At a press conference today, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he expected this would be the “first of many projects up and down the Atlantic coast.” He said America was leading “a clean energy revolution that is reshaping our future” and that “Cape Wind is the opening of a new chapter in that future.”
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today approved the Cape Wind renewable energy project on federal submerged lands in Nantucket Sound, but will require the developer of the $1 billion wind farm to agree to additional binding measures to minimize the potential adverse impacts of construction and operation of the facility….
A number of similar projects have been proposed for other northeast coastal states, positioning the region to tap 1 million megawatts of offshore Atlantic wind energy potential, which could create thousands of manufacturing, construction and operations jobs and displace older, inefficient fossil-fueled generating plants, helping significantly to combat climate change.
The announcement could not have been better timed. Offshore wind taps the clean, safe energy of the 21st century that never runs out, in contrast to that other offshore energy resource, the not-so-clean, not-so-safe energy of the 19th century that can’t sustain the human race (see Spill Baby Spill and ‘Safe’ offshore oil rig explodes, 12 missing, seven critically hurt).
The project calls for 130 turbines of 3.6 megawatts, each with a maximum blade height of 440 feet, to be arranged in a grid pattern in 25 square miles of Nantucket Sound in Federal waters offshore Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket Island. The projected maximum electric output would be 468 MW (average of 183 MW).
Here is what the project would bring to the region.
The Cape Wind project would be the first wind farm on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, generating enough power to meet 75 percent of the electricity demand for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island combined. The project would create several hundred construction jobs and be one of the largest greenhouse gas reduction initiatives in the nation, cutting carbon dioxide emissions from conventional power plants by 700,000 tons annually. That is equivalent to removing 175,000 cars from the road for a year.
The junior Senator from Massachusetts begs to differ:
US Senator Scott Brown criticized Salazar’s decision, saying it was “misguided.”
“With unemployment hovering near ten percent in Massachusetts, the Cape Wind project will jeopardize industries that are vital to the Cape’s economy, such as tourism and fishing, and will also impact aviation safety and the rights of the Native American tribes in the area. I am also skeptical about the cost-savings and job number predictions we have heard from proponents of the project,” Brown said in a statement.
I guess he’d rather be drilling off the coast of Massachusetts.
- NREL: US has three times more wind electrictiy potential than previously thought
- Ecologist George Woodwell on Cape Cod Wind and Copenhagen: “We have poisoned our global habitat and must move rapidly to correct the trend.”