U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is heading to Boston to reveal more details Tuesday about the progress of what would be the nation's first offshore wind farm.
Salazar will unveil a final operation and construction plan for the proposed 130-turbine Cape Wind project, an individual briefed on the announcement told The Associated Press.
The individual declined to be identified because he was not authorized to discuss the announcement ahead of the event.
The Cape Wind project has been in the works for more than 10 years, but received its final federal permit in January from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, allowing it to move forward to the construction phase.
The project, to be located in Nantucket Sound, still faces hurdles, including legal challenges from opponents who have long battled the project, saying that it would pose a hazard to wildlife in the area.
That's not the only potential problem the project is facing.
Developers of the 468-megawatt project are still shopping for a buyer for about half the power the turbines are expected to generate.
It has already received a commitment from the state's largest utility, National Grid.
The utility estimates that its deal with Cape Wind will cost ratepayers $1.2 billion above the projected market price of comparable energy by the time it's done. Under the 15-year deal, Cape Wind has agreed to sell power to National Grid starting at 18.7 cents per kilowatt hour, and increasing the price 3.5 percent annually.
Still, National Grid argues that the deal is a good price for the benefits it is receiving, including a uniquely large size for a renewable power project and proximity to an energy-hungry coast.
The state's other large utility, NStar, passed on Cape Wind, instead focusing on energy contracts with three smaller land wind farms that it said are a total of $111 million below market price.
Cape Wind foes argue the project is an unnecessary burden for ratepayers. They've asked the state Department of Public Utilities to reconsider its approval of the National Grid deal.
A 2008 law requires Massachusetts utilities to obtain increasing amounts of renewable power and calls for 20 percent of their supply to be renewable power by 2025.
The same law tries to make it easier for renewable projects to get financing by requiring utilities to seek long-term deals with them for at least 3 percent of their total demand.
The Cape Wind project will cost $2.62 billion to build, according an estimate from the Massachusetts attorney general's office. Developers say it will power 200,000 homes in average winds.
Cappiello reported from Washington.