After a decade of bureaucratic red tape, the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. has finally received approval to start construction. The Cape Wind project, located 5 miles off the coast in Massachusetts’ Nantucket Sound, will begin construction of its 130 turbine, 468 MW generating wind farm this fall.
The project has suffered a series of environmental and regulatory road blocks since it first began public hearings in 2001. Concerns over impacts to wildlife, worries of radar interference impacting air travel, and anger over the result the project would have on ocean views were just a few of the battles Cape Wind has had to overcome. The project earned powerful opponents as well, including Senator Ted Kennedy.
Although the project has finally earned permission to begin construction, the battle is far from over. Only half the anticipated generated energy has an identified buyer and opponents are still pursuing lawsuits. The fight over Cape Wind has been long and tedious and doesn’t offer much hope for similar projects in the future. Although offshore wind farms are capable of providing more generation capacity (due to larger turbines), the powerful Not-In-My-Back-Yard contingent makes it more likely that the wide open spaces of the Midwest and West will continue to be the sites for future wind farms.
To read more about Cape Wind, visit their website.