers of that planned wind farm in Nantucket Sound signed on the dotted line in Atlantic City, N.J., where the American Wind Energy Association is holding a conference.
Cape Wind Associates LLC will pay $88,278 in annual rent of the offshore waters prior to coming online. That's peanuts compared to a 2-7 percent operating fee once the wind farm starts producing electricity.
The wind farm is licensed to build 130 turbines that would generate enough power to meet 75 percent of the energy needs for Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.
The president of Cape Wind, Jim Gordon, called the signing a crucial milestone.
“The signing of this lease sends an important market signal to the offshore wind industry that the United States is ready to move forward and that Cape Wind will be the first of many offshore wind projects in this country,” Gordon said.
But opponents of the offshore wind farm do not seem dissuaded. The Hyannis-based opposition group Save Our Sound sent an e-mail to its members citing higher electricity rates and saying, "THE FIGHT IS FAR FROM OVER!"
This program aired on October 6, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.