US Administration approves first US offshore wind farm
On 28 April 2010, the Obama administration approved what would be the first US offshore wind farm. The Cape Wind project would comprise 130 turbines and be located off the coast of Massachusetts, in Nantucket Sound. It is planned to start operations in 2012.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) applauded Secretary Salazar’s decision to approve the project. “Such forward-thinking decisions are necessary for the U.S. to realize the many environmental and economic benefits of offshore wind. The U.S. offshore wind industry will build on the success and the lessons learned from the nearly twenty years of experience in Europe to provide clean, pollution-free, electricity along the coasts and in the Great Lakes,” said Denise Bode, AWEA’s CEO. “As Secretary Salazar said himself this January, there is a bright future for offshore wind in this country. Our recent polling shows that wind works for America – it means new manufacturing jobs, less dependence on imported energy, and more pure, clean, affordable energy for our country,” she added.
However, AWEA also warns that the US wind industry now needs comprehensive legislation with a national Renewable Electricity Standard in order to create a long-term market for the onshore and offshore wind industries that will bring extensive economic development and jobs to nearby areas.
Despite the positive decision, the future of Cape Wind remains uncertain. Since it was first proposed in 2001, the project has faced strong opposition and opponents have already announced plans for litigation.