Nantucket Sound; photo by AGrinberg (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

The Cape Wind project – planned to be located in the Nantucket Sound off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts in the United States – was given the go-ahead on Wednesday by the US government.

From an article in the New York Times:

Developers say that Cape Wind will provide 75 percent of the power for Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard — the equivalent of that produced by a medium-size coal-fired plant. It would also reduce carbon dioxide emissions by the equivalent of taking 175,000 cars off the road, officials said, and provide 1,000 construction jobs.

A bitterly contested project, Cape Wind faced opposition from communities as diverse as wealthy New England elite – notably the recently deceased Senator Ted Kennedy – and Native American groups. But in the end it was the clean energy industry that won over conservation, private property concerns and native rights.

From a report in the Telegraph:

US wind generation increased by 27 percent last year, accounting for 2 per cent of total electricity supplies, according to the Energy Department. Wind power supports about 85,000 American jobs.

The US trails Europe and China in terms of wind power, but the industry is growing and the Cape Wind decision may represent a landmark, opening up America’s coastlines to more renewable energy projects. After all, they’ve already opened them up for oil drilling.

Opponents have vowed to continue the fight against the wind farm’s construction.