Turning Point for Wind

Advocates of offshore wind in Rhode Island, and up and down the East Coast, will be watching closely for a forthcoming decision from the Obama Administration on a long-discussed wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts.

The decision could have big implications for the entire industry. From the New York Times:

For the last decade, the backers of a huge wind power project off the coast of Cape Cod have navigated through stormy community meetings, hidden regulatory snags and verbal cannon blasts from the Kennedy family and a pair of Indian tribes.

Any day now, they will find out whether it was all for naught. The Obama administration, which last week signaled its intention to proceed with other offshore wind projects, is about to decide whether to deep-six the Cape Wind proposal or provide a friendly gale that could carry it to completion.

If approved, the project would most likely be the nation’s first offshore wind farm. And in either case, the ruling by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar would have implications from Long Island to Lake Erie. At least half a dozen offshore wind projects that could provide electricity for hundreds of thousands of customers have already been proposed in the shallow waters off the East Coast and the Great Lakes. Even more are in the paper-napkin stage, including a project that would place a bank of turbines about 13 miles off the Rockaway peninsula in New York.

A thumbs-down on Cape Wind, some developers say, could gut America’s offshore wind industry before it ever really gets started.

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