Beyond Cape Wind: New England’s Clean Energy Future is Now

Priscilla Brooks | @pbrooks111

Earlier this month, Cape Wind filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss its appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court of a Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board decision denying the company’s request for an extension of permits enabling the connection of the proposed offshore wind facility in Nantucket Sound with the electric grid. This is the latest turn of events in the long and drawn-out saga of the first grid-scale offshore wind project proposed in the Northwest Atlantic – one that CLF actively supported.

Despite the demise of Cape Wind over the last few years, New England has continued to move forward with other offshore wind projects and is now poised to celebrate the first offshore wind farm in the nation. Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island will be “flipping the switch” this November, generating enough clean energy to power 17,000 homes (including the whole of Block Island, with power to spare for the mainland). This 30-megawatt, five-turbine facility – which I will be getting to see up-close later this week – promises to be just the beginning of a big and promising future for offshore wind in our region and our nation.

Massachusetts will be the first of the New England states to move that future forward, with a new clean energy bill passed over the summer that requires the state to procure 1,600 megawatts of energy from offshore wind. That will mean clean, home-grown energy for more than half a million homes and businesses in the state. Wind energy developers Deepwater Wind, DONG Energy, and Offshore Megawatt are busy advancing plans to develop large wind energy projects off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island to meet this and other demand for wind power.

For CLF’s part, we’ll continue to lay the groundwork for more offshore wind development in our region. From advancing state legislation that provides incentives supporting this fledgling industry, to the continued promotion of smart, stakeholder-driven ocean planning that’s cognizant of important marine resources like the endangered North Atlantic right whale, we are excited to be working toward New England’s bountiful renewable energy future.

 

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