The decision by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to approve the 130-turbine Cape Wind project represents a huge boost to the U.S. wind industry, not just the offshore component.
AWEA CEO Denise Bode noted, “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.”
Salazar’s decision was not only good energy policy, it was gutsy politics, and signals a willingness by the federal government to take a stand for renewable energy in the face of a decade of local opposition, including from friendly Democrats in the family of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
The decision also shows the European wind industry, which has already embraced offshore wind, that the United States is in the game, in what could be a manufacturing, transportation and construction services boon all along the East Coast.
As Secretary Salazar said himself this past January, there is a bright future for offshore wind in this country.
There is also a bright future for wind energy in general, Bode said. “Our recent polling shows that wind works for America – it means new manufacturing jobs and more pure, clean, affordable energy for our country. We need comprehensive legislation now with a national Renewable Electricity Standard that will create a long-term market for the onshore and offshore wind industries.”
More details about Cape Wind and other offshore projects will be highlighted.In October, when AWEA hosts an offshore wind conference and exhibition in Atlantic City N.J.