By Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York
After nine agonizing years of intense debate and political battles, the first offshore wind farm to be built in the United States has finally been approved. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar traveled to Cape Cod, Massachusetts to announce that, despite some fierce opposition (from the likes of the Kennedys and Mitt Romney, no less), the 450 megawatt, 130 turbine, $900 million Cape Wind project is becoming a reality.
This is huge news, as it marks the US’s entry into offshore wind. European nations already have thousands of offshore turbines generating hundreds of megawatts of power, and one study has shown that the United States could meet every last kilowatt of its power demands if offshore wind was properly utilized. In other words, this is very, very good news.
USA Today reports:
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has approved a controversial plan to build the nation’s first offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound, the Cape Cod Times reports. The decision to build the 130 wind turbines has followed almost a decade of reviews, challenges and appeals at the local, state and federal level.
The late Sen. Edward Kennedy, whose Hyannisport family compound is on Nantucket Sound, fought Cape Wind and termed it a special-interest giveaway and would mar a pristine landscape
However, 6 governors of east coast states, among them Massachusetts’, all rallied to support the wind farm. Not approving the installation on grounds that it detracted from the area’s aesthetic beauty could have set a dire precedent for the many other proposed offshore wind projects along the eastern seaboard — thankfully, it looks like a future of clean energy has won the day. The industry needs the momentum to stimulate investment around the nation, which is why Cape Wind was seen as a crucial step for renewable energy in general.