Sunday, February 22, 2015

Current US Offshore Wind Policy Isn’t Working

Cape Wind Visual Simulation from a boat at a distance of one mile (Credit: via Cape Wind) Click to Enlarge.
Following the news that the United States’ first offshore development, the Cape Wind Project, may never happen has led to much discussion leading to the conclusion that US offshore wind policy simply isn’t working.

A new report by Clean Energy Group and Navigant Consulting attempts to prove that the problems that surrounded Cape Wind serve to highlight a much larger and widespread issue — that it is almost impossible for any individual state in the Union to jump start an offshore wind industry.

The report therefore recommends a multi-state collaboration that might have a chance at creating a more stable and consistent set of regional policies, financing actions, and permitting, specifically in the Northeast states of the US, where Cape Wind was hoped to be built.

“While the Cape Wind project floundered amidst fierce local opposition, the project’s difficulties highlight a larger policy problem—it is difficult, if not impossible, for any single state to jumpstart the offshore wind industry,” wrote the authors of the report.

Cape Wind endured nearly fifteen years of planning and policy making — not to mention contentious debate — all in an effort to build a 430 MW wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The first proposed US offshore wind farm, and for a time the first set to be built, the idea of Cape Wind now stands as a testament to the incredible difficulty of initiating an offshore wind industry in a country without the political willpower to back it.

“Offshore wind will only become cost competitive and reach its true potential if the states in the Northeast region act together to help create a market for the technology,” the authors add. “The current, go-italone, single-state policy approach has failed.”

Read more at Current US Offshore Wind Policy Isn’t Working

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