Cape Wind developer signs deal for Massachusetts marina

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Cape Wind said it will purchase a Falmouth, Mass., marina to serve as the base of operations for its wind farm, the most powerful signal yet that the decade-long proposed wind farm is likely to be built.

East Marine on Falmouth Harbor will serve as the maintenance hub for the 130 turbines once they are built, according to Cape Wind, which signed a purchase and sales agreement with the marina last week, according to The Boston Globe.

The company plans to hire 50 people, most from the local area, the newspaper reported. However, the final sale will only occur if the project receives financing to build the $2.5 billion project.

"This requires a vision and a willingness to take a risk to make this happen,'' Cape Wind president Jim Gordon told the Globe. “We want to show the financial commitment for the operations and maintenance side. ... We have a lot of confidence we will finance this project."

Although Cape Wind has not yet announced financing for the project, it has lately made a series of investments, including geological testing in the 25-square-mile Nantucket Sound site in preparation for construction. Gordon, who would not reveal the price of the marina, said he expects to close on financing by the second quarter of next year, start construction in 2014 and begin operations in 2015. The company has guaranteed sales for power from 101 turbines, but Gordon said he intends to build all 130 proposed turbines.

The announcement came as the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, the main opposition group to the proposed farm, filed suit in federal court challenging a recent FAA decision saying Cape Wind would not interfere with air traffic. The group said the FAA is ignoring public safety.

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