Posted by: TheLCster
After Years Of Legal Battles, America’s First Offshore Wind Farm Is A Go
AP~The Obama administration has approved what would be the nation’s first offshore wind farm, off Cape Cod, inching the U.S. closer to harvesting an untapped domestic energy source – the steady breezes blowing along its vast coasts.U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced his decision Wednesday in Boston, clearing the way for a 130-turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound. Cape Wind was in its ninth year of federal review, and Salazar stepped in early this year to bring what he called much-needed resolution to the bitterly contested proposal.
“We are beginning a new direction in our nation’s energy future,” Salazar said.
Cape Wind says it can generate power by 2012 and aims to eventually supply three-quarters of the power on Cape Cod, which has about 225,000 residents. Cape Wind officials say it will provide green jobs and a reliable domestic energy source, while offshore wind advocates are hoping it can jump-start the U.S. industry.
America’s onshore wind industry is the world’s largest, but higher upfront costs, tougher technological challenges and environmental concerns have held back the development of offshore wind farms.
Denmark installed the world’s first offshore wind turbine 20 years ago. China has built its first commercial wind farm off Shanghai and plans several other projects.
The U.S. Department of Energy envisions offshore wind farms accounting for 4 percent of the country’s electric generating capacity by 2030.
The Cape Wind Fact Sheet, Project Site Map and the Secretary’s Response to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation are available here or here. More information on the project can be found here.
Seven Must-Know Facts About the Cape Wind Project
- Cape Wind will be the country’s first offshore wind farm. The US Department Of Energy predicts that offshore wind farms alone will handle 4% of the country’s electricity generating capacity by 2030.
- The project will be ready to generate power in 2012, and Cape Wind plans on supplying 75% of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket Island’s power combined with the clean energy technology. At peak capacity, the project has the capability to meet 4% of the entire New England region’s power needs.
- When announcing the approval of the offshore wind farm, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said, “With this decision we are beginning a new direction in our Nation’s energy future, ushering in America’s first offshore wind energy facility and opening a new chapter in the history of this region.”
- The 130-turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound will be no closer than 5 miles to land, and 14 miles away at its furthest. On a clear day, the turbines would only be a half-inch tall on the horizon when viewed from the nearest point of land. The number of turbines have been reduced from an original proposal of 170 to 130 to address concerns about harming views.
- Cape Wind will create 600 – 1,000 construction jobs and 50 permanent wind power jobs.
- The United Kingdom and Denmark are the leaders in offshore wind power, though many countries, like Germany, Norway, The Netherlands, and China, have invested in the renewable energy source as well. In 2007, Denmark (who built the first offshore wind farm decades ago) generated 19.7% of their electricity production from their combined wind power farms. That same year, 1.5% of electricity in the UK was generated by wind.
- The green light for Cape Wind gives a lot of hope to the many other offshore wind farms being proposed in places like Texas, Delaware, and New Jersey. The Department Of The Interior writes, “the project would […..] 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.”
President Obama Visits Wind Turbine Blade Plant in Iowa
The President visits a Siemens wind turbine blade manufacturing plant in Fort Madison, IA on his White House to Main Street tour and speaks about how his Administrations investments in clean energy are creating jobs and new industries.
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