An exciting start to the big offshore wind energy conference in Atlantic City New Jersey came in the form of an announcement that a lease for the Cape Wind project would be signed by the Secretary of Interior and a public signing of that lease. The folks back home at CLF posted a timely statement about that on this blog, illustrated by my debut as a breaking news photographer (if I had as nice a smartphone as my wife it would be a better picture).
As it often has been, Atlantic City is an odd mix of the artificial (including the eerie artificially lit and climate controlled casinos where you literally can’t tell if it is day or night) and the natural (the crash of the Ocean waves is as real as it gets). And into this odd mix (and it doesn’t get much odder than “your room is in the Centurion Tower, walk past the giant statue of Caesar and make a left”) we now stir in offshore wind.
So here is a reality check – the wind turbines on the Atlantic City wastewater treatment plant are a tourist attraction and folks redeveloping the historic “Steel Pier” on the Boardwalk are seeking to put wind turbines in place there.
Of course, New Englanders don’t like to think that they can learn from anyone. We generally like to be a model for others – a way of thinking that has been around for many years.
Building a healthy and thriving New England will mean that we learn from Europe, where offshore wind is real and growing. And yes, we should follow the lead of other places like New Jersey that are moving forward.
We need to do this right. We need to be very conscious of the need to protect our Ocean flora and fauna – and to put in place true marine spatial planning, planning smart and thoughtful use of our submerged public lands. But we need to do it.
We need to rid ourselves of coal fired generation, we need to make our homes, factories and offices much more efficient, we need to drive more efficient and cleaner cars, we need to drive less and we need to fully develop solar power and we need to do so much more in order to build a healthy and thriving New England.
But all these things are additive – none of them are instead of the others. And part of the pile of actions that are needed is making appropriate and timely use of our offshore wind resources – and the signing of the lease this morning and the many actions and approaches being discussed and developed at this conference are steps towards doing that.
Before you go… CLF is working every day to create real, systemic change for New England’s environment. And we can’t solve these big problems without people like you. Will you be a part of this movement by considering a contribution today? If everyone reading our blog gave just $10, we’d have enough money to fund our legal teams for the next year.