Fate of First US Offshore Wind Farm to be Determined This Week


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The fate of what would become the nation's first offshore wind farm has been hotly debated for the better part of a decade now -- the farm, proposed off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is controversial for precisely that reason. Cap Cod residents and vacationers (many of them wealthy, powerful, and Kennedys) have objected to the wind farm being constructed on the grounds that it ruins the views from the region's historical sites. Wind power advocates, along with 6 governors of east coast states, are calling for the farm's approval. And we'll know the fate of the nation's first offshore wind farm by this Friday . . .Yes, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has announced he'll make his decision whether the 130-turbine, 450 megawatt wind farm will be approved by this Friday. The NY Times reports:

Political pressure continues to build on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as he prepares to announce his decision this week on the fate of a proposed wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass., that has been stalled for nine years.

The governors of six East Coast states called on Mr. Salazar last week to approve the project, which is proposed by Cape Wind Associates and would be the nation's first offshore wind farm. Turning it down, they said, especially on the grounds that it would harm the view from historic sites, "would establish a precedent that would make it difficult, if not impossible, to site offshore wind projects anywhere along the Eastern Seaboard."

And therein lies the problem. There are a number of other offshore wind power proposals still waiting for approval along the east coast, and dealing this blow would have direct and symbolic ramifications: it offers grounds for all those who oppose wind power for aesthetic reasons to claim their arguments are valid, and it sends a dubious signal about support for renewable energy. It doesn't bode well for many progressives to argue in favor of increased support for renewables and then scuttle the projects proposed in their own backyards.

Also, the US is long overdue to begin constructing offshore wind farms -- 9 years is far too long to wait to get the ball rolling . . .

More on Cape Wind Project
Historic Preservation Council Advises Against Cape Wind
New Report: Offshore Wind Could Power Entire U.S.

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