The long-planned Cape Wind offshore wind farm is moving its headquarters to a Cape Cod marina as it nears its projected start of construction, project officials said Thursday.
Project President Jim Gordon said Cape Wind signed an agreement to purchase Falmouth's East Marine marina. The deal was signed last week, said company spokesman Mark Rodgers. He didn't disclose the terms.
Cape Wind expects to begin renovations at the marina next year and move from Boston to Falmouth in 2014. The company plans to start construction on the wind farm in 2013 and begin producing power in 2015. The company aims to have the first offshore wind farm in the U.S.
Rodgers said the buildings at the marina will house Cape Wind's 50 permanent employees, including those who will travel daily to the project's proposed 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound for routine maintenance and monitoring.
The wind farm, proposed in 2001, has been subject to lengthy review and has been beset by delays amid stiff resistance.
Opponents say its power will be too costly and the towering turbines will ruin the sound's aesthetics and endanger marine and air traffic. Cape Wind advocates say the project will create jobs and increase energy independence, while cutting carbon emissions and kicking off a new American industry.
Thursday's announcement comes a day after the project's chief critic, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, appealed a Federal Aviation Administration ruling that the wind farm poses no danger to airplanes. Alliance President Audra Parker argues that the FAA decision was steeped in politics and "shows a complete and utter disregard for public safety."
The FAA previously ruled in favor of the wind farm but a court ordered the agency to reconsider the decision, saying the FAA hadn't adequately determined the project's effect on pilots that fly by sight only.
Gordon noted the FAA has approved the project four times since 2001, during both Republican and Democratic administrations. And Rodgers said the alliance appeal has dim prospects because the latest FAA ruling addressed the concerns the court expressed in its last ruling.
"It's all laid out very clearly," he said.
The FAA has said it makes its decisions based solely on safety considerations and available ways to reduce risks.
Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Reps. Darrell Issa of California and John Mica of Florida have asked the FAA to prove its Cape Wind approval wasn't politically motivated. The FAA has yet to produce documents they requested.