Utility bets on offshore turbines -- National Grid’s deal to buy Cape Wind’s power boosts project

Cape Wind may have turned a critical corner.

Yesterday, Governor Deval Patrick’s administration said the yet-to-be-built offshore wind farm has secured a long-term customer for its electricity: National Grid. It’s the kind of deal opponents had doubted the project could get.

“For Cape Wind, this is a tremendous step forward . . . [to say] yes, we can sell the power,’’ said Laurie Jodziewicz, manager of siting policy at the American Wind Energy Association, which today is wrapping up a two-day workshop in Boston on offshore wind power.

The agreement is one of several recent developments that could advance the project.

Key Massachusetts officials, including Democratic US Representative Edward J. Markey, have urged President Obama to push for federal approval of Cape Wind before next week’s United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen. World leaders could hammer out a blueprint for lowering greenhouse gas emissions and using more renewable power, such as energy from the 130 turbines Cape Wind wants to erect in Nantucket Sound.

The project has been challenged repeatedly in the Legislature, Congress, and the courts, but Cape Wind has overcome nearly all of the regulatory hurdles it has faced in the eight years since it was proposed, including winning a favorable environmental review from the federal Minerals Management Service.

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