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Summary:

When I first started covering greentech, I paid close attention to the Cape Wind saga — the proposed first U.S. offshore wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts that has been in limbo for nine long years due to concerns over turbines disturbing local sea views. But […]

When I first started covering greentech, I paid close attention to the Cape Wind saga — the proposed first U.S. offshore wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts that has been in limbo for nine long years due to concerns over turbines disturbing local sea views. But I swiftly learned to tune out the ever-extended deadlines and proposals. It was all just too depressing and representative of how NIMBY-ism and political interests can crush clean power projects.

But is the end of the controversy actually near? Probably not, however, the fate of the project is looking somewhat more hopeful. On Wednesday Ken Salazar, secretary of the Department of the Interior, said he would be reviewing the project and that a final decision on Cape Wind would be made by the end of April. Public comments are being accepted until February 13.

The entrepreneur behind Cape Wind Jim Gordon released a statement that suggests he’s optimistic enough:

We are convinced that when Secretary Salazar has the complete record before him that the verifiable public benefits of creating jobs, greater energy independence, cleaner air and mitigating climate change will far outweigh any perception of negative impacts.

If the project is actually approved by April, there’s likely to be several more years of wait on public utility commission approvals, building out the electrical connections, ordering and receiving the turbines, and other issues that will be specifically related to the first offshore wind farm in the U.S.

OK, I know these things take a long time, but if these type of timelines become de rigueur for clean power in the U.S., we’re going to need a whole lot of help making it to any kind of near term domestic carbon emissions cuts.

Image of Nysted offshore wind farm off the coast of Denmark in the Baltic Sea, courtesy of Cape Wind.

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By Katie Fehrenbacher

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  1. Wind Technician Thursday, January 14, 2010

    I have been following this story for some time also and I am beginning to think that the Tillamook Oregon site would have been a much better location to start America’s first offshore wind farm. There are much less obstacles to work around at the Tillamook site, and it would allow us to build public support and momentum for more offshore U.S. wind farms. It is not like we are doing anything that has not been done before. Offshore wind farms are common in Europe and are a great benefactor to the local community by creating high paying and productive jobs while also increasing local energy independence. The way things are going with Cape Wind, I doubt California would have any easier time placing turbines off of their shore. To learn more about wind turbine jobs and what it takes to get one, click my name below.

  2. Let’s hope that Cape Wind gets to move forward with their 130-turbine wind farm. Secretary Salazar has the power to move this green, eco-friendly project forward: the “visual disruption” is minimal and the Cape Wind developers have done a great deal to minimize the environmental and aesthetic effects of the turbines.

    If you are interested in wind energy, check out http://www.greencollareconomy.com. It has hundreds of case studies on emerging green technology and wind farms. It’s also the largest b2b green directory on the web.

  3. Snobs generally have the income to buy more political power than “ordinary” citizens.

    Read back through the past several years of attempts to get wind power established in the Highland and Islands of Scotland. Celebrities with summer cottages trump residents for centuries – every time.

  4. Juxtaposing hypocritical NYMBYism, Robert. F. Kennedy, Jr. opposes Cape Wind with vehemence but is a vocal critic of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) bill creating the Mojave Trails National Monument protecting 941,000 acres of federal land from concentrating solar power (CSP), wind, and other development.

    1. Feinstein’s bill puts about 3% of the CA desert into monument status. Some of that land was purchased with private money and given to the government for preservation.

      What people are missing about the bill is that it directs BLM, USFS, and the military to identify the best parts of their holdings for renewable energy projects.

      And it creates a streamlining of the permit process for project development.

      This bill could bring about a great speedup of renewable energy installation. No longer would companies have to find a piece of land and then see if it could be permitted. Areas will be pre-approved and the paperwork minimized.

      (BTW there’s damned little wind potential in the desert. SoCal’s wind is offshore around the Channel Islands. Where there are already oil rigs. I think the locals won’t have a NIMBY problem if it means reducing the hazard of oil spills….)

  5. Might we agree that parts of the world are more “beautiful” than are other parts? And might we not recognize that if those parts are capable of being owned by private individuals then it’s more likely that the owners will be wealthy?

    Now, might we agree that if we have lots of places to build wind farms, solar fields, shopping malls, etc. that we might want to spare the most beautiful places and build in the less beautiful?

    It’s revealing that when people complain about the opposition to the Cape Wind project the focus is on the Kennedy family and not on the other people living there who oppose it, mostly rich Republicans.

    How about we take the politics out of the energy issue?

    How about we preserve the nicest parts of our world, if possible?

  6. Without invitation, a bidding process, ocean zoning, or rules for alternative energy development, almost one decade ago, Cape Wind made request of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a permit for the alternative use of public submerged lands.

    As zoning is Police Power intended to create order to avoid chaotic development that invites public safety hazards; Cape Wind entered uncharted territory in their “no bid” deal request to site 130 “discontinued” GE 3.6 MW wind turbines in Nantucket Sound.

    This triangular body of water is situated between Cape Cod, Nantucket Island and Martha’s Vineyard. It is under competing and conflicting use by heritage tradesmen, fishermen, ferry operators, recreational users, Tribes, migratory birds, endangered marine and avian life as an tourists’ Mecca.

    For nine years, Cape Wind has waged a brilliant public relations campaign by appealing to the base instincts of humans, envy, jealousy and greed. They have launched their successful campaign against NIMBY’s, the affluent with views of this pristine body of water. Their PR strategy has had the effect of diverting public attention away from the true conflicts that Cape Wind represents in this environment and location of Nantucket Sound.

    The most important public policy consideration is public safety.

    ‘Cape Wind is a proposed public safety hazard as proposed for Nantucket Sound’

    http://bjdurk.newsvine.com/_news/2009/09/19/3290406-cape-wind-a-public-safety-hazard-proposed-for-nantucket-sound-

    ‘Cape Wind the Tribes and Secretary Salazar’

    http://bjdurk.newsvine.com/_news/2010/02/17/3908600-cape-wind-the-tribes-and-secretary-salazar

  7. 9 Years & Millions of Lobbying Bucks Later, Cape Wind Gets Federal OK Wednesday, April 28, 2010

    [...] By Josie Garthwaite Apr. 28, 2010, 11:25am PDT No Comments      0 After nine years in the federal review process, a controversial wind farm planned for Nantucket Sound off the coast of Cape Cod, has won approval [...]

  8. Mrs. Cape Wind Project And The Cape Cod Of NIMBY « Around The Sphere Monday, May 3, 2010

    [...] complexity and cost of offshore wind power, potentially deterring large-scale investment. As Karen Ferenbacher puts it on the website earth2tech, the litigation surrounding Cape Wind is “representative of [...]

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