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Siemens may help fund Cape Wind power project, U.S. CEO says

Siemens AG is in talks to help finance the construction of Cape Wind.

Backing the controversial wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts would ensure that the developers purchase Siemens turbines and may spur demand for offshore wind power in the U.S., according to Eric Spiegel, chief executive officer of Siemens Corp., the Munich-based company’s U.S. unit.

“We have been in discussions to help finance debt and equity,” Spiegel said in an interview today. “We’d be willing to be a part if it’s required.”

The developer, Cape Wind Associates LLC, wants to install 130 Siemens turbines about 5 miles (8 kilometers) off Cape Cod. Environmental groups have opposed the project, which received an important boost when Massachusetts regulators on Nov. 22 agreed to let National Grid Plc buy half of Cape Wind’s output for 18.7 cents per kilowatt-hour. That price will increase 3.5 percent each year for the 15 years of the contract.

The contract with National Grid, a London-based company that delivers power to about 3.3 million customers in the U.S. Northeast, is one of the first power-purchase deals for an offshore wind farm in the U.S. If financing for Cape Wind can be arranged, its power-purchase agreement may pave the way for an additional 6,300 megawatts of energy projects in various stages of development in U.S. waters, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Cape Wind would cover more than 25 square miles in an area known as Horseshoe Shoal, and would generate as much as 468 megawatts of power.

At that size, Cape Wind would cost about $2.43 billion to build, excluding the transmission lines that would be needed to deliver electricity to Nantucket and Cape Cod, according to New Energy Finance.

Siemens’ Financial Services division invests in projects that support business initiatives of Europe’s largest engineering company, Spiegel said.