BOSTON (AP) ¿ Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has announced that National Grid will pursue a long term deal with Cape Wind to purchase power from its proposed 130 turbine wind farm.

Patrick said Wednesday that such a deal is critical to securing financing for the Nantucket Sound project and getting it operating in time to qualify for federal incentives that could reduce its $1 billion cost by 30 percent.

The timeline for the talks between Cape Wind and the utility has not been determined. The state Department of Public Utilities must still approve the negotiations.

The Cape Wind project, which would be the nation's first offshore wind farm, has faced stiff opposition since it was proposed in 2001 and is still awaiting final regulatory approval.

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