Winds of Change Blowing in Cape Cod

Apr 20, 2011

Yesterday, the Interior Department approved the construction and operating plan for Cape Wind, clearing a major regulatory hurdle for the nation’s first offshore wind farm. Construction could begin as soon as this fall on the Nantucket Sound project.

The approval sends a positive signal to other offshore wind projects and represents a significant step toward achieving a more secure, diverse, and prosperous energy future. Since 2001, the Cape Wind project has undergone a rigorous and comprehensive federal and state permitting review. The intense scrutiny this project has received has only reinforced its environmental soundness.

The farm will include as many as 130 turbines five miles off of Cape Cod. Opponents of the project have been vocal, offering a host of reasons the project should not continue: the turbines would pose navigational and radar hazards, as well as a threat to birds; turbines will hurt the views of affluent homeowners; the offshore site would impede sacred Native American religious practices.

The opponents in Nantucket Sound are not unlike renewable energy project opponents all across the country—supportive of renewable energy until it ruins their view. Right now, there is a broad range of energy projects that are being stalled, stopped, or outright killed due to “Not In My Back Yard” (NIMBY) activism, a broken permitting process,and a system that allows limitless challenges by opponents of development. 

The Chamber’s Project No Project study identified 351 stalled energy projects that have the potential to produce a $1.1 trillion short-term boost to the economy and create 1.9 million jobs annually. Cape Wind is one of the lucky ones. The Chamber believes that Cape Wind reflects the true spirit of American enterprise and hopes the farm will serve as a model of innovation for other clean energy pioneers.

Learn more about the Chamber’s activities on clean energy technology.

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