U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last week announced his approval of a proposed $1 billion wind-energy project located in Nantucket Sound, Mass., that would be the nation’s first offshore wind farm.

The initiative, called Cape Wind, could potentially supply Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket with 75% of their electricity demand, according to the project’s website. The proposal has gone through nine years of study and review. Local residents have objected to the plan as it would alter their views of the area.

“After careful consideration of all the concerns expressed during the lengthy review and consultation process and thorough analyses of the many factors involved, I find that the public benefits weigh in favor of approving the Cape Wind project at the Horseshoe Shoal location,” Salazar said in a prepared statement at the Massachusetts state house in Boston. “With this decision we are beginning a new direction in our nation’s energy future, ushering in America’s first offshore wind-energy facility and opening a new chapter in the history of this region.”

The wind farm would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from conventional electric power plants by 700,000 tons per year and create several hundred construction jobs, according to the Interior Department. State officials, as of now, have not announced any state financing for the $1 billion project, said Cyndi Roy, spokeswoman for the Executive Office of Administration and Finance.

Cape Wind Associates LLC is the project developer. It anticipates generating a maximum electric output of 468 megawatts with an average anticipated output of 182 megawatts, enough energy to power more than 200,000 homes.

“There are thoughtful views on all sides of this question and they have been acknowledged and considered seriously,” Gov. Deval Patrick said in a statement. “But today’s decision affirms that on balance Cape Wind is good for our environment and good for our energy needs.”

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