Interior: Cape wind approval sends a signal

A controversial offshore wind farm project in Massachusetts' Nantucket Sound could begin construction as soon as this fall, after clearing a major regulatory hurdle on Tuesday.

Top Interior Department officials approved the construction and operating plan for Cape Wind, and underscored the signal this approval will send to other offshore wind projects in the works.

"The department has taken extraordinary steps to fully evaluate Cape Wind's potential impacts on environmental and cultural resources of Nantucket Sound," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Tuesday. "By signing the construction and operations plan today, we are even closer toward ushering in our nation's first offshore wind energy facility while creating jobs."

Michael Bromwich, who directs Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation, and Enforcement, said the project would "accelerate interest in the renewable energy sector generally and the offshore wind sector specifically, and spur innovation and investment in our nation's energy infrastructure."

The project has been winding its way through the permitting process for 10 years, stalled by an intense local opposition that had been led by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. His family has a home on Cape Cod, near where the farm will be. Locals have objected to the visual impact of the turbines, which will reach 440 feet high from the water's surface. On top of that, interest groups like the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound have argued that the 130 wind turbines could disrupt wildlife and aviation. To that end, the group has suggested alternatives.

Those complaints did not gain traction on the national level. The Interior Department has used Cape Wind as a test case for offshore energy projects and green-lighted one major regulatory step after another.

It's unclear whether Cape Wind will send a strong enough message to investors that the United States is a good place to build offshore wind projects, largely because of the 10-year approval process. Other markets, such as the United Kingdom, have provided more sound investment decisions, wind lobbyists have told National Journal Daily.

Cape Wind developers still need to find a utility to buy the other half of the energy that the farm will produce. National Grid agreed to buy the first half last year.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.