Cape Wind Gets New Life as Interior Secretary Approves
Thursday, 29 April 2010
The Cape Wind renewable energy project has been approved by Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, clearing the latest hurdle for the project. Since 2001, Cape Wind – an offshore wind farm proposal located just off the Massachusetts coast – has struggled through multiple battles in the courtroom and in the media from local residents including some heavy hitters like members of the Kennedys. The privately financed project will feature 130 wind turbines spread over 25 square miles off the coast of Massachusetts that will generate up to 468 megawatts and average 182 megawatts of power over the course of the year. At its peak production, the turbines will power 700,000 houses – or about 75% of the electricity demanded at Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island. The project is expected to create several hundred construction jobs and cut carbon dioxide emissions from conventional power plants by up to 700,000 tons annually. That is equivalent to removing 175,000 cars from the road for a year. The controversy with the project has centered around the potential environmental and aesthetic impacts that the turbines will have on the historic Cape Cod area. Located 5 miles off the coast on a shoal, some residents including members of the Kennedys are concerned about views. Extensive underwater environmental impact assessments have been undertaken, with more to come; they have thus far determined that the turbine bases will have minimal impacts on the local environments. There’s still no assurance yet that the turbines will be built as more lawsuits are expected; however, the Interior Department’s approval is important news for US wind and clean energy development.