April 15, 2010

Cape Cod Wind Farm Decision Expected Soon

After a nine-year review, a long awaited decision on whether or not an offshore wind farm should be built in the Cape Cod area is expected this month, according to Thursday press reports.

The Cape Wind project has been the center of fierce controversy since it was first announced in 2001. While supporters say it could provide 75-percent of the area's power, various critics have suggested that it could harm wildlife in the area, disrupt the view of local landscapes, and damage Native American burial grounds.

The debate has raged on for nine long years, but sometime before May 1, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar is expected to make a final ruling on the issue, which could go a long way toward helping the Department of Energy fulfill their goal of providing 54 gigawatts of power through offshore wind by 2030. If approved, the facility wouldn't be operational until 2012.

"Offshore wind is especially important in areas like the Northeast, which lack major land-based winds but are mandated by state rules to use more renewable," Associated Press (AP) writer Jay Lindsay said in an April 15 article. "Developers promise jobs and a plentiful energy source that emits no greenhouse gases. They say there is enough wind offshore to power the entire country--twice over."

However, in addition to the environmental concerns, building and maintaining turbine engines at sea is more expensive than doing so on land. For example, Cape Wind costs would be an estimated $2 billion, according to Lindsay. Were the Cape Wind project to be shelved, Douglas-Westwood energy consultants analyst Steven Kopit told Lindsay that it would "gut" the offshore wind industry.


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