After a Decade of Debate, Cape Wind Is a Go
At noon, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will announce the fate of a proposed offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound, near Cape Cod — and The Boston Globe is reporting that Salazar will be giving the project a green light.
Cape Wind will be the country’s first offshore wind farm, and its approval marks a huge victory for clean energy advocates over NIMBY opposition and (contested) claims by a local Native American tribe that the site is sacred. Construction could begin within the next year.
From the Globe:
Horseshoe Shoals, the part of Nantucket Sound where the wind farm is proposed, is widely considered the best place along the East Coast to build a wind farm. That’s in part because the site is in shallow, sheltered waters close to shore — the nearest beach is five miles away. But it is also because it is in federal waters: Political will to build such a massive wind farm in state waters three miles from shore does not exist.
Cape Wind Associates said the wind farm could produce enough wind power to handle three-quarters of the electric needs of the Cape and Islands.
*Update: *In making the announcement, Salazar acknowledged that “there are people who will be unhappy with this decision,” and as a result he laid out several measures to mitigate concerns. “We are reducing the scale of the project from 170 turbines to 130 turbines to reduce the visual impact,” he said, adding that archaeological resources would be protected and efforts would be made to prevent disturbances on shore. “I believe these and other common-sense measures will allow us to strike the right balance,” he explained.
Salazar also promised that future offshore wind projects will move more quickly than Cape Wind and will not require ten years of debate.
Gov. Deval Patrick (D-Mass.) added, “This decision affirms that on balance, Cape Wind is good for our environment and good for our energy needs. … Cape Wind is also good for Massachusetts.”