A GO FOR U.S. OFFSHORE WIND
Cape Wind, first U.S. offshore wind farm, approved
Ros Krasny (w/ Scott DiSavin, Scott Malone and Doina Chiacu), April 28, 2010 (Reuters)
"The first U.S. offshore wind farm, a giant project 5 miles/8 km off the Massachusetts coast, was approved… after years of opposition…U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar gave the green light for the historic 130-turbine, 420-megawatt Cape Wind project in Horseshoe Shoal, Nantucket Sound, in what supporters considered a huge step forward for renewable energy in the United States…
"Although small in terms of its production… its approval was encouraging to other offshore wind projects already proposed for the East Coast and Great Lakes…The turbines, more than 400 feet high, will dot an area of about 24 square miles (62 square km), larger than Manhattan, [supply enough electricity to power 400,000 houses] and be visible low on the horizon from parts of Cape Cod. The site is tucked between the mainland of the cape…the islands of Martha's Vineyard…and Nantucket."
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"German conglomerate Siemens AG will provide the turbines. Construction is expected to begin before the end of the year, said Jim Gordon, president of Cape Wind Associates. Power generation could begin by 2012.
"The decision to approve Cape Wind, subject to certain conditions designed to protect offshore waters from damage and reduce visibility, is expected to face legal challenges, but Salazar said he was confident the approval would stand…Supporters say wind farms represent a giant push for renewable energy efforts and reducing dependence on foreign oil…Cape Wind was subject to years of environmental review and political maneuvering, including adamant opposition from the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy…[and] two Wampanoag Indian tribes complained that the giant turbines would disturb spiritual sun greetings and possibly ancestral artifacts and burial grounds on the seabed."
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"Opponents have deemed the project an eyesore, and raised issues ranging from a detrimental effect on property values in the popular vacation area south of Boston, to possible damage to birds, whales, fishing, aviation, and historic sites…U.S. Senator Scott Brown, the Republican elected this year to fill Kennedy's seat…said the project was a threat to regional tourism and fishing…The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation…[also recommended] the project be rejected.
"The governors of six eastern U.S. states shot back in a letter to Salazar, arguing that other offshore projects will likely be abandoned if the Cape Wind project was rejected…Less than 2 percent of wind energy is offshore, but turbine makers see it as an area of huge growth potential…Siemens rival General Electric Co expects to increase its offshore business to generate $3 billion to $5 billion a year over the next few years…"