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Ocean Energy: Nations first offshore wind farm gets environmental OK January 16, 2009

Filed under: Emerging Technology,Legal/Courts,Wind — nwrenewablenews @ 2:29 pm
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Plans to build the nation’s first offshore wind farm in the waters off Cape Cod cleared a major hurdle Friday, winning environmental approval from a key federal agency.

The proposal has sparked a bitter public fight begun more than seven years ago.

The wind farm’s foes, including Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., argue it will harm the environment and hurt the tourism and fishing industries.

But the new Minerals Management Service report said developer Cape Wind Associates’ plans pose no major environmental problems.

Various federal and state agencies have been reviewing the proposal for 130 windmills across 25 miles of federal waters in Nantucket Sound since 2001.

Supporters say it will provide cheaper energy, reduce pollution and create green jobs.

The new Obama administration will decide the project’s fate. President-elect Barack Obama, who wants to double alternative energy production over the next three years, was visiting an Ohio company that makes parts for wind turbines on Friday. He takes office Tuesday.

“We’re handing off to the next administration,” said Minerals Management Service director Randall Luthi. “It is up to them to decide.”

Cape Wind has pitted two of the most powerful politicians in Massachusetts against each other. Both are strong Obama supporters.

Kennedy, whose family’s Hyannis Port compound would have a clear view of the farm, has tried to derail the project in Congress, citing risks to fishing, navigation, aviation and the sanctuary of Nantucket Sound.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a close Obama ally who wants his state to be a leader in alternative energy, has been a strong Cape Wind backer.

The developers, who have estimated the project’s cost at $1.2 billion, hope the wind farm will be operational by the end of 2011. They say it could provide up to 75 percent of Cape Cod’s power demands.

Cape Wind has sparked controversy since it was proposed more than seven years ago. The turbines would stand 440 feet above sea level when the tallest blades are pointing straight up.

The report’s conclusions were welcomed by supporters who see the wind farm as a safe, clean way to create renewable energy and new jobs.

Opponents vowed to continue their fight, accusing the government of overlooking environmental, safety and other problems as officials rushed to approve the project before the Bush administration departs.

The Minerals Management Service must wait at least 30 days before issuing its final decision on the project. That order will include a decision on whether to issue a lease, Luthi said. Approval would set the stage for Cape Wind to seek a federal lease for the project to be located in federal waters.

Both sides predict legal challenges whatever the government decides.


One Response to “Ocean Energy: Nations first offshore wind farm gets environmental OK”

  1. Jamie Says:

    There could be no better investment in America than to invest in America becoming energy independent! We need to utilize everything in out power to reduce our dependence on foreign oil including using our own natural resources. Create cheap clean energy, new badly needed green jobs, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. OPEC will continue to cut production until they achieve their desired 80-100. per barrel. The high cost of fuel this past year seriously damaged our economy and society. Oil is finite. We are using oil globally at the rate of 2X faster than new oil is being discovered. We need to take some of these billions in bail out bucks and bail ourselves out of our dependence on foreign oil. Jeff Wilson has a really good new book out called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now. He explores our uses of oil besides gasoline, our depletion, out reserves and stores as well as viable options to replace oil.Oil is finite, it will run out in the not too distant future. WE need to take some of these billions in bail out bucks and bail America out of it’s dependence on foreign oil. The historic high price of gas this past year did serious damage to our economy and society. WE should never allow others to have that much power over our economy again. I wish every member of congress would read this book too.

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